Arcade Hearts @ The Joiners, Southampton – 23/02/2019 | Live Review

Arcade Hearts Back With a Bang in Southampton

It could have been a gig taking place in 2006, on a bill with Klaxons and The Sunshine Underground. Arcade Hearts’ accessible electronic indie may be strikingly reminiscent of the transient new rave moment, but their live show owes a lot to the contemporary 1975-esque pop that has captured the imagination of so many over the last few years.

Before Arcade Hearts make an appearance, we are treated to local talent in the form of Tom Millichamp and BASH!. Millichamp’s indie pop, and cover of ‘Brazil’, suggest a strong Declan McKenna influence. His soulful voice hints at the evident potential there, as he seems at home on The Joiners’ stage. Meanwhile, the quirky pop of BASH! really catches the eye. Frontwoman Amanda Bashmakova sounds like an early Marina Diamandis, as she makes the stage her own. Therefore, the crowd instantly get behind them; singles ‘Lovely, Smart and Beautiful’ and ‘Wild’ get an erm, wild, reception.

Arcade Hearts have been quiet over the last few months, and seem to appreciate the crowd that have turned out to see them – a packed out Joiners. The retro synths of ‘Crawling’ are the first to make an appearance, vocalist Dan Surridge-Smith sounding every inch the assured indie frontman – though kitted out in a Dua Lipa T-shirt. By the second song – ‘Honey’, the audience are bouncing!.

Moreover, his interactions with the crowd proved to be entertaining. After updating us on the band’s recent exploits between songs, he comes out with “I’ve got to keep talking, because he’s just fixing something”, gesturing behind him, with the sort of down-to-earth, self-aware attitude that always goes down well.

It’s a short and sweet set;Arcade Hearts have one EP and a couple of singles in the public domain thus far. As a result, it leaves the crowd salivating and wanting more. ‘Different Place’, ‘Vanity’ and ‘Crawling’ are amongst the tracks played, with a couple of surprises thrown in. Upcoming single ‘Overgrown’ is one of the best parts of the night, as it progresses into explosive dance-punk. Perhaps a more adventurous direction for the South Coast lads?

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