Being the music hub for new bands in Southampton, England I approached the line-up at the Joiners Arms with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. This was to be my first live gig experience in several years, and I wasn't sure what to expect. As Lindsay (Soul Shine's caffeine-induced and proud-of-it Editor) and I settled in to catch one of the bands begin their set, we were initially confused as to who they were exactly. However, their anonymity soon faded, as they launched into the racy, catchy rock anthem, 'James Bondage.' Thus, our introduction to Surfless was initiated.
Immediately entranced by the rocky, frenetic set list, the Portsmouth-based rock band pleased the small, yet enthusiastic crowd. The gig will hopefully prove to be a massive profile booster for both Surfless and Careless, and as word of mouth spreads across the country, future gigs will undoubtedly be eagerly awaited by both band's growing legions of fans.
The set list combined both snappy lyrics and skilful instrumentation on such songs as 'Barbie Killer' and 'Build Your Own Deathstar.' Rounding out their slot were the rousing 'Cracking Up' and the funky 'Murder She Wrote.' The band's stage presence was amazing, perfectly controlled, not surprising considering lead vocalist Phil Stoker's background in theatre. His frequent forays into the crowd drew appreciative cheers, even more so when he handed out stacks of free CD's after the set.
Taking the initiative, Lindsay tried to coax me into conducting an interview with the band, and after some persuading, I relented. I went to Joiners completely unprepared for a journalist mode, and my 'interview' with band members Kev, Pete, Chris, Ben and Phil consisted of some hastily put together questions, complete with some illegibly scribbled notes on a piece of paper purloined from the bar. Hopefully my naivety didn't show that much, as by the end of the conversation, I became a fan of Surfless.
Unlike Surfless, I had some advance warning with Careless's brash, unapologetic style. Their promotional demo CD carries the cheeky 'Doctor Mick' and the charismatic 'Evening Star' and 'Rock N' Roll.' Fronted by lead vocalist Jamie Careless, the band's set proved to be just as provocative as their studio recordings. Burning with a raw, excited energy, the band filed off obvious crowd favourites such as 'All the Way,' 'Chelsea Park,' and the melodic 'Release.'
Having been bullied into diving into the interview pool at the deep end already, I managed to score another interview, this time with Careless front man, Jamie. Settling into the dingy downstairs 'dressing room' Jamie proved generous enough in his answers to what must have seemed like dumb questions on my part. Like the revelatory Surfless, Careless are also brimming with talent and enthusiasm, and I'm certain that these guys will go very far.
Info on future Surfless gigs can be found on their website at: www.surfless.co.uk.
Info on future Careless gigs can be found on their website at www.careless.biz.
Writer: Steve Bromby