Review: SPINN at The Joiners, Southampton

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Uplifting

Liverpudlians SPINN brought their jangly dream-pop sound to The Joiners, provoking smiles all around.

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SPINN have now completed their first-ever album tour, finishing up in their hometown of Liverpool and playing to a packed out O2 academy of 1200 people. They have expressed on their Facebook page how grateful they are for the continued support and are now off to rural Scotland to work on new material set for release next year, some of which I was lucky enough to hear at The Joiners

But can they do it on a cold, wet, Wednesday night in Southampton? The answer is that they most definitely can! SPINN are a dream-pop quartet who play upbeat and uplifting tunes which make it impossible to listen to them without cracking a smile; I don’t think I stopped during their set! The Joiners was certainly not the busiest I have seen it and for heaven’s sake, why not? Doesn’t anyone in Southampton have a thirst for excellent new music? Never mind, this only allowed more room for the crowd to lose themselves in an hour or so of brilliant pop songs.

Frontman Johnny Quinn (“Johnny Quinn from SPINN” as he referred to himself) donned a retro Everton jersey despite his team losing to rivals Liverpool 4-2 at the time, perhaps to the joy of his bandmate Andy on lead guitar. I must admit, I haven’t seen such high calibre of showmanship from a frontman for a long time. I have seen bands who have been in the business for decades but have the charisma of potatoes. Johnny must be secretly extracting the ability to interact with a crowd from musicians of other bands. I know some would argue “they should get on with music and let that do the talking” but Johnny had something funny or interesting to say after each and every track, knowing how to work a room that arguably wasn’t even half full.

The quartet began with the lead track ‘She Takes Her Time’ from their eponymous EP, instantly invigorating the Southampton crowd. Low in numbers but high in enthusiasm. They then launched into a trio of tracks from their debut album, which Johnny humbly describes as “very good”. I would agree. Johnny whacks out the acoustic guitar for ‘Sunshine’, providing the euphoric melody behind Andy’s irresistibly catchy riffs. There was a tribute to Louis’ drumming rug, which was mistakenly left in Southampton after a show at Heartbreakers in May. The band were very glad indeed to have been reunited with it, particularly Louis who took to the keyboard positioned next to his drum kit to play ‘July, at a Glance’, a particularly emotional song, to the rug.

Big hits ‘Bliss’ and ‘Notice Me’ were played towards the end of the set once again demonstrating the brilliance of Andy’s catchy riff curation. I don’t know what he’s done to his guitar but he produces a truly beautiful jangly dream-pop noise with it. This is supported by the equally catchy and powerful baselines from Sean on bass and kept all together with Louis providing a backbone of upbeat, inventive drumming. I can’t write this review without mentioning Johnny’s dance moves. He says they are inspired by a mixture of Jagger, Morrissey and Tyler, the Creator. I would argue Ian Curtis with more attitude and added flair. I said it’s impossible to not smile whilst listening to these guys, well it’s impossible not to boogie whilst watching them, even if you know to yourself you will never be half the dancer that Johnny is.

SPINN ended the set on ‘November’, quite an introspective song with an excellent instrumental finish. Johnny thanked the crowd as this began, exiting the stage abruptly and leaving his band members to close the show in expert fashion. They were as tight at the end as they were at the beginning. They then kindly handed out their setlists to members of the crowd, printed in comic sans but don’t worry, I was assured this was an inside joke. I sincerely hope that they had a lovely time in the Chichester Emsworth Travelodge after the gig and would desperately hope they come back to Southampton again soon.

Keep an eye out on any of SPINN’s upcoming shows here

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