Review – Only the Poets, The Joiners, Southampton, November 1 2023

Review – Only the Poets, The Joiners, Southampton, November 1 2023

By Chris Richards. 

It’s the last night of their UK tour and you can feel it. Their pride, excitement and elated exhaustion pours into the crowd and lifts them. Literally, we were all jumping like loons in the end. This is truly significant for me as I walked into the narrow door of The Joiners without having any idea what to expect other than a guitar band. 

Apparently I’ve been living under a rock. Only The Poets took the BBC Introducing stage by storm at Reading and Leeds, toured America and Europe, and in that room tonight, packed with adoring fans, absolutely proved their talent and gave a glimmer of longevity and stardom they will very soon earn.

The night opened with Tom Millichamp. A fantastic performer brought in at the last minute and, to me, looked like the Second Coming of Elvis. With a baseball cap on. The stance, the tone of voice, the charisma… I tell you what, if I was 20 years younger, I know I’d believe I’d found love. I was a sucker for a musician back then. Remember the name, Tom Millichamp. It’ll definitely be one to look out for in future. 

Also supporting was Alfie Jukes. Just him and a guitar… and a talented young woman to play the guitar, of course. Jukes seems to be in the period of ‘finding’ his style. His influences shine out in his performance (Harry Styles) to the point of distraction. He had a great voice and his songs were good. I felt a void where the magnetism should have been.

As the night matured so too, did the audience. From an average of around 15 years old up to about perhaps 25? The average dragged up by a few aged outliers (me and my plus one and perhaps some doting parents.) OTP entered the stage in blackness under a bass note that vibrated every chest cavity in the building. Every girls’ voice was raised to sing back every chorus of every song. The boys may have done too but honestly I was deafened by the … enthusiastic idolation. Having said that, I felt the connection the band inspired with us in the audience. I walked in ignorant but curious and left a confirmed fan. I even bought a tote bag. I look forward to seeing what comes next and catching them on their probable, possible, hopeful return to Southampton next year.


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