Maggie Cassidy, Artemis and The Optimists put on a great show for many people’s return to live music!
It has been almost a year and half since I have stepped foot in The Joiners and The Optimists, Artemis and Maggie Cassidy were the perfect combination for my reintroduction to one of the best independent venues in the UK. Coronavirus has impacted the way we attend gigs, especially in terms of seating arrangement. For The Joiners a maximum capacity of 33 people, a significant difference from the usual capacity of 200 people. The significantly reduced crowd was not an issue; watching the performers felt just the same as when the venue is at full capacity. The crowd were roaring and despite the distance between the musicians and the audience, there was no separation between the artist and the fan. There was a huge connection between the audience and musicians- something unlike other live shows I have been to during the Covid-19 restrictive measures. This was all thanks to the amazing seating plan of The Joiners but also to all three bands for making sure that for everyone who was experiencing their first gig back since March 2020 enjoyed a great show, had a great time.
The night began with loud and groovy music from The Optimists. This was The Optimists’ first show at The Joiners, but with their confidence and the way they owned the stage you never would have noticed. Their music was energetic, full of energy and gave summer festival vibes which is perfect for the hot weather we are all currently experiencing. It was a fantastic opening as it was a completely different genre to the other bands that performed that night. They were an indie band who made me feel 17 again. The music is reminiscent of the old Artic Monkeys but with a slight flare, this was evident as they performed their recently released track ‘Chase The Sun’. It was a great performance and a fantastic way to begin the night, and the band from Isle of Wight proved just why we should start listening to the slow but growing music from the Isle.
Artemis destroyed, rebuilt, then burnt down The Joiners. Their set was outstanding. This was my second time seeing them and they just seem to get better with every performance. ‘Kingdoms’ was the perfect track to start the show, it was angry, fiery and powerful, setting the tone for an epic performance. It got straight to the point, telling the audience exactly who Artemis are. It sure worked; it was the closest to moshing that was legally allowed.
There were many memorable moments from the set with each member of the band having their moment to shine. Fenella on drums, Hannah on bass, Frankie on guitar and vocalist Yianna were extraordinary with one of the best songs of the night being their unreleased track ‘Seeing Red’. The lyrics are easy to learn with the chorus being “Fuck You, Hell Yeah”, it made the crowd go absolutely wild, with audience members looking like they were about to fall out of their seat (myself included). Artemis also performed their recently released new single titled ‘New Waves’, a song that has been described as “the perfect protest song”. What is amazing about an Artemis show is that you don’t need to know the lyrics or know the band to have a great time, their energy speaks volumes. It reminds me of early YONAKA shows where lead singer Theresa made sure the crowd had an experience to remember YONAKA by. Artemis did just that, further proving their potential!
A special mention also goes to guitarist Frankie whose birthday it was when they performed. This allowed for a fantastic moment within the show where the whole crowd joined the band to sing happy birthday. This wasn’t the only time the crowd were invited to perform as at the end of Artemis’ set they got the crowd to chant alongside them “duu dada duu da”. For someone with no musical ability it allowed me to feel like a Rockstar for a solid minute, which I am sure is a mutual feeling amongst many members of the crowd.
If you like Maggie Cassidy on record then boy you’ll love them live! A fear I always get when seeing a band live for the first time is ‘how does this translate to the stage?’ And honestly I couldn’t have asked for a better performance. There is no way to describe it but pure star quality. Vocalist Jamie burst on to the stage, full of energy and hyped up the crowd. Truthfully I felt like a fan girl seeing One Direction, and with the amount of crowd interaction during each song the audience felt a part of the show. For example Jamie pointing at you and singing into your camera whilst you recorded. It is the type of energy you see from bands such as Don Broco when they are playing a sold-out crowd at O2 Brixton. But to see this amount of energy at The Joiners, a relatively small venue, made the event feel even more special. It was a weird mix of feeling like you had camped hours to be at the barrier but also the feeling of being at small intimate gig. It was truthfully one of the best high energy shows I have ever seen at The Joiners, despite it being a seated gig.
Another thing to mention about Maggie Cassidy is their ability to make everyone feel and involved in the crowd. Many of their songs feature the theme of mental health and they used their platform whilst on stage to discuss the importance of looking out for yourself, others and that you are not alone. It was a beautiful moment and it broke down any barrier that may have been between the fan and the band.
Maggie Cassidy are a must see band for any rock or pop punk fan, it’s shocking that they are not more known but this will soon change. Mark my words, Maggie Cassidy will be making waves in the rock scene.
It was an undeniably fun night full of great music from a range of genres. Each band gave off a different vibe and it was the perfect set up to experience The Joiners again!