In the past week, I have paid a visit to each of my two favourite venues.
There are live music venues all over, but the ones that mean the most are those that have always been there and have given you the musical upbringing that shapes you and your musical tastes.
On Thursday, I entered the familiar warmth of The Joiners, Southampton. Yes, warmth. I’ve realised that maybe one of the reasons I love Joiners so much is that it’s impossible to be cold there. Well, almost. I am practically cold-blooded. It can be a heaving sweat pit of human energy and I love it. I still find it amazing that it shocks people. On Thursday, towards the end of the show, some girls pushed past me, heading towards fresher air from near the front of the stage and they were complaining to each other, “It’s sooo hot in there!”
Crowds of teenage boys were jumping and pushing and generally having fun. That sort of thing expels a lot of heat. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the mosh pit.
I hasten to add, I wasn’t partaking in such activity. I know where my place is: just back from the ball of energy in front of the stage, usually in line with the sound guy. Close enough to take active part in the show and far enough away from the talkers at the back.
My brother had bought me a ticket to join him to see The Sherlocks for Christmas. We do this a lot. Tickets say, ‘You’re the best sibling; let’s hang out!’ more than knitted jumpers or new release blu-rays. Also, my brother is my main gig-buddy. We have the same taste and he shares my appreciation of live music: no talking during the music.
Unfortunately, I missed the first band, but the second band on were striking and enjoyable in a Britpop / Kasabian way. But I was thinking, never trust a man in a trench-coat.
The Sherlocks were as energetic and catchy as I’d expected them to be. They make fantastic, upbeat indie pop songs. Just the sort of thing to dance along to – albeit, for me, at a safe distance from the sweaty boys worshipping at their feet underneath the stage. Here’s a taster of the positivity that emanates from their performance. It’s impossible to stand still.
Earlier in the week, I had a slightly different live music experience. My uncle had bought me a ticket to see The Boss, a Springsteen tribute band at The Brook, Southampton.
Now, I think about it, this week has been excellent as I haven’t had to buy any tickets! I love my family.
Anyway, we headed off to The Brook. This is another venue I love. It’s not as dark, claustrophobic and sweaty as the Joiners, but it has it’s own charm, and I very much appreciate the dance space. And boy, did I have a lot of dance space on Saturday night.
I bloody love Bruce. His songs are some of the best ever to grace my ears. And some of them are impossible to listen to without dancing. Now, admittedly, it was a slightly older crowd than the adolescents at Joiners, but there was a lot of standing still going on. I was dancing on my own for some of the songs, at least until the alcohol ha taken effect on everyone else towards the end of the night.
‘Dancing in the Dark’ is one of my favourite ever songs – top five for sure. I defy anyone not to do the eighties hip swing to it. And the lyrics are so poignant, sad and and uplifting all at the same time.
Consequently, I was most upset when the joker posing Bruce (he also looked a little too much like Harry Redknapp to get me on side), failed to complete the song. Alas, I was left glancing around, staring open-mouthed at my uncle, wondering if I’d blacked out for a few minutes. I can’t talk about it any more; it’s still too painful.
On a brighter note, the band were amazingly talented and the music was brilliant. The drummer was particularly skilled with his sticks and looked to be having a ball the whole time. And the saxophonist took on many solos with the required pizazz, especially when wearing eighties white jeans and sleeveless shirt (although the upper arms were worth admiring). In fact, the singer was pretty good when he finished the songs. He said he’d been ill which means he wasn’t 100% so I suppose we should cut him some slack. I had a good night after all and that’s what matters. Here’s the real Bruce to cheer us all up…
Any week when I get to go to Joiners or The Brook is an excellent week. To get to both in a week makes for a very happy week indeed. Whenever I walk through the door to Joiners, I feel comfortable and familiar. The Brook has become a place where I can be assured, I will hear music that I love. I can’t imagine the landscape of the Southampton live music scene without either of these venues.
If your week needs a boost, I would suggest getting your dancing shoes on and heading to either of these places. Or both.