Review: Craig David at The 1865, Southampton

Review: Craig David at The 1865, Southampton

words and pictures by Rob Davis.

“They’re likely to sell out quickly” said the In Common article and Twitter announcement about tickets to see Craig David perform at Southampton’s The 1865 on 1 October as an ‘outstore’ event from record store Vinilo.

That was motivation enough for me to try get a ticket straight after reading and, luckily enough I succeeded. 

Lucky indeed because the tickets did indeed sell out, great tip In Common! And on arriving at the 1865, my first time here, that was evident! The main audience area was full, bars busy taking orders and people lined the balcony area overlooking. I felt really heart-warmed that an artist nurtured in Southampton is so warmly received again at the ongoing heights of their career.

As I arrived at around 830pm, Southampton DJ Flash, one of several long time associates of Craig and also his tour DJ, was already warming up the crowd with R & B and UK Garage tunes. Next to him, Craig’s TS5 branding could be seen around his DJ kit providing the music and sounds for his solo presence on stage to follow.

Then,  just before 930pm, Craig arrived on stage, very excitedly received by the crowd, opening with When The Bassline Drops followed by Fill Me In. Sometimes performers start with their newest material  (Craig has just released a new album, 22) leaving familiar tunes towards a finale. So I liked how he changed that around. What a great way to start as you mean to go on, with that energy. 

The audience was multi-generational . Mums and dads who clubbed to Craig’s earlier tunes. Younger audience go-ers perhaps not yet around at the time when Fill Me In came out, appreciating that and his newer stuff. Everyone singing along. A family vibe which Craig recognised himself talking to the audience, further on into the set. As an ordinary ticket holder, I was lucky to find a spot near the stage from the balcony to take these pictures. This was next to a VIP area, where I saw that Craig’s Mum and Dad and relatives had come to watch him. A family event indeed!

Further hit songs performed by Craig, including Re-rewind, 7-days, Walking away, No Drama, Nothing like this as a cappellas and to the backing tracks from his DJ rig, which he livelily attended to between engaging with the audience in the main area and those on the balcony along one side of the venue. His collaboration with band Bastille and “I know you” also a notable performance, with the catchy hook “But we’re all stumbling through the night. It doesn’t matter, we’re all together”, enthusiaticaly sung along to.  Newer tracks such as DNA from his new 22 album also well received by the audience, singing along as if it had been out for much longer. 

Southampton has made notable contributions to the UK Garage scene, with Craig and his collaborators Artful Dodger who then produced Moving Too Fast with London-based Romina Johnson. Also Dennis G (relative of Tyrone) and the Wideboys with Sambuca. I remember these Southampton related tracks were all over the playlist of London radio station Kiss 100 FM around the turn of the new millennium. Rubbing shoulders with other popular UK garage tracks like Sweet Female Attitude with Flowers among those which Craig paid homage to by performing to in this set at the 1865. Several well known club and  R&B tracks from other artists were also performed too – like Beyonce and Robin S – demonstrating Craig’s versatility to evolve with the genres, as his material in the new 22 album reflects. 

So now in 2022 it seems we’ve come full circle with that past and ongoing success from Craig, with the launch of his latest new album, 22 coinciding with this tour. Let’s hope we see him again in Southampton, our music scene and venues seem to be thriving again and to new levels and I’m sure he’ll be warmly received again.

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