I love my bunny!
What do you do when you are a talented, well respected, award winning (Purbeck Rising 2022) local musician who has built a following through hard work and strong, heartfelt songs? Sell out a headline show at one of Southampton’s most iconic venues of course. Rob Clamp sold out Joiners show – maybe not a phrase Clamp himself would have expected but sell it out he did and the room is buzzing long before he takes to the stage. We get support from Spank Bang who are all youth and harmonies and the self-deprecating but clearly born for these kind of stages Calum Lintott. They both do a fine job and by the time Lintott leaves us with the fabulous It’s Easy To Do the Unexpected we are ready for Rob.
I was fortunate to spend some time talking music with Rob the week before this show. We talked about the difficulties for those musicians bubbling under the surface of wider recognition, where there is so much talent but taking the step from part time talented performer to professional career is so elusive and the lifestyle and pressures of performing can be so hard. When the chance to do something big and exciting like a Joiners show comes along you have to make it count.
Clamp takes to the stage to a loud appreciative roar. This is his crowd. If he is nervous it doesn’t show – maybe the ever-present gum is being chewed extra hard, but it is hard to tell – and he launches into The Riverside, a gorgeous opener that bounces along with Rob seated at the front flanked by his five-piece band. But it’s when Clamp is unshackled from the chair that the set comes alive as he clearly relishes the space and band interplay that solo shows don’t give you. The Tinder Song and Breathe showcase Clamp’s ear for a melody and both work beautifully in the packed Joiners. Even the inexplicably popular Phil Collins song Another Day In Paradise is transformed into an exciting romp that has the place jumping. Some new songs are given an outing and we can rest assured that they will fit seamlessly into Clamps already strong catalogue.
The main set ends with All Quiet On The Western Front, another song perfectly suited to the extra musicians and this environment. Of course, there is an encore, how could there not be. We get a couple of extra songs including a cover of You’re Gorgeous by Babybird sung to the rafters by everyone present. Such a joyous gig cannot be a one off and as the final notes of the last song ring out Clamp reminds us to get tickets for his next big gig at the Heartbreakers in April. On this evidence you would be foolish to miss it.