The Joiners, Southampton
I first heard Ryan Hamilton’s exuberant ‘Strength in Numbers’ on Little Steven’s Underground Garage and was sad to miss the Aug 2017 tour, so the opportunity to catch him so soon after was too good to miss. This was my first visit to the Joiners, and my word it’s small. It claims a 200 capacity but that must surely include the bar – the stage depth is about the same as the distance to the desk. This turned out to be a blessing since the gig was only sparsely attended, and support the Main Grains (think of the Ramones with Geordie accents) appeared to have brought their own fan club with them. No matter; RHatT took the stage in good humour and referred to the cosy atmosphere frequently. Ryan himself got plenty of opportunities to banter with the crowd since his Gretsch needed retuning every other song. The guitarist’s Bowie T-shirt prompted a good-natured debate about pronunciation, which in turn led to an improvised song with a working chorus of ‘David Bowie and ZZ Top’. But the music’s what we’re there for, and it doesn’t disappoint; his brand of Texan power pop is irresistible, and the tunes come thick and fast. I’m no connoisseur of Tom Petty but the influence is undeniable, confirmed by a cover of ‘Won’t Back Down’ and also a very sweet anecdote about the man himself. All too soon it’s over; there’s no encore (or anywhere backstage to retreat to) and we head home.
Thankfully a fuckwit-free zone; predominantly middle-aged with black T-shirts the order of the day. It helps when everyone has enough space, and with only about 50 of us there that was never going to be an issue. The photographer could moonlight as a body double for Sven-Göran Eriksson if a vacancy existed.
It made me think..
Gretsch make some very cool guitars but you’d think by now they could make one that stays in tune. Good to see the guitarist using a Gordon-Smith though. This was the penultimate date, and the London gig will be over by the time you read this. If this sounds like your sort of thing, give ‘the Devil’s in the Detail’ a whirl and let’s hope they visit again soon.