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GIG REVIEW: Lauran Hibberd at The 1865, Southampton

Live music is back again, baby!

On Friday (December 4th), we saw indie-rock princess Lauran Hibberd perform a sold-out socially-distanced show at The 1865, Southampton. That’s right, an actual full-band rock show performed on a stage, in front of people, in 2020.

With a number of slacker-rock singles and her 2019 Everything is Dogs EP under her belt, Isle of Wight’s Lauran Hibberd has been rising through the indie-rock ranks over the years, supporting the likes of The Regrettes, Hippo Campus, and Hinds, and since cementing herself as a fan-favourite along the South Coast. So a post-lockdown gig in Southampton - as well as Hackney’s Oslo on Thursday 3rd - just made sense as the perfect return of live music.

Support comes from another South Coast singer-songwriter as Portsmouth’s Jerry Williams takes to the stage, armed with her acoustic guitar and hypnotising vocals. As talented as she is sweet, Jerry performs solo, captivating the crowd with her dreamy voice.

Performing her indie-pop gems like David at the Bar, Mother, and Left and Right, Jerry Williams reminds us just how much we’ve missed live music - and what a pleasure it is to see a musician do what they do best, in person, and not over Zoom calls or Instagram livestreams. And, lastly, because it is the season after all, Jerry ends her set on a merry cover of Elton John’s Step into Christmas to get us in that feel-good holiday spirit.

The lights dim. ‘Bad Reputation' blasts through the speakers. Lauran Hibberd and her accompanying band take to the stage. And the shredding commences.

Lauran kickstarts the show with a bang: Sugardaddy from Everything is Dogs. With her tongue-in-cheek lyricism and infectious indie-rock melodies, the track is a Lauran Hibberd essential and the perfect start to her high-energy set. This is followed up by Old Nudes, a single released earlier this year that oozes sarcasm, with a catchy chorus that has you bobbing your head, wishing you could jump out of your seat to bounce along - but after the year we’ve had with gigs so few and far between, sitting and nodding along is more than enough for now.

Evident from Lauran Hibberd’s witty song-writing, she also brings her humour to the stage with her, filling the gaps between songs with deadpan jokes and effortless storytelling. The energy in the room is warm, and it feels as if Lauran is everyone’s best friend with her laid-back attitude. In introducing Hoochie, Lauran asks the crowd if they know the meaning of the word, to which her own mother calls out “slag!”, effectively stealing the show from her daughter. After a jokey exchange with her mum, Lauran reluctantly says “I love you, mum”, and then resumes her rockstar persona as she kicks ass with Hoochie.

Smashing through the set like lockdown never even happened, Lauran proves she’s not out of practise as she plays energetic tracks like Frankie’s Girlfriend and Sweat Patch with ease, plus a couple of unreleased songs that we look forward to hearing in the new year. She also teases working on a debut album that (fingers crossed!) we should see the release of next year.

However, much sooner than that, Lauran Hibberd will be releasing a Christmas single: a cover of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree which, sadly, she refused to play at the gig, but we can’t wait to hear in the coming weeks!

Latest single Boy Bye is electrifying live, with its glistening slacker-rock guitars and toe-tapping chorus, sounding like a miraculous Weezer-Black Honey lovechild, with Lauran’s signature ironic lyrics making it all her own. On Friday (4th), an acoustic version of the song hit streaming platforms but, as Lauran puts it, that wouldn’t be as fun to perform live.

The set closes off with hard-and-fast banger Call Shotgun, followed by slow, nostalgic fan-favourite Shark Week - none of that fake-encore bullshit, Lauran keeps it real like a true rockstar. After an hour set of good ol’ fashioned live rock music, it felt like a much-welcomed return to normalcy.

While we might not have gotten to bounce around and sing our hearts out like we used to at gigs, it was so refreshing to be able to experience live music again, and we’re so enthused that Lauran Hibberd and Jerry Williams were the musicians to bring it back to us. It felt damn good to see a live show again.

Watch the ‘Boy Bye’ music video, featuring fellow indie princesses Zuzu, Louise Bartle, and Jerry Williams, below:

Stream ‘Boy Bye’ on Spotify and Apple Music

Review by Chloe Robbins

Photography by James Kellegher

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