The Freshers Guide to Southampton’s Live Venues


Southampton is incredible for live music, boasting over a dozen venues in the city centre and surrounding area for every music taste. As part of our ongoing Freshers Guide series, here are four incredibly popular local venues where you’re sure to find something that suits your music taste, location and budget.

The 1865

When it comes to The 1865 in Southampton, there is no venue, at least in my opinion, in this city that brings passionate fans together in such a great way. It’s a venue for the bands who have broken through and are starting to gain traction, supported by dedicated listeners who know every word to every song; The 1865 is a total blast to go to. In recent years bands like The Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball, Creeper and State Champs have all played rousing headlining shows, with equally as stirring support bands such as Gnarwolves and Tiny Moving Parts coming along for the ride. It’s fairly priced, easy to get to, booked tremendously and provides a strong sense of community among the fans, The 1865 feels less like a gig and more like that party with your best friends that you’ll never forget.

words by David Mitchell-Baker

The Joiners

Ran by Pat Muldowney, this independent music venue will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year. They have over 300 events a year and have a capacity of 200, making for some of the most intimate gigs the city has to offer. Named Britain’s best small music venue by NME in 2013, they put a lot of support and backing into local bands as well as students, and have had some of the biggest artists in the world play on their stage. Among many, many others, the gig posters adorning the walls of The Joiners show The Libertines, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Green Day, and Oasis have all played the venue at some point in their careers.

The Joiners feature an incredible number of new bands, with most gigs featuring local talent in some way. The number of times I’ve seen someone perform on that stage who are blowing up the year after is ridiculous – imagine being someone who saw Coldplay or The Libertines in such a small venue before they went on to sell out stadiums and world tours?! The bands playing often tend to be somewhat rocky, but there’s so much variety in the genre and the occasional ‘other’ sounding band that the venue is far from dull in its line-up. I’ve seen metal bands on their final tours, punk-rock girl bands, reggae bands, acoustic folk. You are guaranteed to find something in the line-up for you!

words by Carly-May Kavanagh

The Talking Heads

Saved from permanent closure in 2012 by Guy Benfield and Martin White, the venue is one of the most iconic venues in the city. Having had the likes of Wheatus and Northlane through its doors, they’re also avid supporters of local artists and were the hosts of Edgetival, a gig we put organised as a magazine in March 2017. It was previously in Portswood but is now in the city centre at The Polygon – a 2-minute walk from Mayflower Halls – and is a huge venue, with several hundred able to attend a seated event or 260 standing for live music meaning you can get up close and personal with the bands. They sell the expected drinks and snacks that you’d expect of a bar, as well as real ales and homemade pizzas. Yes, you read that right – you can have pizza at a gig. Is this the future? I think so.

words by Carly-May Kavanagh

The Engine Rooms

Some of the best gigs I’ve ever been to have been at the roller disco-cum-gig venue. Formerly called Mo’Club and rebranded in December 2014, The Engine Rooms has had The Skints, The Enemy, Spring King, The Big Moon, Loyle Carner, Super Hans and State Champs, and that’s just this year. Live music, comedy, theatre, club music, festivals and cinema are all available at the venue, with it being incredibly adaptable even down to capacity. Screens are at various intervals at The Engine Rooms meaning with a lower capacity gig, the back of the room can be shut off so it feels more intimate, less empty – they can adapt to have anywhere from 400-800 capacity. Located behind Ikea on West Quay Industrial Estate, this is definitely a venue to check out!

words by Carly-May Kavanagh




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.

The Edge's Film Editor 2017-2018, David has an unabashed love for all things Dave Grohl, Jack Black and Lord of the Rings. A compulsive liar who shouldn't be trusted, David once beat legendary actor David Hasselhoff in a hot dog eating contest and is best friends with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, they speak on the phone three times a week.

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