Review: Soul Asylum and Everclear at The 1865, Southampton

Review: Soul Asylum and Everclear at The 1865, Southampton

words and pictures by Peter Nicholson.

It’s always great to be able to photograph a band whose music I grew up with. This was the case on Tuesday night (8 November) when I headed to The 1865 in Southampton to see Soul Asylum.

Although the band originally formed in the early 1980s, and released three albums during that decade, it wasn’t until 1992 that they achieved more of a mainstream presence. This was thanks to the album “Grave Dancers Union”. The album, featuring one of their best-known tracks “Runaway Train”, which went triple platinum! Following this success, the band even appeared at Bill Clinton’s Presidential inauguration, and released another multi-platinum album three years later.

Soul Asylum could definitely be described as a band that had been round the block a few times, so, with an impressive back catalogue to call on, I was keen to see them for the first time. The 1865 is another of my favourite Southampton venues. It’s big enough to attract great bands to the city, but small enough to give the audience an up close and personal gig.

Evercleaer. Photos: Peter Nicholson –

The support band, Everclear, obviously had a huge following at the venue, and you could have been forgiven for thinking the headline act were already on stage when the audience started singing along and shouting requests! Here was another American band who cut their teeth in the 1990s. I loved the grunge era of the 90s and read that they could be described as a Grunge band. However, I also read that when Art Alexakis (the band’s front man) heard they were being labelled as a grunge band, he was quoted as saying: “I don’t think we really sound like a grunge group. Those people really haven’t listened to the records. They hear “Heroin Girl” and go, ‘Oh, they’re a punk band. Oh, the lead singer has blond hair, they’re from the Northwest, they must sound like Nirvana – they’re Nirvana!’ I don’t give a sh**. That’s like looking at some old English lady and calling her the queen.” All very good points, and the variation from the band proved it. Art is now 60 years old, but as he said at the gig, “Age doesn’t matter, it just means I’ve been able to hang out with my buddies and play rock-n-roll even longer”. This was reassuring to me, as I’m not that far behind him in years!


Then it was time for the main act. With the most casual of strolls onto the stage, the band were met with huge cheers from an expectant crowd. With a smile and a nod to the drummer from front man Dave Pirner, Soul Asylum burst into action. The energy was undeniable. Despite having played countless gigs over the years they had the energy and enthusiasm of a band playing their first gig that wasn’t in a pub. They were clearly enjoying every minute. 

For me, as a gig photographer, it was so much fun to be shooting this show. A couple of other photographers I knew were, like me, enjoying the challenge of capturing this frenetic start. We only get to shoot the first three songs of most shows, so we have to make sure we get images of how we feel the gig played as quickly as possible. I enjoyed it so much! Being right in front of such a great band was electric. I think Ryan Smith (guitar) spent as much time in the air as he did on the stage for the first two songs. Jumping with arms swinging like Pete Townsend (showing my age again), he was the complete rock star.

This was a great start to the UK leg of the tour to celebrate the release of the remastered version of Grave Dancers Union. There are still a few dates to go on the Tour, so if you get the chance, go!

Credit to both bands for such an engaging show. To sum it up in a few words: They’ve definitely still got it!!




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