Review: Jerry Williams at The Joiners, Southampton

Following five dates in Germany and sold-out stops at Jimmy’s in Manchester and the Camden Assembly in London, Portsmouth native Jerry Williams arrived in Southampton to play her third sold-out show in a row at the city’s most prestigious music venue – The Joiners.

Jerry brimmed from ear-to-ear whenever she could hear the crowd singing her lyrics back to her
📸 Tony Palmer

Following in the steps of the likes of Ed Sheeran, Oasis, The Libertines and her own personal heroes Coldplay, Jerry took to the stage at The Joiners alongside her band, donning white leopard-print trousers, a long-sleeved rainbow coloured top and a pair of her trusty Dr Martins – bringing her elegant and flamboyant style to the south coast on a very cold and snowy evening.

She was supported on the evening by Isle of Wight natives Jeph, a four-man, self-proclaimed “beige indie band with cracking personalities”, and Southampton-based homecomers Wild Front. The latter group in particular were certainly deserving of the huge applause they received at the end of their soothing and eclectic set. The four-piece, consisting of guitarist Andy-Joe Connell, drummer Josh Betteridge, frontman Jack Williams, and bassist Mike Flowers, have a unique and distinctive sound, clearly combining numerous influences into an alternative indie juggernaut that is bound to lead them to their own major UK headline tour very soon.

However, it was the ever-endearing Williams that everyone had come to see – packing out the intimate venue with a wide range of demographics throughout the place. Bursting onto the stage and into her first couple of tracks, Jerry genuinely seemed surprised, amazed and delighted whenever she could hear the crowd singing her lyrics back to her – a trait I hope she never loses as it only goes to make you love her even more!

Her elegantly flamboyant style is synonymous with Jerry Williams’ performances
📸 Tony Palmer

I saw her perform for the first time last year at the Wedgewood Rooms in her hometown of Portsmouth for BBC Introducing, and the difference in her performance in just this short space of time has been quite dramatic. She seems so much more comfortable in her own skin now and has almost certainly found her comfort zone with regards to her performance – leg flicks and all – whilst commanding the stage as any strong, independent solo female artist should.

Belting through a setlist of tracks new and old, the crowd’s involvement – consisting of singing along equally as loud or bopping heads along – was testament to the growth this young artist has experienced over the past 12 months. Williams has had a whirlwind past couple of months in particular, signing record deals in Germany and North America, showing that raw talent and persistence alone is more than enough to be able to make it one of the world’s most competitive industries.

Recent singles ‘David At The Bar’, ‘Left And Right’ and ‘Grab Life’ arguably received the greatest reception of the evening. The first of those, her latest single, succeeded the story that inspired the song, when Williams met a man in her hometown who was an alcoholic, expecting a baby and was petrified about the future – David promised her that he would stop drinking if she wrote a song about him, which she did. However, sadly, Williams stated she is yet to be reunited with her ‘man at the bar’ to be able to see if they both were able to stick to their words from that evening.

Jerry Williams performing at her third sold-out show in a row
📸 Tony Palmer

The evening drew to a close with an encore consisting of an emotive solo performance of a track yet to be released, ‘Gameshow’, centred around the time Jerry first lost someone close to her, and an old stalwart of her earlier sets, ‘Boy Oh Boy’. It was the first time she had stood on stage without her band or a guitar, which made the vulnerability of the track and artist draw the odd tear around the venue. It was incredible to see the ability she has to move an audience so strongly, despite being better known for more upbeat, punchy indie songs.

Yet again it was clear to see that Jerry Williams only has the brightest of futures ahead of her. Her live ability is going from strength to strength, seamlessly adapting to larger and larger headline venues, insinuating that it won’t be long before we see her performing in more prestigious and bigger venues in the very near future.

If you’re a fan of indie anthems, flamboyant style and feel-good vibes, then Jerry Williams could quite possibly be your new favourite artist.

Jerry Williams was playing at The Joiners in Southampton on Thursday 31st January.


Latest Release: ‘David At The Bar’

Highlights: ‘Left And Right’ – ‘Grab Life’ – ‘Babe’

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