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LIVE REVIEW: The Faim, Chapel, Halflives, The Joiners, Southampton, 25/01/2019

Last year, Aussie quartet The Faim released their debut EP Summer Is A Curse. After a line-up reshuffle, they’ve started off the new year with their debut UK headline tour, kicking off at a sold-out Southampton Joiners.

Opening the show was Halflives, and from the moment they took to the stage all eyes were on the pop-rock outfit. Performing tracks from their debut album Empty Rooms, which was released in 2017, vocalist Linda Battilani took the time out to give insights into tracks. Prior to Collide she told fans that it’s her favourite which probably explains why it became a standout moment of the set, starting off slowly before turning into a full pelt, heavy rock track. Gaining the support of the audience as an opener can be a challenge, but their unique sound which mixes clean vocals with big guitars made for a great start to the night. Performing tracks including latest single Fugitive and Burn it was clear that they were enjoying each moment on that stage, which in turn led to an even more enjoyable set for the audience to watch. 7/10

Next up was American duo Chapel. We’ll be honest, we weren’t quite sure what we were expecting from Carter Hardin and Kortney Grinwis, but what we were given exceeded every single expectation we’d set in our mind. Caught Up is just one example of their great songwriting skills, and when you throw in a near perfect live performance (which suited the small surroundings of The Joiners), it’s a true recipe for success. The duo were well received by the crowd, partially down to how fun they were onstage, from tackling the debate of whether black pudding is actually good or not (Southampton said no), to Carter singing into his water bottle thanks to the jet lag/drunk pairing. With a set made up of material from debut album Sunday Brunch, including We’ve Got Soul and Cindy White, they also threw in newer material including the quirky named Mushy Gushy. Yes, that’s an actual song and we found ourselves singing along after the first chorus thanks to how incredibly catchy it is. We’ll admit we definitely have a bit of friendship envy too, as Carter and Kortney are living every best friend’s dream; doing what they love and travelling in the process.  What we loved about Chapel was how real and relatable they were onstage; not worrying about having a ‘perfect’ set or fitting in, but instead having a great time which in turn won over the crowd (and us!) with ease. 8/10

With the venue well and truly packed, the audience were nicely warmed up for the arrival of The Faim, who hit the stage for the first night of their debut UK headline tour. Running onto the stage to a sea of cheers, we knew that this was going to be a night nobody would forget for a long time. Kicking off with debut single Saints Of The Sinners it was the perfect starting point, the reason many of these dedicated fans fell in love with the band in the first place. Vocalist Josh Raven is unsuitably dressed in a tight-fitting turtleneck, but this didn’t stop him from prowling across the stage, showing off some funky dance moves but also his powerful, intense vocal ability. From the minute the track kicked in there were smiles across the faces of both the audience and the band, who had high hopes which were undoubtedly going to be met.

Tonight was their first UK show of the year, providing the perfect opportunity to show off some of the material they have been working on with their new line-up. A great example of that was Beautiful Drama, the funky guitar driven track flaunted an emotive chorus which saw all of the quartet getting involved and pulling some shapes (we saw your moves, Stevie Beerkens! Don’t think hiding behind the keyboard works…). Another, albeit very different, example of the new music the band have been working on is new single Fire. Recently debuted online it’s a hard-hitting number, singing of being so driven towards a goal that sometimes other things get forgotten and left behind. Even in these two tracks we’re shown different sides of the quartet highlighting their versatility, but one thing both have in common is the catchiness, which resulted in the crowd picking up the lyrics and having a dance along with the band.

However the band made sure to deliver on fan favourites throughout the set, highlights of the night included the ferocious My Heart Needs To Breathe getting the floor bouncing with the heavy, fast-pace. The quartet take it up a notch when they perform the track live, making it faster, wilder and crazier than you could ever imagine. The crowd were definitely all in for this track and it might have stolen the crown for song of the night. Midland Line truly felt like the moment when everything clicked into place in the set. The quartet is a force to be reckoned with, complimenting each other’s musical talents from sincere vocals, driving drum lines, boppy guitar lines and a real feel-good sense whilst showing off their tight friendship. Here the crowd vocals were overpowering the bands, and you know what? We don’t think Josh minded being overshadowed by his backing band of the crowd!

But it wasn’t all fast-paced action, as the band took time throughout the night to thank the crowd for their support over the last eleven months, which have led The Faim to sold-out UK shows. Josh made it increasingly clear that the band are grateful for everyone being there for them every step of the way, it’s humbling to see just how much it means to them. We even got treated to a cover of the good old classic Wonderwall – would it really be a Joiners show without it? Stripping it back and getting up close with the crowd the band perform Where The River Runs. Speaking out previously about how music really is therapy, Josh took to the crowd as a circle formed around him. His vocals hit new emotive highs, causing goosebumps to form as each and every word sung was from the heart with a true sense of pain and suffering. It was real, it filled the tiny venue perfectly and taking a risk to strip it back shows there’s nothing gimmicky about The Faim, just sheer, raw talent. Another great example of this came with A Million Stars, captivating the crowd and lighting up the venue with the lights of a million (well not quite…) phones, creating a beautiful atmosphere and memorable part of the set.

Heading towards the end of the set there was no sign of slowing down, from the upbeat, crowd-pumping I Can Feel You which got everyone – and we mean everyone – singing along and jumping to the ceiling in order to rival Josh, to the heavier effort of new track Amelie. From just one listen it’s clear this fiery, bold and chaotic track is going to be a special set number. We loved seeing Sam Tye and Stevie sharing a little guitarist to guitarist moment whilst bouncing off the energy of the excited crowd.

As the set drew to a close, any chance of an encore was dismissed as the quartet wasted no precious time making it an all killer, no filler set. Closing on fan favourite Summer Is A Curse it was the last chance for every bit of energy, both on and offstage, to be used. It was hard to establish who was having more fun tonight, The Faim or their fans, as smiles were constantly fixed on everyone’s faces. If you never go to a The Faim show you’ll never know what you’re missing out on.  Ending the night by letting slip to the crowd that an album is coming this year, it looks like 2019 is going to be a great year for The Faim, and we can’t wait to watch it unfold.


Written By: Nicola Craig

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for the seaside, live music and writing about others instead of myself. Twitter: @nicolalalalar