Review: 71 Chain at The South Western Arms, Southampton

Great Night Out

Perfect for a fun and relaxed evening out with good music and good company.

  • 6

Saturday evening at The South Western Arms saw a lively performance by local band 71 Chain. They formed in 2011 and have been performing at this venue from the start. Saturday’s performance saw a smaller crowd than usual but still a fantastic atmosphere.

If you haven’t yet been to The South Western Arms, it’s definitely a venue you should try out if you like small, relaxed gigs. Live music is a regular occurrence and it’s often provided by 71 Chain or members of the band. The relaxed atmosphere was exactly what this gig had. There was enough space away from the band for a chance to have a chat, and yet you could also get right in the thick of it to listen closely if you wanted.

The band decided to take an abnormal approach to their usual gigs this time. Normally they predominantly play covers with a few of their own pieces sprinkled in, this time they decided to take a different approach and played all originals for the evening. They focussed on their own music as they promoted their new EP, Cheese and Ham, following a return from a short 3-night tour in Germany. The set list for the night included 3 songs from the EP: ‘Sailors Prayer’, ‘Grain Race’, and the titular song ‘Cheese and Ham’. The set closed with their favourite original, Sea Shepherd. Personally, I have preferred their performances in the past where they mix originals and covers. With a larger audience, especially this serves to re-engage the audience after an original they probably haven’t heard before.

The name 71 Chain came from a plaque on St Denys bridge which located it as 76 miles and 71 Chain from London Waterloo. They describe themselves as not genre specific but are very influenced by a range of musicians and genres including Led Zeppelin; English folk (Fairport and Sandy Denny especially) and blues music. I spoke to Chris (lead vocals and guitar) after the gig who told me that the most important thing to them was each other. They bonded over music and will put their friendship before anything else. This came across strongly in their gig at The South Western Arms, they weren’t trying to put across a professional appearance, they were just having fun with the music, each other and the audience, many of whom are friends of the band.

If you ever get a chance to pop down to The South Western Arms or another venue whilst they are playing I would definitely recommend it. Unless you’re only into charts pop then they’ll almost certainly play something that you’ll enjoy and you’ll have a great night with it.

For this who are interested, this is the full setlist:

  • Sailors Prayer
  • Heating the Dust
  • Shadow
  • We Believe
  • Winter Born
  • Cheese and Ham
  • 71 Chains
  • Coulda Had Religion
  • Charlie
  • Stories
  • Grain Race
  • Love of a Woman
  • She Moves in Farm
  • Throw it All Away
  • Miss Me
  • Stayed a While
  • Sea Shepherd


You can keep up with the band’s gigs on their Facebook page and you can get hold of their new EP on their website. Watch the band perform their favorite song, Sea Shepherd, below.


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