From the calm atmosphere on entering The Joiners, you wouldn’t have realised the chaos that was about to ensue. The dim lighting made a tunnel that traversed the small club, leading to the back room where the stage took up its residence. Shadows bounced around as tension suffocated the room with its weight.
Anticipation built as the members of The Word Alive filed onto the tiny stage that was just big enough to encompass the entire group. Under almost nonexistent lighting, everyone waited for the show to begin, cheering with excitement. Frontman Telle Smith made the pleading crowd wait, before sauntering onstage, and launching into the first song.
Strobe lights bombarded the stage causing the musicians to move in slow motion. Their jumps and spins were emphasized as the music became overwhelming in its intensity. The closeness of the small venue forged a strong connection between the audience and those onstage. It was an overwhelming shared experience.
Smith made it his signature to plant a foot on the speaker and bang his head, the sweat spewing onto the crowd below. He made an effort to interact with the fans, ruffling the hair of a few in the front, whilst slapping hands with others. “If you see someone standing still, and not sweating, they’re doing something wrong. Change their minds!” he yelled into the chaotic mosh pit that was the crowd.
The band held nothing back, putting their full effort into making the show as amazing as possible. Lights faded from bright to pitch black, giving the music a depth hard to achieve when only listening through a set of headphones. Smith prowled the stage like a caged tiger, giving everyone from every side of the audience an in-your-face experience. He was a master at drawing all available attention, the music being of the upmost importance and everything else fading away.
As each song came to a close, Smith always addressed the crowd. “This is the last show in the UK for The Get Real Tour. We’ve saved you guys for last, like we do most times in the UK, because we usually get really hammered drunk afterwards, and we like hanging out here,” he commented about the city of Southampton. But his nice guy speeches immediately took a turn as he reverted back to his front man exterior, propelling into each new track with a scream.
The band played almost all of their well-known songs. As ‘Lighthouse’ began, the crowd chanted back in a massive sing along. Their mantra, “I’d rather die for what I believe, than live a life without meaning,” became another lyrical opportunity to scream with Smith. He let out a massive wail after the stanza, ending it with a huge smile which showed his true happiness at connecting with the crowd. The audience almost angrily demanded that the band come back after their set to play ‘2012’ for the encore. “If you guys want it, it is our last one, it’s called 2012,” Smith offered.
The Word Alive kept on giving the audience what they wanted, and all that was included made for a fantastic show.