Record label Honeymooner put on a brilliant bill of acts hosted at one of Southampton’s recently opened but already top venues for live music, the Loft. The day was a testament to the evolving music scene down here in Soton.
The Loft, sneakily tucked away in Bedford Place, have offered up some great gigs this year. The likes of Swim Deep, Sports Team and PUP have all taken to the stage there and played some excellent shows. The 450-person capacity venue takes a more relaxed approach to gigging, not minding if the odd mosh pit opens up or crowd member finds their way onto a pair of shoulders. Tonight, record label Honeymooner had enlisted The Loft as the venue to host its first all-day event. It was a day of fantastic music and a testament to the ever-developing music scene here in Southampton.
Ironically it was Portsmouth’s Megan Linford, an acoustic guitar expert who kicked off proceedings at 14:30 with local band Happy 2000 following in the bill with their youthful and rowdy alternative rock. Unfortunately, with this being the final week of university term there was a little more space in the venue than perhaps there would have been on an earlier weekend. Nonetheless, the spectators gradually flowed in as the day progressed.
Bdrmm then took to the stage playing a set so enthused with energy it made us forget that it was only 4 in the afternoon. The Hull-based quintet proved their professionalism by putting on a show worthy of headlining despite not all ticket holders having arrived yet. They flaunted their brand of gleeful dream pop with ‘The Way I Want’ before moving into a darker, more introspective feel with ‘Question Mark’, which incorporates starry-eyed synths and a lazy but head-bob-inducing 4/4 drumbeat. Whilst ‘C:U’ benefits from a powerful chugging baseline and reverby guitars which later switch to distortion for a rollicking finish. Ending with ‘Shame’, a song that defies musical law by commencing with a huge instrumental section leading into a catchy repetitive hook for the remainder.
As tea time approached, Lazy Day blessed us with their arguably not-so lazy brand of guitar-driven rock. Tilly Scantlebury’s outlet for her musical mastery blasted us with big hits such as ‘Double J’ and ‘With My Mind’. And as Saints were battling it out against the Hammers down at St Mary’s, hometown lads Mystic Peach were able to give at least one Southampton crowd something to cheer about, sparking riot with headbanging psych-rock. Another of Southampton’s finest Wild Front mellowed out the crowd before yet another great punk band from Bristol took to the stage with Heavy Lungs ramping the volume back up before the finale.
London quartet Gengahr were the headline act, a critically acclaimed band whose darker take on the shoegaze genre has perked up the ears of many. Also for anyone who enjoys Pokémon, the band take inspiration for their name from the ghostly Pokémon ‘Gengar’ but I digress… Lead vocalist Felix Bushe instantly won over the crowd as the band finished their soundcheck by admitting “we were gonna walk off and come back on but that’s just a waste of everybody’s time, let’s just play some music!” To the delight of the crowd, Gengahr sprang into action with one of their more upbeat tracks ‘Heroine’, Bushe’s magical falsetto-style of singing making itself instantly known. The dark psychedelic nature of many of their songs makes it so they’re sometimes not the easiest to sing along to, but this didn’t phase the crowd on the oddly named ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’ with the catchy chorus sang back to the talented musicians. Recently released track ‘Heavenly Maybe’ was introduced as a “funky one”, a description which most certainly fits. The band finished with ‘Carrion’ from their sophomore album which features an onslaught of synth, bass and distorted guitars all kept together by a progressive and rampant beat.
What a day of music it was! It’s hard to believe The Loft only opened two years ago. They have put on some great shows with my only criticism being that they should host them more regularly. In an age where more and more live music venues up and down the country are shutting up shop it’s excellent to see some opening their doors in the city of Southampton. Additionally, the pairing of Honeymooner and The Loft was a force to be reckoned with and I do hope they plan on hosting another event like this in the future.