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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙄
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.