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The Joiners

May 6 '14

Wolf Gang motivate Unit to dance

Like a house gig the Wolf Gang boys take to the intimacy of the venue like a duck to water, it’s almost a throwback to the old days of Wolf Gang, before the support slots for the likes of Coldplay and The Killers.

With a new album, Alvarol, on the way, Wolf Gang took the chance to premiere a few new tracks to the Southampton crowd, slotting in some crowd pleasers from debut record Suego Faults as well. 

The bouncing beats from the stage reflect the joyful vibes of the Saturday night audience, the band are in playful mood with singer Max McElligott teasing ‘if we fuck up you guys have gotta roll with it cause we haven’t played a gig in 18 months’ before launching into new track Ghost Of My Life

The anthemic Midnight Dancers ballad wins over some chatting at the back of the crowd before the band immerse themselves before breaking into Now I Can Feel It, which becomes an almost blockbuster James Bond song. 

Winterhours took to the intimate Unit stage before the Wolf Gang boys, and delighted a small crowd sporting Kings of Leon tricks with Magic Numbers noises. 

The support was full of chuckles over tales of life on the road between the band’s gentle guitars and pounding drums that soundtrack the singers light but hearty vocals. 

A rather early gig with Wolf Gang on at half eight, but that doesn’t stop McElligott and co embracing the warm spring evening with their crashing symbols and rollicking rhythms that made debut album Suego Faults so popular with their loyal fans.

It’s truly surprising the band aren’t bigger by now, they’ve got the tunes and are building a loyal fanbase, so surely it’s a matter of time. 

The biggest cheer comes for the band’s last track of the evening, the debut album opener, Lions In Cages, a classic pop hit that gets the crowd dancing into the evening awaiting them. 

For more reviews like this head to

Mar 28 '14

Bipolar Sunshine brings warmth to the Joiners

Festival season beware, Bipolar Sunshine is coming to get you with a mixture of hip hop sounds and lo-fi beats, at Joiners they brought the warmth and in the summer they’ll bring the Sunshine. 

A crowd-pleaser if ever there was one as everyone gets their groove on to the likes of ‘Deckchairs on the Moon’ and ‘Blossom’, the main man of the evening sounds like a wonderful combination of Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke mixed with a spicing of Skepta. 

New single ‘Where Did the Love Go?’ strikes a chord with the romantics in the crowd as the relationship between Bipolar and fans grows stronger with each catchy chorus and bouncy beat.

Band and crowd harmonise during ‘Watchtower’s’ key moments as everyone embraces to the lines of “you’re the last light on the watchtower” in an echoing and beautiful serenade. 

The night was packed full of potential right from the off, as pop sensation Layla took to the stage swaying behind the keyboard and dishing out plenty of charm and charisma throughout the support slot. 

Imagine Kate Nash without the mockney accent influenced by the sweetness of Lucy Rose and there’s an inkling to the sweet sounds and delicate melodies of Layla. 

Indietronica made a burst onstage as Indiana slotted between the sets of Layla and Bipolar Sunshine, it’s a surprise she’s not here to headline as the enigmatic singer unleashes her powerful vocals back by some face shaking bass.

Between songs Indiana is softly spoken but the crowd are entranced by her presence onstage and everyone can sense a star in the making.

As the crowd’s dancing got drunker, Bipolar got looser and looked to be truly enjoying the live action as the singer gears up to take on festivals this summer with his sunny disposition and sing along songs.

As the evening comes to a close Bipolar launches into Happy after exclaiming “who the fuck feels happy? You all may as well, we all may as well” which would sound preachy were it not delivered in such a relaxing tone, leaving the crowd to ponder those thoughts with joy into the cold chill outside the Joiners. 

Thomas Johnson, for more reviews like this head to SOUND OF VINYL

Mar 7 '14

New York City brought to Southampton by Skaters and Drowners

The bands from the Big Apple brought the big city chaos to the South Coast as the legendary Joiners hosted two of the hottest bands around and the result was delightful hysteria.

Both Drowners and Skaters recent debut albums are certainly nailed down to be on many ‘Best of 2014’ lists come December, and the bands unleashed the exuberance and attitude of their debuts on a baying crowd. 

The headliners chaos and fun kicked off straight away as Skaters rolled through a showcase of their skills, ‘Symptomatic’ got the crowd into one of the night’s many pits with its electric chorus. 

As expected ‘I Wanna Dance’ created one of the biggest cheers as the youthful energy of the audience was matched by the Skaters boys’ desire to party and show off and spread the New York lifestyle. 

First on was local band The Harlequins who combining the sounds of early Maccabees with a bit of Kings Of Leon got the evening going tumbling through an entertaining set featuring a cover of The Beatles ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ whilst throughout their support slot they switched frontman duties a little like those ol’ Beatles boys used to. 

The support for Skaters UK tour could well have had their own headline slot, Drowners’ short and spunky songs got the gaggle of young girls and leather clad lads moving to the beat of Matt Hitt and co’s energetic set. 

'Long Hair' and 'Let Me Finish' hit the chord loud and proud but really the whole set was a barnstorming show by Drowners as the sweaty band embraced the loving crowd. 

As the Joiners floor began to bounce in a worrying yet beautiful way Skaters were hitting the last of their set list with ‘To Be Young’ and ‘Schemers’ a few youngsters took to the stage to dance along with the band and realise their youthful dreams. 

Persuaded to come back on for an encore, Skaters unleashed something just a bit special, throwing in a cover of The Smiths’ ‘This Charming Man’ that went down superbly.

Skaters and Drowners gave Southampton a little taste of New York City and one hell of a party, because as singer Michael Ian Cummings announced “Thursday is the new Friday”, and why not. 

Feb 1 '14

Independent Venue Week @ Joiners

Sheltering from the rainy cold Friday night weather in Southampton there is a hub of energy and buzz for some local live music at the UK’s best small music venue as part of the national campaign, Indie Venue Week, to promote intimate venues.

That end of the week feeling is filling the air at the Joiners Arms as some calamity characters have one too many and old friends meet for a catch up and to watch some of the best band’s in the Hampshire area.

First on are the youngsters that form The Outlooks, with some vibrant energy and confidence on stage there is certainly potential in the band. Cut through the clichéd tricks, that at their age they can be forgiven for and there is a solid basis of a group of kids playing some decent music, with a little taste of The White Stripes to their sound they will have put themselves in the crowds minds with some youthful exuberance on the famous Joiners platform.

The music of the evening took quite a sharp turn when the next act Ben Goddard took to the stage, flowing through some relaxing tracks that would suit a delicate Saturday afternoon. With their Razorlight-esque sounds there was a strong contingent of women in the crowd appreciating Ben Goddard and co. The melody is important for this group and the likes of ‘Molly’ will make it difficult for you to stop those feet tapping away.

Supporting live music and their hosts is what Independent Venue Week is all about and Friday evening at Joiners captured that spirit perfectly as the crowd warmed their souls with a lot of beer and even more dancing.

Next to take to the stage were Fever who upped the tempo with some swaggering rhythms and plenty of attitude, slaying the crowd into action shouting ‘how we fuckin’ doin’?’ as the band looked to infect the crowd with their brand of dark and fast surf rock. Throw in some rollicking riffs and catchy chorus’ and the boys from Fever show there is a lot to be excited about in the local music scene.

As the headliners took to the stage it is clear as the night has gone on the crowd and the band have matured as The Rising pounce into their ska style and the crowd get on their dancing shoes one last time. As a ladder of a lady proclaims to me “that’s our mate” towards the bassist it is clear that the night has been enjoyable for all and The Rising are going to get one more boogie out of everyone gathered.

The band’s track ‘Daydreaming’ echoes the Britpop era, where the likes of Oasis took to the Joiners stage, and it is clear the night to celebrate local music venues has been full of enjoyment and can be capped a success.

Nov 27 '13

Interview with Cerebral Ballzy’s Honor Titus

As Honor prepared to take to the Joiners stage later that night I caught up with him to find out how the tour’s been going, about the band’s upcoming album and what it means to be Ballzy.

On British Crowds…

“It’s super rad, it’s different like everywhere in the world they come with their own personalities but yeah crowds over here are rad.”

On Touring the World…

“We played Russia and it was insane, all these hardcore punks letting go and that, we didn’t expect it that much in Moscow but it was super awesome to play in front of them seeing them fully into it like that.”

On New York…

“We’re New York boys it’s definitely a massive influence on us as a band, it is in the music that we’re from there, the energy and style is definitely influenced by the punk scene in New York.”

On Dave Sitek, Julian Casablancas and Lou Reed…

“Working with Dave was super rad, we were psyched to get in the studio and hear how he would work our sounds and it really is a big part of the new album, he was sick to work with. Julian’s a friend and when we were looking for which label to put out the new record on it took time but it felt right to go with Julian’s Cult Records and we announced it just a few days after Lou Reed dying so it’s a big moment for New York and that scene.”

On Supporting Small Venues…

“It’s so important, and it’s rad to see people coming out for a place to hang with your mates and watch some great bands. There would be independent venues that wouldn’t be around in New York if bands like Ballzy didn’t play coz they were in trouble and bands like ours went and played shows there and people came out so it’s super important to support small venues.”

On the Monster NME tour…

“It’s been great fun, all the guys have been sick to hang with and we’ve all gotten on super well and there’ve been some great gigs throughout.”

On Ballzy’s Influences…

“Apart from New York, it’s stuff like skating, punk and pizza y’know.”

Thomas Johnson

Nov 27 '13

Review: Cerebral Ballzy (26 Nov)


Marching from the bar, through the crowd and onto the stage comes Honor Titus to join his Ballzy band-mates, and with a snarl announces, “Yo turn everything up, we’re Cerebral Ballzy from New York City.”

Spitting beer and climbing the lighting rig Ballzy’s singer has the stage presence of a young Iggy Pop or Bad Brains frontman Human Rights.

The crowd appears slightly reluctant at first but Honor encourages them forward and the energetic enthusiasm of youth in the front begins a mosh that will largely remain for most of the night, hitting the rooftops with tracks Insufficient Fare and Don’t Tell Me What To Do.

Joining Cerebral Ballzy on the Monster NME Radar Tour are Scots The Amazing Snakeheads and six-piece punk outfit White Fat Family.

The latter kicking off the night with their Black Lips enthused party songs, as vocalist Lias Saudi indulges in some skulking dance moves like a mixture of Rik Mayall and Renton from Trainspotting.

Saudi puts on quite the performance and claims that the gig is a sort of homecoming as the band are from Southampton, Heaven On Earth is the peak of the young punks set as they set alight the Joiners stage.

Pounding drumming and heavy bass comes The Amazing Snakeheads with their Glaswegian accents and in your face punk attitudes in tow.

Frontman Dale Barclay decides the stage is too much and jumps down into the crowd as he terrifies as much as excites the youth of the night. The Amazing Snakeheads are a combination of gloomy music set to Barclay’s throat ripping vocals; it’s quite a sight.

Ballzy wrecked havoc with the crowd and the new songs from the band’s upcoming second album were received very well (City Girl) but the highlights of the night came from the old faithful tracks like Cutting Class.

Sharing beer with the crowd and letting an audience member scream the beginning to Don’t Tell Me What To Do just goes to show the Ballzy affinity with their fans, ending the night Honor says “The New York Boys have love for you Southampton”, and Southampton certainly has love for you Ballzy.

Thomas Johnson

May 22 '13




May 12 '13

The day Oasis played at The Joiners

The 29th of March 1994 was not destined to be a special day for music. It was Bobby Kimball’s birthday, mostly known as frontman of Toto, as well as Perry Farrell’s from Jane’s Addiction among other bands. It was also the birth anniversary of legendary British composer William Walton, and the death anniversary of Carl Orff, creator of the mythic Carmina Burana. Not too much…

…But as a matter of fact, that day would mean a turning point for the Oasis career, even if they couldn’t imagine that after what happened.

They arrived in Southampton as part of a tour organised by Creation Records in order to promote Whiteout, a band “tipped to be bigger than them at that time” according to Pat Muldowney, owner of The Joiners. They had only released a four-track demo barely known by people, but Muldowney remembers they were already “very arrogant”.

The tickets cost only three pounds. “The back room was busy, though not jammed,” says Martin McNeely, a Northern Irish music writer who used to near Winchester 19 years ago. It was a really cold night, so it the attendees were “glad to be inside”. Due to the twist of fate, Whiteout played first that day. They had a great sense of humour and jollied the crowd, “a complete contrast to what would come next” in McNeely’s words.

Oasis jumped into the stage and started playing gently, motionless. The concert kicked off with ‘Supersonic’, one of their best hits until the moment, and followed with ‘Shakermaker’ and ‘Columbia’. Liam, main vocalist, “stood still in his structured pose” throughout the show, while the rest of the band “hardly moved a muscle”. Some people didn’t understand what was going on, and others let the skin, a gesture that Liam appreciated and encouraged. The rest of the public, a majority, were really angry.

Moreover, Liam decided to “trade insults” with them. “It was just verbal abuse, nothing more,” explains McNeely. The atmosphere was getting hotter and hotter, although at times “his accent was strongly Manchester that no one understood” what he exclaimed.

To top it all, they ended the concert with ‘I Am The Walrus’, a Beatles’ cover that they usually stretched up indefinitely. Noel Gallagher, the guitarist, reminded to the BBC that they hadn’t composed songs enough “to earn the fucking 25 quid” they received for half an hour shows. That’s why they “figured” that they would pick up a song and “just make it really fucking long”. And so they did. The concert lasted no more than 40 minutes.

People, including McNeely, thought it was just “a break before the encore”. But it wasn’t, and after a long wait some of the attendees, furious because of what had just happened, went to the bar and asked for their money back. Nobody got away with it. The contract was signed and Oasis had already received their 35% of gross receipts: 150 pounds.

Nonce, the Gallagher brothers had gone out and started to discuss about the show. The conversation boiled up and they were about to come to blows. “They had a row in the alleyway. Noel and Liam almost had fisticuffs out there,” Muldowney describes.

It wasn’t the first quarrel of the day. Hours ago, when they were having dinner in the bar, Liam was bragging before the employees they would be better than The Beatles. Then the “girl who was working on the bar at that time told him to fuck off,” which lead into an unpleasant argument among them.

Somehow Oasis had to leave The Joiners through the back door. While people were still trying to absorb if that band was for real or not, McNeely had the chance to interview them. On the one hand, Noel was a “nice bloke who kept up the whole rock star thing very well”; on the other hand, Liam was “aggressive”, “disruptive”, “hyper” and “lippy”. The only common feature between them, besides the innate ability to forgive each other, was their self-confidence. And they proved to be right.

Months later, they were “hitting the stratosphere” in Knebworth, where they played the biggest concert in the history of music: 250.000 people among the audience and nearly 3 million ticket requests. “I’m not surprised they became massive; not at all. They had so much hype behind them… they were surefire cool,” McNeely points out.

The Oasis’ way would be followed in the future by other successful band the likes of Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand or the Arctic Monkeys, who considered The Joiners, in words for NME, “a place where you have to play to get started”. “It says something about The Joiners that the band had to be seen there on their way to the top,” McNeely adds.

“It’s curious. Whiteout, apparently better, went on to do nothing, and Oasis went on to be one of the biggest bands in the world,” Pat reflects with pride.

Manuel García

Apr 29 '13

Weekly Agenda: April 29 – May 5

Monday 29 April: Trupped Under Ice (£10.00).

Formed in Baltimore, MD in 2007 and paying homage to Metallica’s song, Trapped Under Ice are a hardcore band that has composed three albums to date. Involved in a tour since the release of Big Kiss Goodnight, their last LP, the band is characterised by a powerful sound that reaches the utter brutality in most of their songs.

Support bands: Broken Teeth and Climates.


Tuesday 30 April: Infamous Nobody (£5.00).

Infamous Nobody is a metal band based in Southampton born in early 2011 with the aim of creating music to be enjoyed by all kinds of publics. After touring around Southern England, the band has obtained a solid fanbase that support them everywhere they go. They’ve been influenced by bands the likes of Bullet For My Valentine or Trivium.


Wednesday 1 May and Thursday 2 May: Solent Uni 2nd Year Showcase (£2.00).

Solent Showcase is, according to their promoters, “the first major addition to Southampton’s emerging cultural quarter”. Opened in 2011, the organisation features “contemporary visual art that encourages engagement, discussion and participation with the whole community” in order to “provide examples of the best contemporary art” and “inspire students and a wider audience”. This time, Popular Music Performance students will perform sets containing “original material and cover versions”.


Friday 3 May: 13th Floor EP Launch (£5.00).

Founded in 2012 in Southampton, 13th Floor is a duo that tries to bridge the gap between R&B, pop and hip-hop. Since their first concert in July 2012, the band has been working hard to compose their first EP, which will be released next Friday.

Support bands: New Mantra and 4BZ


Sunday 5 May: Attack! Attack! (£7.50).

Attack! Attack! is a 7-year-old rock band formed in Wales whose influences include pop, punk and grunge. Attack! Attack are touring the UK for the last time, since they recently announced they would split after the planned gigs. The band will be presenting at The Joiners their new album, Long Road To Nowhere, released last April 1.

Support bands: Gavin Butler (The Blackout), Forever Can Wait and Pump Action Radio.


You can buy all tickets in advance (click here) or on the doors.

Apr 22 '13

Weekly Agenda: April 22 – April 28

Monday 22 April: To The Bones (£4.00).

To The Bones compare themselves to Nirvana: “Singer Rhys possesses the most glorious guttural growl since Kurt Cobain shredded his larynx for our listening delight”. Besides that, the band stands out thanks to their mad riffs, which don’t hide a style that looks really similar to The Pixies.

Support bands: Gentry Underground and Witness The Phoenix. 


Tuesday 23 April: Hope & Social (£5.00).

Hope & Social is an alternative, indie rock band created “one drunken night in the Grove pub in Leeds” in 2007. Their aim is to make real, meaningful and good music, not “just another set of love songs”. That’s why they have taken influences from the best: from Led Zeppelin to David Bowie.

Support bands: Cloudi Lewis, Flash Sundown and Charlemagne.


Wednesday 24 April: Dinosaur Pile-Up (£7.50).

Dinosaur Pile-Up is a worldwide popular indie rock band with grunge influences that comes to Southampton to exhibit some advances of their new album, Nature Nurture, which will be published next month. During its existence, the band has amassed a huge number of sales and has played along with bands the likes of Cage The Elephant.

Support bands: Tour support and Drawings.


Thursday 25 April: Silver Orchids (£5.00).

Silver Orchids is a based on Southampton alternative rock band that has taken influences from the most important models of the genre, especially Dave Grohl and his different bands –vide Nirvana, Foo Fighters… Their style revolves around the peculiar voice of Lara, the main vocalist.

Support bands: Kyshera and Inferior Complex.


Friday 26 April: Green Circles Club Night (£5.00).

Once again –as it’s planned to be done every last Friday of every month– the Green Circles Club Night will lodge a celebration in which all local musicians, promoters, independent music writers, music fans and revellers will have the opportunity to “come out and recreate the ‘scene’ of forgotten years and watch 2 of the best upcoming bands take to the well trodden stage and dance the night away” to the rhythm of all kinds of music.


Saturday 27 April: Muddy Wellies (£5.00).

Muddy Wellies is an initiative launched by Tom Muldowney, Craig Rogan and Fraser Thomas, three “house music fanatics” who decided that Southampton needs more and new nightlife opportunities. Their plan is to bring regular parties to The Joiners with the collaboration of the best local DJs. And so they will do next Saturday night.

Sunday 28 April: Crashdïet (£10.00).

Crashdïet is a 13-year-old band that comes from Sweden to delight the public with his classic glam rock style. Their fame have made them the first Swedish hard rock band to sign a contract with a major label, Universal. Now they’re in a new adventure with Frontier Records, which they released their new album earlier this year: The Savage Playground.

Support bands: Jettblack, Western Sand and Hollywood Trash.

You can buy all tickets in advance (click here) or on the doors.