Review: Childhood at The Joiners (07/10/2014)

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As up and coming faces on the indie music scene, Childhood have embarked on a short warm-up UK tour prior to their supporting slot with Johnny Marr this winter. Joined by Kid Wave, the South London four piece certainly know how to keep a crowd entertained, arriving onstage to a cacophony of excited voices, and never ceasing to blast out their chaotic indie pop hits.

Well known for their supporting slot alongside Palma Violets on a large portion of their tours to date, Childhood have had an immense kick off to their career, riding the ever increasing wave of indie bands. As a band coveted by numerous magazine publications, including NME, who rated their debut album 8/10, and The Guardian, it’s safe to say they have a long career ahead of them.

The Joiners is an almost faultless venue, and feels almost like home to many music lovers in and around Southampton. The venue has been voted one of the best small independent venues for a long time, and had nearly every alternative band through its stage doors at some point in histroy. I arrived just after doors opened, around 7:30, and it took a fair while before it was busy. However, by 8:15 it was fairly crowded, just in time for the first support act, Bel Espirit.

Bel Espirit, a local four piece band, were previously reviewed by The Edge as an act that ‘relied a little too heavily on their influences to form their songs, both lyrically and instrumentally… they most certainly know how to get a crowd moving and the energy flowing.’ Several months since this review, it’s difficult to say much has changed. Musically, the band are innovative and interesting to listen to. They kept the audience entertained and kicked off the evening to a good start. Their influence from The Velvet Underground is still undeniable, from a band members t-shirt, to the cover track they performed at the end, although their sound in many songs seemed to, however forcefully, have shifted away. Therefore, the only thing that reduced this band, in my eyes, from great to average was the vocals. I felt uncomfortable listening to the lead singer, who’s vocals created such a stark contrast to the bands that performed later in the evening. However, I will always highly commend the effort of any local band, even if they do decide to demonise me for my honesty.

Kid Wave, a London based four piece, took to the stage next. The band’s performance was near faultless, highly enjoyable, and completely memorable. They perfectly complimented Childhood, and provided a great build up towards their headline slot. They injected further energy into the audience, who were clearly itching to get moving. The band are confident, care free and casual, with DIY describing their sound as ‘just the kind of addictive indie rock that keeps your mind in an endless teenage dream’.

Childhood were as cool and confident as every band now has the expectation to be. After a hectic year for the band, they looked completely at home on a stage with a room filled with fans. Their tour follows a summer of festivals, the release of their debut album, and almost international fame for the band after their trip to Japan in August. Beginning their set on ‘Blue Velvet’, I was taken aback by the stark contrast in their recorded material to their live performance. Chaos is the only word to describe it. Their debut, Lacuna, is relatively relaxed and dreamy, creating a laid back vibe for every listener. Their live performance led to dancing, jumping, and eventually moshing and stage diving, which they seemed to enjoy watching all too much.

Their set list didn’t promise an encore, and after they vacated the stage, the audience went crazy for the band to return. All too quickly, the clearly enthusiastic band jumped back onstage and performed an extra song for the eager crowd. This is when the crowd truly lost it. Stage diving commenced, with people jumping on top of other crowd surfers, leading to much of the audience shuffling away from the imaginary landing zone.

Childhood didn’t not disappoint, and I would highly recommend seeing them before Johnny Marr helps to catapult them into mainstream success.

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Head of Events for The Edge magazine. Keen concert goer and angry feminist. Shared recycled oxygen on a 12 hour flight with Foals.

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