On a freezing cold Saturday night in December it may seem like too much effort to bother to venture outside. Much easier to just sit in front of the TV where it’s warm, and mainline The X factor, Strictly and all the other staples of Saturday night television until your brain finally gives up and slips into a boredom coma. This is especially the case if the place one happens to be considering venturing to is The Joiners, an iconic venue to be sure, but also a cold and drafty one. However, on 7th December those hardy souls who did make the trek out there to see the Southampton date of Ashestoangels and DEAD!’s headline tour were rewarded with some utterly blistering performances by some of the best young rock bands around; the performances contained more spirit in one song than The X factor could muster in a whole lacklustre series.
One of the many bands to perform were Silver Orchids, a female fronted outfit who play bluesy rock. They were a deeply odd choice given the rest of the bands on the bill and, to be blunt, they were not a success. The vocalist was screechy and high pitched and the band failed to interact with the crowd, and consequently, they disappointed. The biggest cheer of their performance actually went to the sound guy when he told them they only had one more song and that’s never a good sign.
The third band of the night, Ugly Love, came onstage to a hysterical welcome from the crowd. Their sleazy punk rock got everybody moving and provided filthy, danceable fun. They were the first band of the night to really warm up the crowd, and they were also the first band where the shortness of their set actually left the audience wanting more, as opposed to breathing a sigh of relief.
The fourth band of the night, and the first headliner of the evening was Ashestoangels, a band whose visceral live show has to be seen to be believed. They took the crowd Ugly Love had warmed up for them and injected a next level dose of adrenalin. Excitement and insanity oozed from the band’s every pore, and reckless endangerment is most certainly the name of the game. Ashes play like an old style punk band, they’re energetic, they’re thrilling and they’re downright dangerous. Lead singer Crilly whirled round the stage like a demented Tasmanian devil, all muscle and charisma. He never stopped for breath, pausing only to yell at, and occasionally jump into the screeching crowd. Of course, none of these things would matter at all if the songs themselves weren’t good, but they were, brilliant in fact. ‘Wintervention’, ‘Dorian’ and newest single ‘Chases’ all provided slices of catchy gothic punk perfection. Overall this performance showed why Ashes are one of those enthralling live bands you simply cannot miss.
Second headliner and final band of the evening DEAD! initially came out to an exhausted crowd, one of the perils of playing after Ashestoangels. Luckily, this didn’t stop them getting an enthusiastic welcome from their hometown crowd. The band seemed genuinely touched and thrilled by this, even more so when it became apparent that the majority of the crowd new every word of their songs, even the unreleased ones. They didn’t have the energy of Ashes up on stage, but then, realistically, who does? They did however, whip through their set at quite a good clip, and at times their polished punk rock brought to mind a young My Chemical Romance. It easy to see why these promising boys have been getting a bit of airplay on Radio One of late, they definitely know how to pen a catchy tune, with the superb song ‘Alaska’ even edging towards being anthemic. As the evening drew to a close, it was clear that the winter chill had been thorough expunged from the exhausted, sweating but happy crowd. Despite the early wobbles, it was a night of superb music and certainly far better than settling down in front of the TV yet again.