Quintessentially Southampton: The Common

Will McStay interviews Soton’s next big thing.

Throughout my time at Southampton I have found it striking how people have not made use of the fantastic local live music on offer in the city. In this series of articles I will be reviewing and talking to some of the leading local lights on the Southampton music scene!

“What it is, I walk in the club, this girl is hot and she’s looking at me. What it really is, is the girl is rough but I’m drunk off my nuts and I can’t really see”, a sentiment shared by many a man and indeed many a woman after a misguided night in Jesters.


If you don’t recognise the above lyrics, it’s the work of Southampton band The Common’s frontman Michael Brown in the song ‘What It Is’; in which he draws a series of comparisons between an ideal life and the general everyday that comes with trying to become a self-styled ‘Geek-hop’ star. As he states in ‘World is Mine’: “I refuse to be put in a category, but if I have to choose well it has to be, indie rap street rock, you can call it geek hop”. These songs are just two of many that sing not of typical Rap/RnB bravado but instead working the nightshift at Tesco, being rejected an overdraft extension at the bank and failing to get girls in Southampton’s hottest nightspots. The frontman took some time out to talk to The Tab:

How did you form the band?

Myself and our guitarist (Richard Berner) met through a mutual friend and started our own open mic night (Monday night blues at Orange Rooms!) at which we were the cover band. Berner was into rock music, I am into hip-hop so we just fused it. The rest of the band are just people we met through the open mic!

University students are often criticised for lack of integration into city life? What do you love/hate about this fine city?

I personally love Southampton, it’s not the biggest or best city around but it meets most of my needs. Plenty of bars, constant live music and a lot of genuinely talented people.

Whats been your favourite ever gig you have played and attended?

We have  had some great support slots for Tinie Tempah, Jurassic 5, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and The Correspondents to name a few but to choose a particular favourite show is tricky. Winning battle of the bands at Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms was a highlight as it was out of 100 other bands, the subsequent celebration show we headlined at Joiners was great too. The best gig I’ve ever been to was Prince at Hop Farm. He is an idol and the writer of some of my favourite songs and albums ever (might have cried a bit when he sang ‘Purple Rain’ but I had drunk a bottle of gin… doesn’t mean I aint tough as nails!).

And finally, which member of Girls Aloud do you think sniffs her finger the most?

I’d defos sniff that Sarah bird’s finger from Girls Aloud. I’m sure they all have a sneaky whiff here and there though.

The Common will be around for a while yet in their quest to make it in the music industry, Brown claims in the songFamous‘ ; “I would walk a thousand miles and mate, I aint the Proclaimers”.

So take some time to immerse yourself in some of the culture from your adopted city Soton Tabbers! You may just find a new favourite band. The Common regularly grace the stage at our local music venues such as The Joiners, The Cellar & Orange rooms.

Keep up with them on Facebook and have a cheeky listen on Myspace.