Review: A.R.K at The Joiners (16/01/15)

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The Joiners is one of Southampton’s most iconic venues, and it’s been the springboard that has launched the careers of many influential and successful bands. The likes of Coldplay, Oasis, Artic Monkeys and Biffy Clyro have all cut their teeth on performances at the Joiners, and it’s always exciting to go and see a line-up of young inexperienced bands there, you never know if you might be seeing the next big thing in British rock! A.R.K.’s recent show at the joiners certainly showcased a very promising young line-up.

The first band of the night was BaseCamp, a female-fronted band who owe a very large and obvious debt to Paramore in terms of their musical style. They’re very young and certainly possess a certain amount of exuberance and ebullience; they appear to be having a fantastic time up on the stage. Overall, their act is somewhat unpolished, but they manage to provide an enjoyable opening to the night’s proceedings.

The next act are Reheated, a band that seem to play mostly covers in a slightly jazzy-bluesy rock style. They’re a more polished act than the first band of the evening and their set contains a good range of covers by popular artists like Maroon 5 and Lady Gaga. Highlights include their version of ‘Starlight’ by Muse, which really shows off the strong voice of singer Chandler Bennett.

The penultimate act of the night are Insomnia, another female fronted band, but this time one with a unique sound that’s probably best described as a jazz/prog rock hybrid. They kick things off with a Queens of The Stone Age cover, and then move into a set which consists mostly of their own material, always a good thing to see in such a young band. They’re far and away the most accomplished act of the night, their musicianship is strong and singer Meg Parkinson gives a powerful vocal performance, especially on the band’s highly enjoyable and unusual rock cover of ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears.

And then it’s on to the final band of the night, A.R.K. They’re the only male-fronted band of the evening, and unfortunately, their vocals can be somewhat hit and miss. This is a real shame, because when these guys are good, they’re really good. They sound something like a heavier, more rock oriented version of Arctic Monkeys, and they’ve got a good authentic punk snarl and attitude to some of their songs. There’s a moment in their set where things take a distinctly rockabilly turn, and it’s definitely a highlight, which provides a nice contrast to the band’s faster, punkier moments and proves that A.R.K. are more than just one-trick rock and roll ponies. Overall, this has been an excellent evening of music from some fast rising and exciting young bands, with Insomnia and A.R.K in particular showing some real talent and establishing themselves as acts to watch.

You can catch A.R.K’s next performance at The Talking Heads on March 22nd and tickets are available here.

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