Canterbury @ The Joiners 20/10/2010

Upon entering The Joiners in Southampton from the crisp weather outside, you could be forgiven for thinking you might have accidentally stepped into a college leavers do, since there are probably only a handful of people here old enough to remember Wayne’s World being in cinemas. But despite this fact, the show tonight at The Joiners is entirely sold out and totally packed to the roof, and the atmosphere is exactly what you would expect from this.

First up tonight is City Stereo who, for the first band on the bill, have a surprisingly dedicated audience. They start off the evening with their bouncy, New Found Glory-style bass chuggery riffs crossed with Taking Back Sunday melodies and, not too surprisingly, a similar style of stage-strutting. Even though their lyrics seem a bit drama-heavy, it will be interesting to see how City Stereo develop in the future considering the reaction to their opening gambit tonight.

Nic Matthews, the singer of Southampton locals The After Party, may look like he just rolled out of bed for this show, but luckily they don’t play like they just woke up! In fact, when they play the catchy, sing along chorus of Keep Me Waiting, the crowd start to wake up more as well. The After Party certainly put on an impressive show, but whether this is down to their clever use of lighting and strobe effects or not will have to be seen at future shows.

When the lights dim and The Duel of the Fates from Star Wars begins to play, the crowd instantly knows that this heralds the arrival of Southampton’s own pop-punk success story Not Advised. As expected, the crowd erupt when they kick their homecoming set off with their latest single release, the epic Right Now, and everyone starts singing and dancing along to their riotous punk rock anthems. Fan favourites A Red Light Situation and mass crowd sing-along tune Jane Says Left closely follow, and get the crowd chanting the words right back at Jim Thomas, the ring leader of this pop-punk circus. Although they don’t indulge their fans with their fantastic cover of Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror, they do announce to their hometown crowd that they will be headlining this same venue in February before playing themselves out with their first single The World’s Not Ready, which does a great job of getting the crowd suitably hot, sweaty and bouncing like a roomful of excitable Tiggers. If this is the future of home-grown British pop-punk-rock, then the future is in for an ass-kicking!

Tonight’s headliners Canterbury only take to the stage after a misleading dimming of the lights and music get the crowd falsely excited, but the crowd still go appropriately bat-shit for their brand of indie-twinged pop-punk when they do. “There’s a temperature gauge up there, when we came in it said 27. By the end of tonight, we want it to be at least 35!” announces their singer before they plough into latest video release Calm Down. Although Canterbury look like they should all still be sitting their A-Levels, there’s no denying their ability to get a crowd pumped up and moving when they play Take Me Out Of The Wall and get the crowd to be “the loudest human piano in history”. The fact that The Joiners is sold out tonight is a testament to how well they have been doing, and this could be down to the fact that they released their last album Thank You for free online nearly a year ago, so it clear that word spreads fast and furious like wildfire around this lot. At the end of the set, they rather honestly and bravely announce to the crowd “This is normally the point where we pretend to walk off and let you guys cheer us back on and play some more songs, but we’re not going to do that, we’re just going to play instead!” much to the pleasure of their ravenous fans at the front of the stage. Before they play their final song Friends? We’re More Like A Gang their singer announces that this sold-out crowd is a dream come true for him and his band mates. And clearly, if they keep doing what they’re doing now, these dreams will keep coming true for a while yet!

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