Saltwater Sun @ Heartbreakers, Southampton – 09/03/2019 | Live Review

Saltwater Sun Put Themselves On the Map in Southampton

Standing in a sweaty venue at 9:30 waiting for the first band, on a Saturday night with the rain pouring outside, you might start to ask yourself some questions. Questions like: ‘Shouldn’t I be sat at home with a cup of tea waiting for Match of the Day to start?’, for instance. As it turns out, the answer would be a resounding ‘no’. 11:30 set time? Saltwater Sun are worth it.

The Performance

First off, the support acts impress. South Coast natives Crystal Tides are on first, and they sit very much in the Catfish strain of indie. Growing in stature throughout their set, it’s a solid performance, with ‘Lifeline’ a highlight. Brighton’s Belles follow, and straight from the off their indie pop had just enough grit and edge to set the stage appropriately for the main act.

We’re treated to a mix of songs – both those available on Spotify and those not. ‘Trying’ falls in the latter category, but it’s nonetheless a killer introduction. Every so often, vocalist Jennifer Stearns peppers the performance with words to the audience. She explains that she’s been unwell and her voice has been affected, but it’s not something you’d pick up on had she not mentioned it. Like the rest of the band, Stearns is on fine form.

Whereas the five-piece have a sound akin to Black Honey or Anteros in the studio, they pack a more ferocious punch live. Stearns doesn’t shy away from screaming at times, while there’s more raw fury in the instrumental accompaniment. If their studio sound is Black Honey, their live sound sits more alongside Dream Wife and even Marmozets.

As their most recent release, ‘Blood’ is a track fans are no doubt familiar with. Fitting the personal nature of the song, it’s clear the band are putting every energy into their performance throughout. For ‘Blood’ and the following tracks, they are at their strongest. ‘The Wire’ is a perfect end to proceedings, as the band and the crowd bounce relentless energy off each other.  While it’s a wholly enjoyable show throughout, it’s in their final songs that they well and truly announce themselves as a band to keep a firm eye on.

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