Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images Move out of the way because Beyonce is playing…
- Posted on Jul 20th 2010 8:45AM by Emily Kendrick
Capacity: A cosy 200
Come to See: The Joiners Arms, to give the venue its full name, plays host to a range of relatively up and coming acts, all seeking to climb the stairway to chart heaven and summer festival billings. These come in all shapes and sizes and, indeed, styles, though mostly favouring rock and indie. As a fairly modestly sized space, The Joiners boasts the potential for seeing, in intimate surroundings, the groups that could be selling out arenas a few years down the line. Booking primarily touring bands, the venue also introduces punters to some of the local scene's emerging talent in the support slots.
The Atmosphere: What the venue might lack in cosmetic niceties, it more than makes up for with its dark-walled charm and celebrated sound quality. In fact, former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft said one of his best-ever gigs with his erstwhile band was at the Joiners. More recently, Los Campesinos were touring their first album 'Hold on Now Youngster' when the enthusiastic sell-out Southampton crowd pogo-ed so much they sent the temperature in the room soaring to 34 degrees Celsius (a roasting 93 degrees Fahrenheit) according to the venue's wall mounted thermometer. Get the right combination of crowd and artist in this place and it feels like magic really can happen. Albeit sometimes rather sweaty magic.
You Saw Them Here First: When Spinner asks promoter Chris Stemp to pick the most famous sons (or daughters) to have graced the Joiners, he was a bit stumped, telling us, "Hmm a toughie ... maybe Coldplay, Radiohead, Oasis -- too hard to pick!" Well, we can see why. As well as those three leviathans of music, the walls of the venue's bar also tell the story of popular music for the past three decades: promotional posters for the fresh-faced Libertines sitting comfortably alongside the Charlatans, with Suede rubbing paper shoulders with Manic Street Preachers and PJ Harvey. With a reputation for eyeing up the-next-big-thing, it's easy to see why the Joiners occasionally sees queues of up to 600 hopeful punters lining St Mary's Street praying to be one of the lucky 200 allowed in.
Claim to Fame: The Joiners may well be one of the oldest venues on the south coast and was formerly a jazz club back in the late 1960s. The back room became an official gig spot in 1988 but, despite a few makeovers, there is no backstage area, so fans and bands are forced to mingle together after the show. The walls of the underground dressing room meanwhile are decorated in graffiti, as all acts using the facility are invited to leave their scrawls. This is also the place where it is rumoured the Manic Street Preachers signed their first record deal.
You Should Also Know: The Joiners' promoters also put on some of Southampton's best band nights elsewhere, including venues Unit and Talking Heads. The Joiners itself appears to remain as one of the only places left where £5 ($7.50) gets you a gig ticket.
Booking Now: Frankie and the Heartstrings, 65 Days of Static, I Am Arrows, Kid Adrift, Cherry Ghost and Akala.