Preview: Independent Venue Week 2015

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It’s a sad fact that local live music is on the decline. Pop giants dominate the charts, the music channels and the radio, and with the huge pool of bands and artists out there, it’s much harder for small bands to break through and stay successful. Countless small music venues in my hometown of Southampton have disappeared over the past few years, as clubs and bars dominate the city more so than ever before.

However, one tiny beacon of hope remains in a city where the local music scene is dwindling. The Joiners, located in St Marys, has been the cornerstone of live music in Southampton since its opening as a venue in 1968. It has been a starting place for countless bands that have since reached notable success, such as Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Radiohead, and Biffy Clyro, to name a few. In 2013, it was voted Britain’s best small venue by NME. The Joiners is a legacy that Southampton can be proud of.

Independent Venue Week 2015 is an appreciation of the great small venues the UK has to offer, and a celebration of local music. Funded by Arts Council England, the shows across the week will have coverage in national media, with this year’s curator, Colin Greenwood of Radiohead putting on a special show in his hometown of Oxford.

Local bands set to play on Thursday 29th January include the following:

Wild Smiles

Signed to Rob Da Bank’s record label, Sunday Best Recordings, Wild Smiles are flourishing in the local and national scene, having recently released their debut album ‘Always Tomorrow’. A three-piece from Winchester, their music is an alternative mix of surfer-grunge. With lively beats and smooth vocals reminiscent of the Beach Boys, they are certainly guaranteed to put on a great show.

Fever

Fever are a band that have been making waves in the Southampton music scene, with strong single Shell Shock showcasing the band’s strong vocals and thrashed-out grungy guitars. Having seen them live a couple of times, they are definitely worth your time.

Bel Esprit

A whirlwind of indie rock, combining angsty lyrics, ambitious drum beats, energetic bass and surging guitar parts – these guys are definitely ones to watch in 2015. Read my review of single Lose My Mind here.

Kid Ackley
 

Formerly known as The Harlequin, these guys have so far released some listenable indie-pop tracks, with interesting solos and thoughtful lyrics. Watch out for a memorable cover of Beatles classic Don’t Let Me Down in their live set.

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