Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Hot Mulligan, Arms Length, The Joiners, Southampton, 28/04/2023

Photo Credit: Shiona Walker (24th April 2023 – G2, Glasgow)

As part of The Joiners, 55th anniversary celebrations, emo pop-punk outfit Hot Milligan were there to perform a sold-out show ahead of the release of their new album Why Would I Watch.

Opening up the show were Canadian emo quartet Arms Length who were performing in the UK for the first time during this tour. With a supportive following in the crowd who were singing along as soon as opener Overture began, it was clear a number in the crowd were here for Arms Length. Showcasing material from their debut album Never Before Seen, Never Again Found such as Tough Love alongside earlier tracks including beautiful, ballad Watercolour where the guitar work of the band was highlighted and it was a crash course in why everyone should check out Arms Length. Closing with angsty Garamond, those who might not have previously heard the band live before were soon chanting back, “I will bend over backwards to keep what you’ve got here intact”. Unfortunately, despite the fans within the audience the crowd, energy was lacking as the band constantly asked for crowd surfers and more involvement which was not received. But this didn’t stop the quartet having a great time onstage and no doubt they’ll be back in the UK sooner rather than later. 8/10

As the temperature in the Joiners continued to rise, by the time Hot Mulligan came on there definitely wasn’t a single person in the room who wasn’t warmed up and ready to absolutely lose it for the band’s headline set. Opening with Drink Milk and Run, the crowd came alive and finally we were seeing them moving along from front to back of the venue. Performing a double whammy of recently released tracks Shhh! Golf Is On and Gans Media Retro Games, it was a taste of the pure pop-punk energy which their forthcoming album Why Would I Watch looks set to involve. It was here that Nathan ‘Tades’ Sanville took no time in getting to know the crowd in the up close and personal surroundings even joking ‘I can smell you!’ to those friendly faces down the front.

It didn’t take long for the crowd surfers to embrace the command and make their way across the crowd, to the stage and back off again. Digging In and I Fell In Love With Princess Peach flaunted bold, singalong choruses which at times meant the enthusiastic crowd were overpowering the vocals from the stage as fans shouted for the sound engineer to sort it out for those towards the back – we can confirm they listened. The full-on setlist meant it unfortunately felt like the show lacked crowd interaction, but given this was the last date of the tour and also the heat of the venue we let it slide as when Sanville did address the crowd it was with insights including “I can feel beads of sweat dripping down my inner thighs” as fans talked back about their own sweaty experiences which made this feel like a group of mates having a casual chat not in the middle of a packed-out show.

After a setlist of strong pop-punk bangers, it was a delight to have a calmer moment come towards the end of the set with BCKYRD. It offered the most emotive, pure and memorable minutes of the night as it stood out for being entirely different to every other track the band had performed thus far. In a slightly unexpected end to the night, a crowd led closer of How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells? saw a perfect acapella moment unfolding as all their instruments were turned off. It was slick, it was fun and it was everything these intimate shows are about at venues like the Joiners. With smiles firmly on their faces, it was clear that on the final date of their UK tour Hot Mulligan had absolutely loved every moment as did those lucky enough to get tickets. 8/10

Missed out on Hot Mulligan this time around? Well thankfully they’re coming back with Spanish Love Songs in September so don’t miss out second time around! Find out all the details HERE.

Written By: Nicola Craig

Photos By: Shiona Walker

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