After the mania that was September and October, January was a much-needed break from gigs. I know, I never thought I’d write those words either, but three back-to-back gigs a week was a lot. Anyway, now that it’s February and I have a dissertation due in two months, I’m going to roughly three gigs a week for the next month. Here are some of the best ones, with a few highlights to pick out here: Matt Cardle, who was the seventh winner of The X Factor eight years ago, is doing a gig in Eastleigh; Gaz Brookfield is back at The Talking Heads and he’s really rather good, and Beans on Toast is at The Joiners following his December tour and album. So a mixed bag, really, between good, synth pop, and Matt Cardle.
Where? Engine Rooms, Southampton
When? February 3rd
Why? We gave their November gig five stars, and we have a pretty good taste in music. But if that’s not enough, their 2014 debut album The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets peaked at number 3 in the UK Rock album charts and shot them into the Top 40. They played Reading and Leeds in 2017, with some intimate shows in the run-up to it, and have been bringing out more new material in their most recent shows in advance of their newest album, Knowing What You Know Now, released last Thursday (26th). Brilliant music, festival favourites, and a brand new album – tickets here.
Who? Spring King
Where? The Loft, Southampton
When? February 6th
Why? This fantastic band sell out shows, and it’s not hard to see why. They’re delightfully indie and crowd pleasing, and not only do they regularly sport support band’s merch but they’re very good at making sure crowds take care of each other – when I saw them at the Engine Rooms, we were encouraged to “Take care of each other, pick up people who fall down, and drink water”. As I said at the time, there’s nothing more rock and roll than that. They have an incredibly versatile sound, from the gorgeously melodic ‘They’re Coming After You’ to ‘It’s So Dark’, a mosh pit prompter. They’re lovely, enthusiastic, and tickets to see them are only £11.
Who? Will Varley
Where? The 1865, Southampton
When? February 6th
Why? Another big crowd pleaser, Will Varley’s worth going to see even just for his ability to switch between incredible, introspective songs to riotous jigs. A classic folk singer, he’s done tours with everyone from The Proclaimers to Frank Turner, and now he’s off on tour with Seán McGowan, a Southampton local. He’s spoken to The Edge in the past of his appreciation for Southampton’s attitude towards live music and local venues, and our “ready-for-a-riot” attitude, so a fantastic night is pretty much guaranteed. Tickets here!
Who? Jerry Williams
Where? Heartbreakers, Southampton
When? February 7th
Why? We love Jerry – not only is she a pleasure to talk to, but her live shows are phenomenal. Her most recent song, ‘Grab Life’, came out at the end of last year (after months of our Head of Relations Xavier asking her when it would be released because it’s very very good) and she’s one of the most local people in this month’s TMILLA, hailing from Portsmouth. She’s an artist who seems to get stronger with every release, because I thought her Let’s Just Forget It EP was fantastic, but then ‘I’m Not In Love With You’ came out, and then ‘Grab Life’… it’s no wonder she’s so loved here at The Edge and over at Surge. She’s also at Heartbreakers, a local venue which she thinks is very important to support, and it has a fantastic selection of beers. Tickets here!
Where? O2 Guildhall, Southampton
When? February 15th
Why? They’ve never been written about on The Edge (or if they have I can’t find it) which is a tragedy, because you’ve almost certainly heard a song by this synth-pop duo. One half of them was a founding member of Depeche Mode and wrote ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, the other half is openly gay and as such very popular with the LGBT+ community. They’re the most ’80s thing I’ve ever seen, especially the music video for ‘Always’. Tickets available here.
Who? The Front Bottoms
Where? Portsmouth Pyramids Centre
When? February 24th
Why? Their 2017 album Going Grey is very good, so good in fact that it earned a place in our top 50 albums of the year and was swapped into mum’s 6 CD rotation, bumping Seán McGowan. Which says a lot, because she loves him. As I said in the review, “It’s a really bloody lovely album – the first since their self-titled that feels like they know their sound and they’re comfortable in it,” and their Portsmouth show will be the biggest venue they’ve played down here to date. If you like pop-punk-vaguely rocky indie music with trumpets, you’ll love these guys. Tickets here!