As my Uber ride pulls up into an industrial estate, I think tonight will be loud and sweaty. I haven’t been to Southampton before, but it’s worth the journey to follow fellow Welsh rockers Florence Black and see how England treats them. The Engine Rooms is quite roomy, with picnic tables by the bar, decent prices on spirits and a pretty good sound system. I grab myself a vodka and scope out my photo pit entry.
Engine Rooms, Southampton – 30 April 2023
Words and Photography: Georgia Brittain
Headliners tonight are Florence Black, and the crowd is nicely warmed up from the previous bands, The Hot Damn! and Electric Milk. Florence Black are fresh out of the recording studio for album number two, and the question on everyone’s mind is, “Are we gonna hear some new music tonight?”
I’m no stranger to watching the fellow Welshies, so while I expect to hear the regular first song, Zulu, I’m pleasantly surprised to hear them open with Weight Of The World instead. It goes down well with the crowd, who belt back the chorus to frontman Tristan Thomas, almost matching the volume with him.
Bird On A Chain also comes in fairly early, and it never fails to get the crowd headbanging along. As the set plays out, I’m reminded that you don’t need more than three people in a band to make plenty of noise, as the floor is shaking from underneath me.
We have a couple of technical issues with a microphone, bringing their roadie/technician on stage for maybe three songs trying to fix it, but singer Tristan misses not a single note by following the fallen-down microphone. Eventually, he has to move over to bassist Fozzi’s microphone to finish the song, and if you weren’t watching, you wouldn’t have even noticed the change.
As the song ends, Tristan announces, “Give it up for Dan for fixing the microphone,” and Dan gets his own well-deserved chant and cheers. Go on, Dan.
The crowd slows down somewhat through the set, likely due to the change-up of the set, having the faster songs at the beginning. We finally hear Zulu, and the crowd comes alive once more.
Next up, we are asked, “Who’s heard of a band called Budgie?” and we all know we’re about to experience Breadfan. I’m ready to jump into the mosh pit since this is my own personal favourite, and I’m almost mortified to realise that one doesn’t open.
That’s when I get my realisation of “Toto, we’re not in Wales anymore”, and sorry, fellow UK readers, but we definitely have the best crowds on this side of the pond. Regardless, people are headbanging, singing along and moving, and it’s ended with the guitar intro for Sun & Moon, the singalong of the setlist. Not a single person in the crowd isn’t belting back the opening verse to the band.
As the band finishes, there is only one single complaint from the crowd; they didn’t play a new single. While I’m also somewhat disappointed not to hear new music, it only makes us all look even more forward to their second album, due for release at some point this year.
There are big things coming for Florence Black, and if there is something seeing them multiple times over these last couple of years has taught me, it’s that they’re only going to get bigger and better.