For years The Joiners in Southampton has played host to bands who are on an ascent to bigger and brighter things. When Melbourne, Australia’s Pagan roll into town there is certainly that sense of “they will be special” surrounding the band.
With opening acts Curbwire and Arid Wave warming up a slightly tepid crowd, the energy levels pick up when tour support Pleiades step onto the stage. Vocalist Andy Calderbank throws himself around the whole venue as the band mix together Deafheaven-style guitars with Circa Survive-esque vocals.
As the lights go out, leaving just an upside-down neon pink cross to light up the stage, Pagan’s latest sermon is about to start. As soon as the four-piece come on stage the room fills with bodies and the energy levels ascend dramatically. Like a pneumatic drill Pagan power through songs off their critically-acclaimed debut record Black Wash.
Vocalist Nikki Brumen presents an imposing figure on the stage, from her screeching vocals to the pure levels of sass in her dancing, she mesmerises the audience like putty in her hand. However, this is not just the Brumen show – Xavier Santilli’s catchy guitar hooks got heads banging, Dan Bonnici’s energy and backing vocals added a nice yin to the yang of Bruman and drummer Matt Marasco was an absolute powerhouse mixing up disco beats with blastbeats.
Pagan are certainly a star on the rise and to catch them in a small venue while you can is an opportunity that everyone should take. If you’re yet to see them, relive the night with us through our photo gallery below.
Words and photos: Tim Birkbeck (@timbirkbeckphotos)