Blue Sunday – Victorious Day Three

More perfect festival weather down on Southsea Common for Victorious Festival. We never assume good weather and when we get it for these events it is beautiful. Everything sounds better and this was the case from Ziggy Marley to New Order.

Ziggy Marley opens main stage on Sunday at Victorious Festival
Continue reading “Blue Sunday – Victorious Day Three”

James Bay is Victorious – Day Two in Southsea

Well I never thought I’d see All Saints. I never thought I’d enjoy James Bay as much as that and I never thought I’d be eating a vegan paella watching the Fun Loving Criminals playing Scooby Snacks in 2019. This was Saturday by the sea on day two of Victorious Festival in Southsea.

The Silver Beatles open on main ‘Common’ Stage
Silver Beatles

A bit of background music to start with – the Silver Beatles.

Next on my Saturday weave through 80s and 90s pop, rock, britpop, indie rock were All Saints. Lots of arm waving. I recognised a couple of hits and a Police cover but wasn’t sure what I was doing there.

All Saints

Republica brought a bit more punch. Not a band I know much about. When they came on I realised I’d got them mixed up with Elastica.

Republica
Saffron – Republica
Saffron – Ready to Go

Popped down the front and cheery atmosphere. It felt like a proper gig, despite the early afternoon sun.

Next I just watched a few songs by Badly Drawn Boy and went off to the Castle Stage to catch a 30 minute set by The Rifles. Flitting between stages at a festival can be a fruitless chase sometimes. It takes a good 20 mins to wrestle through the crowds between the big stages here.

Badly Drawn Boy on screen
Badly Drawn Boy – Common Stage

The Rifles played a short greatest hits set. Half an hour isn’t really enough to get going for a band you like. A good taster for the unfamiliar.

The Rifles – Castle Stage

Back to the main, ‘Common’ Stage for Ocean Colour Scene, the pride of Moseley. I’ve seen them a fair few times over the years, including over the water at Ryde Ice Rink, and here at Victorious on the Seaside Stage in 2014. When Simon Fowler came on stage I barely recognised him. I feared the worst….

Simon Fowler – OCS

…needn’t have worried though. Despite some technical problems Fowler fronted up beautifully, with a few solo numbers to paper over the gap while road crew scurried around plugging and unplugging.

Opening with Riverboat Song the set included Profit in Peace, Travellers Tune, Blown Away, The Day we Caught the Train and the only song I know about a bus route in Birmingham: The Circle, written about the 11C route that goes through Moseley on its lap of the city.

OCS – Steve Cradock on cow bell
Ocean Colour Scene

I was going wander off to see The Hives – always entertaining – but I thought I’ve seen them several times at festivals/ Hyde Park so I would stick with friends who were eagerly awaiting James Bay.

First song and I thought this is worth sticking around for. Best act of the day and something new amid the retro. Rocky all action performance rather than the mournful shoe gazing singer songwriter stance I was anticipating. So pleased I stayed and went up closer for some pics.

James Bay
James Bay – Common Stage

Nearly done. The headliners left. Rudimental on the Common Stage and Bloc Party on Castle Stage….. so I headed with my partner (SSo) to the Acoustic Stage to see Space and a sit down on the hay bales.

Acoustic Stage gets crowded
Space are in the Neighbourhood
Tommy Scott – Space

Female of the Species and Neighbourhood were among the enthusiastically received numbers in the short acoustic-ish set. Excellent.

A big turn out had swamped the usually placid Acoustic Stage which was a surprise to everyone including a grateful Tommy Scott who we said cheers to afterwards and grabbed a pic as he emerged from the stage to get the golf buggy out.

Goodnight to Tommy Scott of Space (Photo by SSo)

That was Saturday for me at Victorious Festival. So many options. Today’s winner James Bay with a big hand to Ocean Colour Scene, The Rifles, Tommy Scott and Republica.

Glorious Victorious – a sunny Friday in Southsea

Festivals can get by with grey skies and drizzle but it’s hard not to enjoy bands when it’s blazing sunshine and blue skies. Friday at Victorious Festival is a bit of an intro day with a mid-afternoon start with the main Common Stage and not much more starting up until Saturday.

First up for me – Dodgy. ‘If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me’ and ‘Staying out for the summer’. Easy listen.

Dodgy

The afternoon continued in relaxed nostalgic mood. The Zutons had more energy about their performance than the Doves and Dodgy. ‘Valerie’ went down a treat of course followed by the debate about who recorded it first and who wrote it – Mark Ronson wrote for The Zutons who recorded it a while before Amy Winehouse gave it a worldwide airing.

The Zutons
The Zutons
Common Stage

For me today was all about The Specials. As medium term resident in the allegedly ghostly concrete jungle of Coventry, through late 80s and the 90s, I love ’em. When I bought their first album I never thought I’d end up in 2-Tone country. I missed the boat slightly but good times. Terry Hall left The Specials and Coventry when I was there.

I have lost track of precise band changes but Terry Hall is back now and in quiet moody control with Lynval Golding. No Dammers or Neville Staple these days. This evening we have Steve Cradock from Ocean Colour Scene and Weller’s band on guitar. I’m not sure if this is a regular thing.

The special Specials
Terry Hall. The delightfully moody boss.
Steve Cradock, left, with The Specials

Great set mixing old and new songs – great new album (Encore) with live old extra tracks/ disc if on CD. Gangsters, Nite Klub, Monkey Man…..(No Ghost Town). This lot should have been headlining but maybe I’m just old and moody like Terry.

To round up tonight, are Two Door Cinema Club. I liked their first two albums and haven’t got to see them until now. Their new album appears to have taken a turn and the direction isn’t one I like. I was disappointed but good show and others seemed to enjoy it.

Alex Trimble – Two Door Cinema Club
Two Door CC
Two Door CC , Common Stage
Thank you at goodnight Southsea

How many gigs have you been to then?

I never used to count but when I cranked up the gig going a few years back it was a question I was getting asked. I thought I’d better have an answer, for myself at least. But what counts as a gig?

Yup, it doesn’t matter but as a gigaholic I think you need to know. It’s like counting your units of alcohol. Whether that leads to you moderating your behaviour is another matter.

So I have my rules. To count a gig I have to purposefully go to see the gig and know who I’m going to see. It doesn’t matter if it’s free. I don’t count seeing a pub band just by wandering in somewhere without knowing who’s playing.

One gig may include any number of bands/acts. When counting bands/acts as a separate tally I have to see a significant proportion of the performance (OK, a bit vague but you know when you know) …. oh and I need to know who I saw… obviously!

RNLI open day – didn’t count

Then there are festivals. My gigaholic counting rules make one day at a festival one gig. Two days is two gigs etc. Rules on counting bands/ acts still apply.

Glastonbury 2019 – 4 days so 4 gigs – that’s my rules

Comedians and acts without a substantial musical content don’t count. Writing out these rules I’m now thinking of Al Murray and his “You’ve gotta have rules…where would we be without rules?”(France) line. (…and too many rules? Germany!)

Jimmy Tarbuck and Des O’Connor (Poole) yes I did go – didn’t count. Not enough song content. 🙄

What prompted this obsessive output on rules was last night. I was out around Poole with friends (TEv, TGi) and caught four acts in four different pubs. I didn’t count them, given the rules, but always pleased to catch up with the locally legendary Lady Winwood’s Maggot in The Lord Nelson.

‘The Maggot’ in ‘The Nelson’ 16.8.19

Duo Samantha and Paul sounded good in The Stable. Only caught a few songs.

Nine Eyes were playing classic rock in The King Charles and The Kings Head had an open mic. My tally for the night 0 gigs 0 bands – that’s my rules.

Victorious Gems: Part 1. Slow Readers Club.

Headliners at the Victorious Festival (August Bank Holiday weekend, Southsea Common) are usually ‘very experienced’ and appeal to the more mature end of the broader festival going crowd (myself included), but with so many acts there is still always the chance of a couple of new gems. A couple from 2017 that I really enjoyed are now going places after extensive touring. One of these is THE SLOW READERS CLUB.

I was recommended THE SLOW READERS CLUB by friends [DPi/APi] so went to see them on the Seaside Stage first in 2016. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t more popular and when they returned in 2017 and played two sets (opening the Main ‘Common’ Stage and another Seaside Stage set) I was disappointed there weren’t bigger throngs of people to see them.

The ‘Readers’ open up main stage at noon – Victorious 2017
T.H.E.S.L.O.W.R.E.A.D.E.R.S.C.L.U.B – Seaside Stage -Victorious 2017

This indie pop/ rock band from Manchester gave up their jobs at the end of 2018 and went for it. Seems things have really picked up with a European and UK tour, a UK top 20 album and some big sell out Manchester gigs. I caught up with them at the Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms in March this year and took a trip to Glasgow last December and saw them at the Glasgow Art School.

Slow Readers Club – Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea – March 2019
Aaron Starkie – Slow Readers Club – Glasgow December 2018
SRC – Glasgow Art School – December 2018

Some good nights. The Art School burned down and was refurbished just in time for that gig.

For a taster check out: Lunatic; On the TV; I saw a Ghost.

Victorious Gems: Part 2. Crows

I was drifting across the Castle Stage area at Victorious Festival in 2017, early afternoon, with friends on the way somewhere and we put the brakes on when we saw CROWS. I hadn’t heard of them. They hadn’t released much at all at that point – just a few tracks available. The lead singer was captivating – a modern day Ian Curtis thing going on. I hung around for the rest of the set. Loved it. A modern punchy take on late 80s post punk bands.

Crows – stopped us in our tracks – Victorious Castle Stage 2017

I haven’t managed to see them live since but they seem more active this year with a new album ‘Silver Tongues’.

They have been supporting Idles on tour this year so sure to get noticed more. I just bagged some tickets to see them in November in the small basement bar that is The Anvil, Bournemouth. Looking forward to that.

I wonder if we will see any hidden gems this year at Victorious – a week to go now.

James Cox – CROWS – Victorious 2017

Looking forward to Victorious Festival 2019 …and backwards to 2018

Less than two weeks now to what regularly turns out to be the bargain festival of the summer. VICTORIOUS FESTIVAL on Southsea Common, Portsmouth. I’ve been for the last four years and each time bought early bird tickets (£30/day) for the following year without knowing who’s coming.

All the photos I put on here are my own. Usually that will be a pocket zoom camera or a poorer mobile phone shot but at outdoor events I take a better bridge camera. Nothing special, I don’t want it to get in the way but outside with a little backpack the bridge camera gets better shots.

Looking back to last year here’s some snaps I took then. It was the last stand of course for THE PRODIGY, who headlined the Sunday. It wasn’t long before Keith tragically ended it all.

The Prodigy – Keith Flint RIP
Louise – Sleeper
Weller
Embrace
Happy Mondays
Gaz Coombes
Billy Bragg

Killing Joke back on home turf

KILLING JOKE + Radical Dance Faction at Subterania, Ladbroke Grove 10.8.19

A more intimate gig for Killing Joke, if Killing Joke can be intimate, in the club under The Westway which holds less than 500 I’d say.

No wonder this one sold out so quickly. Apparently they used to come down here when they were youths, when it was Ackland Halls. Indeed they played here in 1980.

Chaos at the bars with cash only and then till fault as the temperature cranked up. A real steamy joint.

Settled for edge of a potential mosh pit. Views from balcony surrounding stage must be good if you get to the rail.

Radical Dance Faction to start. Reggae sounds. Hints of Clash about it.

Killing Joke confined by quite a small stage area with Paul drumming low down behind. Didn’t stop Jaz from his animated air grasping theatricals.

Set was unpredictable with The Wait, Eighties, Wardance and Psyche being my high spots.

I have honestly never been so hot at a gig. My thin shirt was drenched. Jaz required ice pack treatment – maybe another ailment, I’m not sure.

A great opportunity to catch them at this small gig. They clearly enjoyed this nostalgic return and so did I. Youth took his own phone pics before they disappeared.

Afterwards there was an impromptu mass photo with a large group of us reluctant to leave. I assume this is one of those venues where they get the band out of the way and the old rockers out before round two starts as a club.

Our remaining group of three ambled off in a fruitless search for a late night curry.

The Castle was a decent pre-gig pint venue. Walking up from Portobello Road seems the best idea. Plenty of places to eat early on. Shutters down by 11pm mind.

Subterania: Killing Joke
Jaz Coleman
Killing Joke: music to march to………………the wardance

Last gig nearly two weeks ago! Tonight White Denim.

Two weeks without a gig is a bit of a novelty for me in recent years. Good job really. A foot ailment made my last couple hard work.

A drive to Portsmouth (Southsea) for the fast, loud and intricate WHITE DENIM at the Wedgewood Rooms – great small venue – where I found a ledge to sit on near the mixing desk. Watched with one shoe off and foot swelling. That’s commitment.

White Demin – Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

I was recommended this lot (AEn) as someone I’d like. I did. Really got into them listening to several albums on Spotify. Latest ‘Side Effects’ 2019 and favourite being ‘Stiff’ from 2016. So glad I caught them. Ferocious musicians at times and despite the intensity they still played for over 90mins.

I like the Wedgewood Rooms. Good small to moderate size. Quick bar service. Pubs in easy walking distance. Parking worth looking up if driving – advice on their website helpful.

Went on my own to this one on a Monday night with a 90 minute drive to get there. Still worth it. White Denim don’t come over to the UK much.

GigswithIvan: a grey-haired gig goer

I’m a 59 year old grey haired gig goer. I get to a lot of gigs and festivals in a variety of places. The last five years or so it’s cranked up a notch with the help of a similarly (even more gigaholic) enthusiastic mate and my gig-loving wife.

I seem to be on one massive tour and keep squeezing in the music where I can.

Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper with The Hollywood Vampires at Birmingham Resorts Arena (NEC)

I thought I could leave a blog trail as I go on my gigaholic wanderings – the bands – my photos – the venues – the festivals – bits on travel and parking – the odd handy pub and all that stuff.

With Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs at The Roundhouse

All photos are my own unless I mention otherwise. I use a Panasonic compact pocket-sized zoom mostly, a TZ60. Unobtrusive and only ocasionally not permitted, and that’s where there is a no phones or cameras rule which I always abide by. I occasionally take a better Nikon bridge camera to outdoor gigs, especially festivals so the pics there are best quality. Then there are gigs when I forget my camera, run out of battery etc 🙄

Keith Flint of The Prodigy at Victorious Festival

My mobile phone camera is pretty bang average, on an older Samsung A6, but I do take an occasional video clip if it isn’t going to get in anyone’s way – I like a pillar or a wall behind me. In Spring 2022 I started putting these on a YouTube channel. It saves memory on the WordPress account if nothing else but is getting hundreds of views in its own right, occasionally over a thousand. Link to my Grey-Haired Gig Goer channel.

The Covid pandemic hit activities hard but through my blogs you can see the various attempts to keep gig-fit and measures brought in during this awful period in our history.

Keep rocking!

Gary Numan – Bristol O2 Academy
  • Bob Dylan – live in Bournemouth, England
    At fairly short notice I was amazed to see that Bob Dylan was coming to Bournemouth – I had to buy a ticket – sat in the BIC with Bob onstage and it’s still hard to believe he’s here.
  • The Hunna – live in Southampton
    Rock-tober is over and it’s gig 83 of the year for this grey-haired gig goer: a mid-week trip to The Engine Rooms to see The Hunna.
  • The Damned – live in Hammersmith
    The Damned original line up gather in Hammersmith for two nights of gritty punk nostalgia. The grey-haired gig goer returns to see them in Hammersmith after 42 years….wearing the same badge.
  • The Blow Monkeys – live in Islington
    Dismiss any thoughts of 80s pop band plugging away – last two albums from the 2007 reformation of the original Blow Monkeys are top drawer.
  • Deep Purple – live in Birmingham
    My gig going tonight strays into the traditional heavy rock scene – never thought when I was a dismissive punk influenced youth that one day I would be at a Deep Purple gig, lapping up Smoke on the Water along with the hairies.