South Of Salem – Bournemouth O2 Academy 20.01.24 – Album launch party.

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Reviewed and Photography by Skid.

Dave McPherson’s InMe has been around since the early 2000s and has a CV covering seven studio albums and even a “best of”. The last record was JumpStart Hope in 2020, however, six of the nine tracks on their set list tonight came from the 2003 debut Overgrown Eden, two from the follow-up White Butterfly including the closing song Faster the Chase making for an overall impressive first gig of the year for the Essex band and a good choice for a support band.

However, tonight was always only going to be about the local boys doing the biggest hometown headline gig so far. A day after the release of their sophomore long player Death of The Party and its first live electric airing, the excitement within the Academy was tangible. A close-to-sold-out crowd witnessed a band who knew tonight mattered and was a celebration of a new chapter.

The gig could have been anywhere, but loyalty to their family, friends and hometown fans brought them back to where it began. Four years ago, the five-piece debut album The Sinner Takes It All landed to critical acclaim, motorway busting shows across the land supporting it brought them to the attention of a much wider audience. A change of personnel over time brought new ideas and impetus and on taking the stage at this, album launch party they had a lot to prove, maybe not to the crowd but to themselves. The coffin pallbearing party across the balcony onto the stage of the 130-year-old Academy grabbed the crowd’s attention, and it was the first time since seeing Demon in the 80s that I witnessed a band member come out of a coffin to start a show.

It was not Spinal Tap, but a well-choreographed and executed start, throw-in pompom girls, fireworks and lighting and it all made for a magnificent and engaging intro for the openers Let Us Prey and The Hate in Me. A Billy Idol cover halfway was unnecessary considering the strength of their present catalogue but included were six from the new record the pick of the bunch being the future anthemic crowd pleasers Hellbound Heart, the title track and instant classicand ender Left for Dead.

I would have liked to have seen Bad Habits (die-hard) included, that said the setlist was well thought out and executed. The sound at the back was excellent and the vocals were clean and crisp. I knew there was a drummer somewhere at the back, as his timing, style and at times plain outrageous playing was more than impressive but with no illumination on him, it was hard to see past the 4 guys out front, who appeared comfortable within the large space. It was obvious to see that SOS were all visibly pumped with nervous energy and adrenaline, a metal greyhound desperate to jump out of the traps to chase the figurative rabbit. When the lights went down all that pent-up energy was released in a tsunami of music, a near-physical wall of noise, it was a nearly unstoppable force.

Having witnessed this band over the years grow in stature and confidence and moving from small to large stages made me feel akin to a proud uncle watching his nephew grow from an adolescent into an adult. At the end of it all and when the lights went up, the crowd went home happy, I suspect the band was happier still as tonight was a test in front of their harshest critics, a test they passed triumphantly proving if proof was needed that South Of Salem is the real deal.

This band has serious potential, they are not quite there yet for the big league, but with more original material and consideration to diversifying away from the formulated lyric format and more emphasis on time changes there is a bright future ahead of these dark-drenched musicians. I suspect that there are a few years of hard graft ahead of them and who knows the Bournemouth International Centre, the biggest hall in town may have a billboard with their name on it.

Set List

  1. Let us pray.
  2. The Hate in me
  3. Stitch in the wound.
  4. No plague-like home
  5. Static
  6. Vultures
  7. Hellbound heart
  8. Demons are forever.
  9. Rebel yell (Billy Idol cover)
  10. Death of the Party
  11. Pretty Little Nightmare
  12. Left for dead.

Death of the Party was released on 19th January and the band is on tour on the below dates in 2024.

Headlining Tour


Monday 22nd, Liverpool – Jacaranda, (unplugged)

23rd Kingston (Surrey) Banquet records, (unplugged)

25th Nottingham, Rough trade, (unplugged)


2nd, Porthcawl, Plant Rock Winters End

9th, Buckley, Tivoli

10th, Carlisle, Rockmantic Fest

11th, Blackpool, Love Live Festival

Supporting Kris Barras


6th, Torquay

12th Southampton

13th Wolverhampton

14th Manchester

17th, Glasgow

18th Newcastle

19th Nottingham

20th London



4th – Bradstock

24th-26th Call of The Wild


20th – Maid Of Stone

27th – Hammerdown Festival


8th – Bloodstock

9th – Firevolt


7th HRH

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