Live Review: Shit Present / Prawn / The Flatliners @ The Joiners, Southampton - 13/09/17

Written by Maddy Howell

It's rare that international bands venture to Southampton, it's even rarer they return so frequently. However, for Canada's The Flatliners it seems as if the often forgotten town has become somewhat of a second home, as the band’s latest UK tour sees them passing through for the third time in as many years.

Gifted with the task of warming up the scattered crowd is Exeter indie-punk quartet, Shit Present, unfamiliar to most gathered in the room. From the off-set the band make clear they’re on a mission to win over hearts, as they rattle through eclectic choruses and jovial chords in an almost back-to-back formation. With the combined effects of Iona Cairns’ compelling vocals and Thom Weeks’ relentless guitar work, Shit Present prove a seemingly unstoppable force until the moment their set draws to a close with a clapping seal of approval from the room.

As the lights drop once more and a hazy glow looms over the room, New Jersey’s Prawn make their way onstage. With no holds barred, the experimental indie outfit launch into a dynamic display of their math-rock/emo blend. With the release of their third album, 'Run', still relatively fresh, the quartet strike a perfect balance between material old and new, with tracks such as Greyhound and Hunter offering a chance to absorb the latest model of their sound.

Hypnotising the room with their intricate instrumental sections, Prawn are well acquainted with balancing the softer and harsher elements of their sound. Throughout the mesmerising display of delicate, twinkly notes and rattling, mathy hooks, passion radiates from the stage, as frontman Tony Clark’s entrancing vocals maintain an eagerly engaged audience. Closing on 2014 track, Why You Always Leave A Note, it’s abundantly clear that Prawn haven’t quite hit the level of success they are worthy of just yet, but the scattered singalongs and nods of those less familiar suggest hopeful signs of change.

With a room fully energised and anticipating their arrival, Ontario’s The Flatliners are greeted by an impassioned and animated audience. Having unleashed their fifth studio album on the world since their last visit to this city six months ago, the opening chords of Hang My Head prove that with this new musical direction comes no sign of slowing down. Frontman Chris Cresswell’s cries of: “Cause all my friends are nervous wrecks,” are echoed back at him in a stumbling chorus, as the elevated energy infuses its way into the floor below.

Having been relentlessly touring since their inception, the Canadian quartet are a quintessential example of just how experience and passion can meld into perfection. With an awe-inspiring ability to capture their audience, tracks such as Eulogy and Human Party Trick prove The Flatliners as the epitome of punk rock spirit, with the former striking an emotive chord within the singing cluster below.

Crowd favourite, Resuscitation of the Year forms a breeding ground for singalongs before quickly bleeding into 2013 track, Bury Me. The effervescence that fills the room never falters nor fades, with tracks such as Count Your Bruises and Unconditional Love ensuring that not one set of feet keep their place on the ground.

With sweat drenched faces and shuffling shoes all around him, Cresswell is a blur of charisma, bringing the crowd to his feet for Here Comes Treble, with fans lapping up the opportunity to hear the band’s earlier works. As the set draws to a close, 2013 track, Caskets Full, offers a final outlet for the rage infested bouncing and mosh pits, before Wedding Speech lulls toward an end in an idyllic singalong fashion.

With their relentless touring and ability to captivate audiences wherever they roam, it’s The Flatliners’ passion and charisma that prove their live shows as such triumphant occasions. Having spent fifteen years honing their craft and perfecting their performance, it seems that the Canadian quartet have built themselves into an insurmountable presence, with absolutely no sign of slowing down or being forgotten.