Review | The Subways at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea: 'There's a celebratory mood to the night'

It has been scientifically proven that many of the songs on The Subways’ debut album, Young For Eternity are 90 per cent chorus.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 7:13 pm
The Subways at The Wedgewood Rooms, October 2021. Picture by Paul Windsor

As such they are perfect for mass singalongs in the live arena.

And so it is that about 30 seconds into the opening number, appropriately enough, I Want To Hear What You Have Got To Say, the audience have already taken over singing from frontman Billy Lunn.

The band are touring to mark 15 (now 16) years since the release of that debut, and playing it out in full.

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As with Ash’s recent two-night stand at The Wedge, this first-of-two gigs at the venue is also delayed from last March – and also moved from the now-closed Pyramids Centre.

Playing the album in order means that the biggest song of their career, Rock & Roll Queen is up third, something Lunn acknowledges as feeling rather odd for them – but he also teases that it may make another appearance later…

This is the first tour since founding drummer (and Billy’s brother) Josh Morgan’s departure last year. His replacement Camille Phillips has joined them from punk tribute act The Ramonas, and she’s a perfect fit for the band.

Her partner in rhythm, Charlotte Cooper is a study in perpetual motion – when not singing at the mic, she’s constantly headbanging and jumping all over the stage like a woman possessed.

With most songs charging past in a blur of melodic indie-punk, playing the full album forces them to acknowledge its mellower moments as well – including a rather lovely No Goodbyes.

Young For Eternity finishes on a high with At 1am, but seeing as those 13 songs have only taken about 40 minutes, there’s still time for a few more.

The second half of the set is part greatest hits/part chosen by the fans from social media – a nice touch.

Portsmouth apparently lobbied hard for I Won’t Let You Down from 2008’s All or Nothing, so that kicks off this section.

With Lunn in talkative mood, we also get to hear the stories behind some of the songs, such as the friendship underpinning We Don’t Need Money To Have A Good Time.

And yes, Rock & Roll Queen makes its second appearance to close the night in an exuberant extended form that even sees Lunn climb up onto the speakers and dive into the crowd.

There is a celebratory mood to the night that’s hard to ignore – bolstered by Lunn and Cooper’s perma-grins – and harder to not get swept along by.

The play-the-whole album conceit doesn’t always work, but here it’s a tribute to the simple pleasures of a bunch of good tunes and bellowing along to them with a few hundred like-minded souls.

We might not get to stay young for eternity, but shows like this can at least help us all still feel that bit younger again for one night.

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