THE HOOSIERS broke into their summer festival schedule to play a tremendous gig at The Joiners.

Only 24 hours after an appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival, the band showcased tunes from their latest album The News from Nowhere and favourites from their 2007 breakthrough number one The Trick to Life.

Famous for their lively top five singles Goodbye Mr A and Worried about Ray, the band was warmly welcomed back to Southampton.

Their new songs are more thoughtful and soulful than before. They kicked off with their latest lead single Somewhere in the Distance which builds to a brilliant culmination of sounds and melodies.

While the music has moved on, some things don’t change. Irwin Sparke’s superb vocals still cover all bases. Instrumentals were equally as impressive including some good work from bassist Martin Skarendahl.

Singing duties involve the whole band. There were terrific close range harmonies between Sparkes and keyboardist Sam Swallow while drummer Alan Sharland shared the lead on several numbers.

As well as talented musicians the band are also born entertainers. In the sweltering summer heat Sparkes joked with the 150 capacity crowd that The Joiners could be Southampton’s new botanical gardens.

Later Sparkes twice dived from the stage to sing amongst the crowd while Swallow provided an impromptu trumpet brass section to accompany the song Cops and Robbers.

The Costellos were a popular support band with influences from Oasis and The Rolling Stones. They should have a bright future.

The Hoosiers are now working without a major record label which inevitably brings them even closer to their fans at gigs like these. They are producing music their way and look like they are enjoying touring at the moment.

Gene Hackman’s famous 1986 Indiana baseball film, The Hoosiers, had a tag line The Underdogs who became Champions. It’s a sentiment that could apply to this band too. They are still one of the best live acts around.