LIVE REVIEW: Lost Society, North Atlas, The Joiners, Southampton, 17/10/2023
Photo Credit: Kevin O’Sullivan
Crammed into the back of the buzzing and deceptively large pub of The Joiners in Southampton is a hidden gem: one of those sweaty little back rooms that plays host to countless up-and-coming bands. Tuesday 17th October 2023 was no different, with Finnish metallers Lost Society taking to the stage on the first show of twenty-nine, with Scottish metallers North Atlas supporting, ready to rock the rowdy crowd.
With the doors sealed for sound check right up until stage time, there was a slight air of unease among those assembled in the bar; would time be cut? Unfounded, as it turns out – the doors may have opened barely ten minutes shy, sure, but more than enough time for the patrons to rush in and approach the stage. Just in time for North Atlas too, as it turns out, who wasted no time in diving right into their energetic brand of rock-come-metal, vocalist Leon Hunter’s distorted shouts fighting with drummer (and brother) Cam Hunter’s pounding rhythm for supremacy — but what’s life without some nice and screamy sibling rivalry?
Completed by Michael Hall and Arran Tarvet on bass and guitar respectively, the four fired through seven songs, flitting between furiously fast paced, thuddingly dark and just a hell of a lot of fun — particularly Seer, with the full band bar Leon taking on drumming duties to create a discordant but oddly hypnotic rhythm that entranced the crowd — and the set seemed to fly by. And, although the Southampton crowd might not have given them a hell of a lot to work with, the four were all smiles, enjoying the chance to play to a brand-new crowd and hopefully wow them; but with songs like Midnight Sun, House Of Mirrors and particularly the afore-mentioned Seer how could they not?
Ending on the surprisingly-slow-given-the-na
Having last played the UK last year in support of fellow Finland metal-heads (and Eurovision favourites) Blind Channel, the night marked the UK’s first chance at seeing them since the release of their fifth studio album, If The Sky Came Down. With the lights going down, and the inimitable voice of Keith Flint regaling the crowd with a bass heavy rendition of Firestarter, electronic music blared over the venue the room was thrown into abstract chaos — until, finally Lost Society took to the stage. Launching straight into 112, Samy Elbanna’s studded jacket sparkling in the spotlights, it was time for Southampton to ‘wake the fuck up’ — though from the sheer velocity of heads being thrown, it’s a hell of a lot more likely that people were knocked out than asleep! Underneath and Riot followed in quick succession, the latter of which saw a short-lived pit take over the sticky floor bedecked in front of them, as the band, seeming determined not to waste any second of their first UK headline show since before Covid, refused to give even a moment of respite.
Recent title track If The Sky Came Down came up next, full of squealing guitars and the eponymous rhetorical chorus; yet any worries about the absence of some of the bands’ more thrash-inspired influences on the new album are quickly proven unfounded, with (We Are The) Braindead seeming to bridge that gap between the new and the old. Elsewhere, Awake seemed like some chimeric blend between symphonic and industrial metal; What Have I Done served as a page ripped straight out of metalcore textbooks; Outbreak (No Rest For The Sickest) felt almost Slipknottian in its growls; and recent album closer and almost obligatory ballad-ish Suffering, with phone flashlights swaying in the air, was an electronically bass heavy, piano led number that left Samy all alone at the front of the stage, baring his soft vocals for the crowd.
It was the old that seemed to really bring the crowd to life, however. As 2013’s distinctly thrashy, hardcore number Kill (Those Who Oppose Me) kicked in, the crowd seemed to come to life, headbangs and circle pits starting in earnest; the equally short-lived but equally beloved N.W.L following straight after, the crowd loving every second. These oldies were few and far between however, the band understandably focussing on their newer material.
In the end, though, it was the final three tracks that helped round off the excellent night. First off, Into Eternity was nothing short of epic. Feeling like the band’s Nothing Else Matters, soft guitar fluttered delicately between strings and the slow clash of drums, with Elbanna’s vocals both an undercurrent and a soaring crescendo. Then, penultimate number No Absolution came up — fast paced and frantic, seeming almost the antithesis to its predecessor. And, finally, Stitches. Sounding like the European cousin of Bullet For My Valentine, the crowd took to this final track like a lifeline, as if suddenly realising that that would be their final opportunity to move — so they did. With hair shooting fourth like whips, the crowd and the bands liked seemed to revel in this last chance to enjoy themselves — and everyone was all smiles.
And with that, the first night of the band’s twenty-nine date tour — nine headline in the UK, twenty-one supporting Amorphis over the rest of Europe — came to a close. The Finnish quartet may have a long few weeks ahead of them, but if Southampton was any indication, it should be a hell of a lot of fun. 7/10
Written By: James O’Sullivan