As a music listener, I've been interested in The Heartbreaks ' music for quite some time, and I eventually managed to catch them live for the first time two weeks ago when they arrived at Rough Trade East in their big 'Funtimes' red bus for Record Store Day. Straight after their three song acoustic set, I headed off with the band back to the bus, where we then galivanted across London to the next record store in North London for the band to perform another short set, after which they headed straight to Central London for one final performance on Soho's Berwick Street. When the band were done for the day, I had a quick chat with lead singer Matt Whitehouse, which ended with 'see you in Southampton in a couple of weeks mate!' You can watch a video of the day's events at the end of the blog!
Fast forward 17 days, and I'm at The Joiners in Southampton to catch The Heartbreaks on their UK tour, just a day after the release of their debut album. Following two support bands, the venue has filled up hugely from the almost-empty twenty person strong crowd that it was just a half hour before, and is almost sold out. The lights go out, and Billy Bragg's 'A New England' starts to boom out of the PA system, whilst the band take to the stage, and greet the crowd with 'good evening Southampton, save our souls', before opening with two album tracks - 'S.O.S', and 'Hand On Heart'. Opening with these songs shows that the band are clearly very proud of their new release, and rightly so - it's one of the most exciting debut albums I've heard in ages (and I'm not just saying that).
Between songs, lead singer Matt Whitehouse exchanges banter with certain crowd members, introducing songs as 'the one we wrote with Edwyn Collins' amongst other humorous descriptions. When Whitehouse introduced 'a song called Polly', almost every member of the crowd cheers - in my opinion it's one of the best songs on the album, and clearly everybody else thinks so as it goes down an absolute storm, and the atmosphere in the venue changed for the better after.
The real treat however was Whitehouse and guitarist Ryan's duet for another album track - 'Jealous Don't You Know'. With just two members of the band on stage for this song, Whitehouse asked the crowd to 'help us out a bit' with the chanting towards the end of the song - something that felt like it would fit with a crowd of thousands chanting it back, and I have a feeling that could be the case during either this festival season or next.
Other highlights included a song which is currently known as 'Untitled' as 'we only wrote it today - how's that for new?' (which sounded like it would have fitted in alongside all other songs on the ten track album perfectly), and also a personal favourite of mine - 'Delay Delay', which was fantastic to see live and electric for the first time, after seeing such a different version of it at Record Store Day.
So whilst The Heartbreaks may not currently be the best known band in the world, it's very clear judging by performances like this that they certainly have the potential to be in years to come. After all, everything has to start somewhere, and I think it's Funtimes ahead for all fans of the band, as well as the band themselves.
The full setlist:
Hand On Heart
Liar, My Dear
Jealous, Don't You Know
I Didn't Think It Would Hurt To Think Of You