Imperial Leisure returned to Southampton Joiners on Saturday and they put in a performance that showed why they’re one of the most popular festival bands on the circuit with a show that got the whole crowd pumping.
First up were Portsmouth rave-rockers Seething Akira. An odd choice as IL support. Musically, they were OK but the rock riffs at 8pm on a Saturday night weren’t doing it for me. On another night I might be dancing my socks off. Not tonight though, sorry.
Fast forward through the next band (apologies to them – they were a bit mod-like and I just couldn’t work out if I loved or hated the singer’s voice) and welcome Cut Corners to the stage. The crowd had been eager to get dancing and the minute they burst onto the stage, everybody seemed to wake up. The band were clearly enjoying themselves and gave a polished performance (I totally love the double drummer bits). Cut Corners are getting stronger and stronger with each gig, they’re growing in confidence and getting tighter all the time. There are a few anthems in there waiting to be belted out across festival fields. Alex’s voice is unique, it’s powerful and makes people look up and listen. The more I see them, the more I am confident they have what it takes to cut it. Unfortunately tonight, their set was cut a couple of songs short, meaning their bouncy set closer was missing. They sure as hell gained a few new fans tonight though.
Karl Philips and The Midnight Ramblers were next up, and I was sure the majority of the crowd were not prepared for what they were about to receive, but they certainly weren’t disappointed. Karl Philips and his band were clearly enjoying every second of being in Southampton and before the end of the first song, it was clear Southampton were clearly enjoying them being here too.
It’s difficult to describe what they sound like, as they mix genres – everything from rap to dubstep to ska was all here. They started off with a song about getting “smashed out your face” before quickly bounding through songs from subjects ranging from drugs to drink and even one about‘loving your grandma’. Lyrically, Karl Philips is a bit of a genius – his songs shouldn’t be taken too seriously though, they’re all about enjoying life and having a laugh. The recent single, “Dangerous”, a token dubstep number, saw plenty of dancing from the crowd, including one young kid in a blue shirt who had suddenly decided he was the best dancer. Ever. Fair play that man. They ended with ‘Pink Champagne’, a ska number that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the Imperial Leisure setlist. It got enough people skanking and perfectly warmed up for a sweaty finale with Denis Smith and his IL gang. A huge mention must go to the bass player. Great dance moves and facial expressions that us all smile and laugh throughout.
There was plenty of crowd interaction and sing-alongs throughout, but the biggest response was for the sing-along chant of “I’m In Love With The Landlords Daughter” (luckily for Denis, Pat the landlord wasn’t about tonight!). There was a scramble when Denis changed his shirt and threw his sweaty one into the crowd – one lucky girl had the biggest grin on her face…until she smelt it that was!
With their enthusiastic energy, trumpets, trombones and ska tones, Imperial Leisure brought a fine festival feel to the evening, with a great vibe about the place. There was no pretentiousness (as there often can be at live gigs in Southampton) and everybody clearly just wanted to have a great time. They’ll be playing various festivals over the summer, including our favourite, Blissfields, where you can buy tickets here.