Review: The Stage at The Greedy Flea, featuring The Guillotine Union Boys, The Mercantile Flea, July 15, 2023

Review: The Stage at The Greedy Flea, featuring The Guillotine Union Boys, The Mercantile Flea, July 15, 2023

by Joy McKay.

It’s half past six on a Saturday evening and I’m in a supermarket, Nothing unusual in that, except I’m not. I’m at The Greedy Flea, the bar/ coffee lounge at The Mercantile Flea, a relative newcomer to the Southampton music scene. The Flea opened in 2021 in what is the former Morrisons, and later Sainsbury’s, building on West End Road in the centre of Bitterne. The building’s original use is obvious and entirely unapologetic. 

The main part of The Flea is open seven days a week and operates as a traditional indoor flea market but with a single point of sale. There are such a wonderful range of stallholders selling new, vintage and handmade items you can be guaranteed to find something you would like and is fantastic for presents. They range from (but are not limited to) antique furniture, vintage clothing, a record shop, second hand garden supplies, pre-loved books, new Japanalia and even a hairdresser. Situated just inside the entrance is the cosy and inviting Greedy Flea. During normal store opening hours they offer teas, coffees, and a great selection of (often vegan) cake. But several times a month they open in the evening to welcome artists onto their stage. This includes regular sets from local legend DJ Hammy but tonight it’s live acts curated by promotor Charlie Smith. 

First up were Brandon and Tony, a relatively new duo performing the original work of songwriter and guitarist Brandon Cooke. Stating influences from Nirvana to Cthulu they were professional and well-rehearsed. Definitely an interesting duo to keep an eye on. Next up were Silver Mon and The Dickensions both featuring Monika Domone Ged Deignan playing a prog, rock, folk, mash-up on guitar and harmonica. 

The second half of the ending was opened by Roger Chantler a familiar face on the local music scene for many years, warming up the crowd ready for headliners The Guillotine Union Boys (pictured). Bo Gallows and The Reverend Sam first met just over a year ago when they were performing solo sets at a live acoustic night, also hosted by Charlie, and enjoyed each-others music so much they decided to try working together. They have been building their repertoire over this time performing regularly at open mic nights. And the dedication to their craft shows, having become real crowd pleasers. You can hear The Boys play all manner of guitars in addition to mandolin and banjo creating a foot stomping hullballoo. Putting their own unique twist on anything from spiritual standards and folk classics through to modern bluegrass their message is strong; stir it up, join a union, work together to make things better. Their performance ended the night on a high with the audience showing their appreciation by making noise with feet, hands and voice. 

This event featured a diverse range of music and artists from the established to the recently formed. The environment is comfortable with excellent public transport links immediately outside to all areas on the city but also plenty of nearby parking space. The Mercantile Flea is worth a trip both for the daytime shopping (maybe followed by a recuperative coffee and cake) but also to support this unique venue offering the city’s many talented musicians more space to share their flair. 

The Mercantile Flea is open 10-5 six days a week and 10-4 on Sundays. You can find out about DJ Hammy’s scheduled performances here and Charlie Smith’s monthly takeover of the stage here.


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