This Month in Local Live Acts: May


I know, I know, it’s been literal months since the last one – my excuses range from illness to “it was Easter nobody was around” – but to make up for it, May has brought a whole bunch of lovely gigs and a nice, concise column for you to read about them in. Special mentions this month go to The Kooks’ sold out Guildhall show on May 4th, and Common People Festival on our very own Southampton Common.

Who? The Skints
Where? Engine Rooms, Southampton
When? May 7th
Why? I can’t believe that this delightful band are yet to be featured in these articles, but their January show was announced very last minute. The Skints are a London-based reggae-ska-dub-grime-hip-hop-punk band and then some, who spent their early days gigging in London’s squat party and punk scenes. They’ve toured with The King Blues, Sonic Boom Six and Reel Big Fish, and spend the majority of their time touring, doing an average of 150 shows a year. Also one of their members, Marcia Richards, sings and plays just a few instruments – like keyboard, alto saxophone, flute, guitar, sampler, melodica, and probably more that we don’t know about. So not that many, really. Tickets available here.

Who? Slingshot Dakota
Where? Joiners, Southampton
When? May 12th
Why? I like to call this band ‘The Front Bottoms with less chaos’. They’re a Pennsylvania duo who are very indie rock/punk rock and I’m kind of upset that it’s taken me until now to find out about them because they’ve been together since 2003. I don’t know how much you know about bands but that’s a really long time to still be together and to still be a pretty undercover band but there’s no need to go without knowing them for any longer, because they’re going to be at this live editor’s favourite venue on May 12th! Tickets available here.

Who? The Undercover Hippy
Where? Joiners, Southampton
When? May 18th
Why? The Undercover Hippy, or Billy Rowan, is a reggae-tinged folk/acoustic singer songwriter, who started out as a DJ and MC on the drum and bass scene. He became an acoustic solo artist in 2007 and combines guitars, bass, percussion and vocals with his full band to make one of the most energetic and creative live shows ever. He’s been at some of the biggest and best festivals in the UK, including Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, and The Secret Garden Party. He and his five piece band fill their summers with festivals and gigs. Get your tickets here!


Who? Gnarwolves
Where? Joiners, Southampton
When? May 19th
Why? Brighton-based Gnarwolves are a pop punk/punk rock band, who formed in 2011. Since then they’ve released an EP covering songs by Green Day and Converge, to name a few, and spent the next two years touring the UK and Europe. Their self-titled debut album came out in 2014, with Zane Lowe featuring their song ‘Smoking Kills’ on Radio 1. They opened for Blink-182 as well as Reading and Leeds’ main stage in the same year, and toured in the US with The Story So Far, The Wonder Years and Modern Baseball. They’re yet to release another album, but maybe their Joiners show will feature a sneak peek at some new material? Who knows! I recommend going along to find out. Tickets here!

Who? Ruby Wax
Where? Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
When? May 21st
Why? She’s an actress, lecturer, author, mental health campaigner, and comedian, and she’s featured in our upcoming mental health magazine. She started out in Girls on Top in 1985, and two years later had a comedy show on Channel 4, Don’t Miss Wax. She’s worked with the BBC, having a two year long series called Ruby Wax Meets… from 1996-1998 and she was even in a music video in 2005 – as a cleaner in McFly’s ‘All About You’ video. Her stand-up show ‘Losing It’ was based around her experience of depression and she later founded a mental health website in response to her audience’s reactions to the 2010 show. She graduated from Kellogg College at Oxford University in 2013, with a master’s in mindfulness based therapy, and was awarded an OBE for her work in mental health in 2015. Tickets for her show Frazzled are available here.


Who? Common People
Where? Southampton Common
When? May 27th-28th
Why? Possibly the most exciting live event this month (and conveniently after all of my deadlines), Common People should be the one thing you definitely make it to, even if you go to nothing else. Featuring Pete Tong, Tom Odell and Loyle Carner on Saturday’s main stage, and Sean Paul, a DJ set from Groove Armada and Amy MacDonald on the Sunday. Don’t forget to check out the smaller stages like the Uncommon Stage, which will have Beans on Toast on the Saturday and Happy Accidents on the Sunday (I’m tempted to go just to see them). They also have the world’s biggest bouncy castle and pop up shows from the Nuffield Theatre – what more could you want from a festival? Get your tickets here!


About Author

Politics and International Relations graduate, Live Editor 2016-18, now a semi-functional adult and journalist. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about the above @cmkavanagh on Twitter.

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