Review: LIFE at The Joiners, Southampton

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Captivating

LIFE are definitely a band to catch if you get the chance, as there is no doubt you will leave feeling immensely energised after witnessing their fascinating performance

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What’s better than escaping a cold, damp night in Southampton, than visiting The Joiners to witness one of the best up-and-coming bands at the moment? Not much, I imagine.

Unfortunately I was too late to catch the first support, but arrived just in time to catch Night Flowers‘ set which, if I had to describe in one word, was dreamy. Soft, floaty vocals coupled with chill guitar provided the crowd with some easy-listening, before the punk headliners took to the stage.

LIFE, a 4-piece from Hull, released their sophomore album A Picture of Good Health earlier this year in September, which was incredibly well received from critics and listeners alike. Before arriving at the venue, I knew I was in for a fun night as singles like ‘Bum Hour’ and ‘Good Health’ are so energy-filled on the record. However, I was not expecting the absolutely fascinating performance that was delivered by the band, that filled the show with strangely captivating dance-moves and intimate moments with the crowd.

Following an intense repeated shout of ‘this room is EXCITIIIINNNGG’ from lead singer Mez (which was received with awkward bursts of screams), the band opened with ‘Excites Me’, which was probably the best tune they could have opened with considering its immensely catchy chorus which perfectly corresponds to the track title. Despite being ‘full of cold’, Mez’ vocals were impeccable, providing the crowd with the best shouty tunes throughout the night. Mez’ stage presence during this opening song really set the tone for what to expect of the rest of the evening, with his seemingly random but nonetheless fascinating dance-moves which made the performance much more memorable. Despite the non-packed crowd, which was perhaps not as rowdy as they are used to, Mez’ stage presence managed to overcome the awkwardness and create energy in the audience with his somewhat humorous moves.

Another unique aspect of this performance which made this night so memorable was Mez’ entrance into the crowd where he left the stage to sing to and with the audience. This was the perfect way to rally up the crowd a bit more as the crowd then became a little more animated.

Alongside the perfect energy-filled tunes they performed, their interaction with the crowd and little comments between the songs could not have been better. When announcing to the room that it was their first time in Southampton, and that ‘Southampton is a beautiful city’, it was met with a little awkwardness (as everyone in the crowd knew that Southampton is, in fact, hardly beautiful in any way, shape or form) but Mez quickly humoured us with admitting ‘I say that about every city’. It was also really lovely of him to shout out The Joiners and independent venues in general, as these venues are so important in allowing intimate access to some of the best up-and-coming bands and artists on the scene right now, and deserve far more attention than they generally receive.

It became clear from the start of their performance that the songs they performed truly meant a lot to them, and represented their struggles and opinions from their own experiences. ‘In Your Hands’ really rallied up the crowd, with its anti-capitalist sentiments, and throughout the gig Mez managed to fit in important announcements, like ‘Fuck the Tory government’, ‘Fuck the education system’ and ‘Fuck Brexit’, which were all very well received from the crowd. Alongside these political sentiments, Mez also introduced the incredible tune ‘Half Pint Fatherhood’ with the short context stating that he is a single dad, which effectively contributes to making this song even more likeable. Hearing short political comments and brief contexts in between the songs simply made me respect this band even more so, as it’s clear they do not hide behind falseities, and their music tends to be based off the struggle of real, every-day life.

LIFE are due to support Keiser Chiefs on their tour this upcoming January, which is the perfect occasion to witness their incredible talents alongside another amazing band. Tickets are available here, and you can stay in the loop with any upcoming releases or announcements from LIFE here.

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Live Editor 2019/20. English student who loves writing about gigs.

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