It was announced just several weeks before Modern Baseball set off on their European tour that the quartet would be without enigmatic frontman Brendan Lukens, as he dealt with ill health back home.
As ‘Tourope’ hit Southampton it was uncertain just how Modern Baseball would pitch, would they skip some of their biggest songs until Lukens returned, or would they find a work around and go for the home run?
Before the important questions could be answered, The Superweaks and Thin Lips had the task of opening up. Neither stuck with the crowd, with the latter coming across as nothing more than a watered-down version of the late Chumped.
In fact, it wasn’t until Modern Baseball took to the stage that the rickety floor of The 1865 sprang into life. Opening with lead single from 2016’s Holy Ghost, ‘The Wedding Singer’ went down a treat before an instant lull in the set.
It took a rousing performance of ‘Tears Over Beers’ to spark the crowd back to life, but the pace that was created in those two and a half minutes was soon stripped away a poorly placed acoustic set in which the only highlight was a rendition of The Weakerthans iconic ‘Reconstruction Site’.
Following the acoustic interlude the band reformed, bringing up members from both support bands to fill in for the absent Lukens. ‘The Weekend’ and ‘Rock Bottom’ saw the band come into their own, before ‘Your Graduation’ saw the band hit a fly ball that flew straight to the back of the venue.
Unfortunately, the show didn’t end on ‘Your Graduation’, instead the band insisted on playing a cover of ‘When You Were Young’ by The Killers. It would have worked well if it wasn’t for the comedown in pace, and the botched humour in between verses.
With all aspects considered Modern Baseball put on a good show, but it doesn’t go unnoticed that the quality of their live performance has slipped since Lukens took to the bench.
Words by Maddy Howell