Jumping Ships / Gunning For Tamar @ Avondale House, Southampton 22.03.12

Free gigs are rarely anything more than a couple of local bands put together by a university student trying their hand at some promotion work. But at Avondale House in Southampton on Friday night, gig-goers were gifted with four quality bands from around England playing for the princely sum of nothing at all.

Mar 22nd, 2012 at Avondale House, Southampton / By Mikey Rush
Jumping Ships / Gunning For Tamar @ Avondale House, Southampton 22.03.12 Crackerdummy take the stage and instantly launch into a set of pub rock that whilst perfectly nice, doesn’t captivate in any way, being rewarded with gentle ripples after each track. Fairing slightly better are I Am Forever who’s newly released single ‘Only Stars Can See’ is already getting plays on Scuzz and XFM and you can see why. An anthemic chorus behind ground shaking drums and talented vocals. Although they sound slightly dated in an era of truly technical bands I am Forever can still keep an audience entertained with a relatively basic set up.

The BBC backed Gunning For Tamar (pictured) have had airplay on XFM and BBC6 as well as being recently featured in BBCIntroducing and being picked for a track of the week by NME. So with so many eyes on them how do they stack up live? Well they’re almost identical to their recorded versions, and that’s no bad thing. There’s a tightness and precision live that can only be attained by a group of guys who like each other and love doing what they do. It shines through in the show as they look genuinely pleased to be playing, even with the price on the door being non existent. It’s a great sight and it’s infectious to the crowd who treat them warmly. It’s hard to believe that they’ve only just released their debut EP as they play well beyond their years.

Talking of EPs, Jumping Ships have their second out already in the form of Standard Bearer and after an extensive tour with LightGuides they’re back on the road. The Brighton based indie rockers start pedalling their infectious brand of jaunty indie rock laden with ballsy sing-a-long moments for those in the know. Their mix of pop vocal and good ol’ rock music but with tinges of more technical electricity strike a chord with the crowd. Probably converting more than their fair share of new admirers from the night’s crowd. Live they’re a lot rockier than on the EPs, it’s to be expected to some degree but it’s in the way they play as well. You’d expect them to be awkward shoegazer style practitioners with guitars hiked up to their nipples but they look calm, relaxed and like they’ve got all the time in the world to have as much fun on stage as possible.

RPS Shows have put on a great night of music and when it’s all for free as well it’s hard to complain. Showcasing some new artists from around the south of England is never a bad thing, especially as soon you’ll be able to tell your mates ‘‘I saw them when they were still playing shows for free’’.