Heartbreakers Bar, Southampton

Almost two years have passed since tonight’s headliners last graced a stage in this town – it’s been too long, but worth the wait. Once again they have chosen the rather excellent setting of Southampton’s Heartbreakers. Tonight we are treated to two support acts, the first being local boys The Rambling Club. They literally clamber on stage with little fuss or announcement and deliver a stellar six-song set. Their modern Indie sound is easy on the ears as they open with “Tell Me”. Early on I’m picking up hints of 90’s Indie underachievers Lick and maybe a smattering of The Kooks in Lucas’s vocal. Oliver (guitars/vox) occasionally chips in with vocals over his chord intricacies while Ben (drums) keeps a strong snare-driven beat in the engine room. “Restless Nights” I guess is a personal song along with “Take Me Anywhere”. Mid-set Josh (bass) goes walkabout into the crowd, when not shapeshifting on the spot (this stage is tiny)! The set highlight is the debut single “Sofia”, which is delivered with heartfelt vocal layering before they depart us on “Chasing”. TRC fit nicely into the current Indie sound doing the rounds, but on this evidence, I see enough in their cannon to suggest that just maybe they have the material to get to the next stage. I also feel their anti-fashion attire is a plus when so many bands just turn up on stage in their favourite band T-shirt. I wish them well.

The Rambling Club
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Swedish “Nu-Gaze” trio Junodef are up next. This is quite a departure from openers TRC. This trio literally breezes onstage almost in a deathly hush. Their downturned style evokes memories of Cocteau Twins (among others) as they shoegaze and gently build their set. Searing, atmospheric soundscapes; experimentalism aplenty amid subtle harmonies and occasional powerful snare thumping. Once they do decide to open up a little the brooding bass is delivered with accompanying shapeshifting. A mid-set vocal accompaniment leaves me looking hard for the baritone backing vocalist, but there is not one be found. Before announcing the track “Close” one punter exclaims how her other half “had been gardening to that track only three hours earlier”, for which the singer says “that’s the best response we’ve heard to that song”! More melodramatic Shoegaze follows in the shape of “Aslogh”, where I’m picking up tiny hints of Bjork. They depart us on “Heights” which I’m afraid on this evidence they struggle to reach. It’s tough being the main support, one has to raise their game somewhat. With maybe a little more time in the studio and a little less experimentation, they might be on to something, sadly for this reviewer I’m afraid I’ve heard it all before.

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And so to the headliners. No strangers to this stage (or indeed this City) October Drift have chosen Underworld’s “Born Slippy” as their intro music. This is a masterstroke as this capacity crowd start to move and sing in unison. And onto the stage they arrive, opening with “Cherry Red”. Lockdown has allowed Kiran (l.vox/guitar) to let his locks grow wild and untamed, in fact, all four band members are sporting the shaggy-haired look! Somehow they look like a ‘proper Rock band now’ and there’s no lack of power throughout the set. The brilliant “Losing My Touch” endures the first of many big singalongs, Kiran is in fine voice throughout. Dan (guitar) is literally thumping his axe throughout while Chris (drums) nestled at the back is gurning throughout. Alex (bass) is no less energetic as they debut one or two newbie’s including “Webcam Funerals”. “Don’t Give Me Hope” and “Oh The Silence” invoke a mini mosh pit down the front as this sell-out crowd begin to really engage. “Airborne Panic Attack” shows a new dimension to their sound, slightly darker with intricate guitar and bass notes but no less urgent.

October Drift
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“Come and Find Me” returns to the more familiar with its chugging beat which just grows, layer upon layer. ‘Forever Whatever’ with its infectious chorus sees more smiling faces as this now warmed up crowd sings in unison. The energy levels are just rising and rising until they take the tempo down with penultimate number “The Past”. Kiran is now orchestrating this crowd into a joyful union as the song grows and grows. Despite being at the latter stages of this tour there is no let-up as these guys give it everything. Alex and Dan leave the stage and Kiran and Chris give a wonderful acapella version of “Like The Snow We Fall”. The room is silent, you could hear a pin drop as they hold court with just their voices for company. Chris adds a little humour latterly as they near the end, before taking the plaudits.

October Drift hasn’t wasted their time in Lockdown, honing their craft and writing new material. And while I feel they might want to hanker after larger gigs and audiences, the fact that they are playing smaller venues still cements the feeling that they are still “ours”. Bigger venues and crowds may just be around the corner but for now they can revel in the intimacy of being up close and personal with their loyal fan base.

Set Lists
October Drift
Cherry Red
Losing My Touch
Lost Without You
Just Got Caught
Don’t Give Me Hope
Oh the Silence
Webcam Funerals
Airborne Panic Attack
Come and Find Me
Forever Whatever
The Past
Like the Snow we Fall (Kiran & Chris)

The Things in Front of Me
Time Froze When I Told You I Love You
Diane’s Robot

The Rambling Club
Tell Me
Restless Nights
Dead Leaves
Take Me Anywhere



Words by Ross A Ferrone
Pictures & Video by David Chinery (Chinners)
Additional Media by Pete Cole

October Drift

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