Heartbreakers, Southampton

October Drift

It’s a breezy Sunday night in Southampton, where a near sell-out crowd have braved the weather for two of the finest bands on the circuit. Opening up are youthful Guildford quartet The Estevans. They open in explosive style with the (early) Buzzcocks-esque “News For You”. Immediately I’m drawn to lead vocalist Oscar’s resemblance to Jay (The inbetweners), but the similarities end there! These guys can play and set out their stall early. “Fire In The Bambikino” is a more melodic follow-up, but not disappointing. Their sound is Indie with a smattering of influences form all the great British genres. “Too Busy” is an early highlight and Oscar really uses every inch afforded him on this tiny stage, shapeshifting throughout. Both he and Guy (lead guitar/vox) have wonderful chemistry, occasionally doubling up on their mic’s. Ollie (drums) has a simple, unfussy style in the engine room while Morgan (bass/b.vox) has an almost nonchalant style out on the left there. One or two of his basslines remind me of Bruce Foxton, however, his playing style couldn’t be any more different.

“Wrong Idea” precedes an (as yet) untitled new song. Oscar gets the self-deprecation in early “in case we fuck it up”! We needn’t have worried, I didn’t detect any glitches. “Two Minutes From Lincoln” is their penultimate track as they just grow in confidence and they depart us with “Gotta Know You”. There are many bands of this genre plying their trade on the live circuit and beyond right now and The Estevans are up there with the best of them. An exhaustive tour schedule is clearly allowing them to hone their skills and I for one look forward to their next venture south. Remember the name, The Estevans.

The Estevans
The Estevans 12345

Well, it was going to have to be something really special to follow that, and we aren’t disappointed. Having had the pleasure of seeing this band support Red Rum Club recently, I was never going to miss a headline appearance from October Drift. Unlike most in this crowd, I actually don’t know the song titles well enough to sing along. I do however love a performance, and boy do we get one tonight. Whether planned or just by chance, they take to the stage to the sound of Underworld’s “Born Slippy”, which gets everyone in the mood straight away. They open with “Losing My Touch” and right away the energy levels are high. Kiran (lead Vocal/Guitar) doesn’t take long to join this excited crowd. The power they emanate from this tiny stage is simply ferocious, all four band members seem to be in the zone!

I won’t make any wild comparisons as I genuinely feel this band have a sound quite unique to them. Yes it’s Rock/Alt (delete or add where necessary), but they have a stage presence and energy few current bands can match. Chris (Drums/Vocals) seems like a man possessed, his grimaces look like a man struggling with an ill-fitting mouth brace! “Cherry Red” with Alex’s (Bass) bass-heavy intro comes next and there’s no let-up in the power. Daniel (Guitar) also has a look of menace about him as he also jumps around, mouth agape within this huge wall of sound.

October Drift are honing their trade on the live circuit with great confidence and a new album “Forever Whatever” in their back pockets to foist upon us. Most of tonight’s set features songs from this release including the next number “Just Got Caught”. I am yet to see a band where the frontman holds his guitar quite so high on his chest. Kiran has a stagecraft unique to him but that is only the half of it. His voice equally is like no-one I have ever heard before and the fact that he sings with such range is ultimately more enjoyable. “Don’t Give Me Hope” softens the mood somewhat before Kiran once again ventures into the crowd at the start of ‘Milky Blue’. This insistence on being at one with the audience in such a small venue makes us feel they “are still ours” (and not mainstream) yet.

October Drift
October Drift 1234567

“Oh The Silence” is anything but while “Lost” (vocals aside) actually reminds me of Indie underachievers “Adorable”. “Cinnamon Girl” brings the tempo down again ever so slightly, “Come And Find Me” however speeds proceedings back up allowing the energy levels to rise once more. Penultimate track “Forever Whatever” reminds us why we love these guys so much; the slow build-up, then the chord changes… “Shoestring holds our lives together, forever and ever” is such a clever lyric and gets this whole room singing along in unison – dare I suggest it is euphoric?! They leave us with “The Past” and again we find ourselves in good voice. The searing guitars and wall of sound are the perfect end to a magnificent show. At the end all four band members are jumping around and you get the feeling this will be one of “those shows” that will be remembered for forever and a day.

As the band leave the stage and take the plaudits Kiran unplugs his guitar and promptly jumps down into the crowd to sing “Naked” acapella. This truly is a moment in time – it wasn’t in the set list and I’m guessing just performed on the hop. The man has such a fantastic voice that deserves to be heard by a wider audience. But for now, he is ours, in an intimate venue. I genuinely don’t think they will be playing every small venue Countrywide for much longer, once their album reaches new audiences. But if tonight was the last time we see them in such an intimate setting, then one and all we can all say ‘I was there’.

Set Lists
October Drift
Losing My Touch
Cherry Red
Just Got Caught
Don’t Give Me Hope
Milky Blue
Oh the Silence
Cinnamon Girl
Come and Find Me
Forever Whatever
The Past

Naked (Acapella)

The Estevans
News for You
Fire in the Bambikino
Too Busy
Wrong Idea
Untitled (New Song)
2 Minutes from Lincoln
Gotta Know You



Review by Ross A. Ferrone.

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