(ED: Before you read on, I’d like to add that this is not ACTUALLY a review. It’s more of a recollection of my day at Southsea Fest between the bits I managed to remember between vast amounts of Sailor Jerry’s Mojitos. Credit to Mark Hayward, Adam Wintle and Dave Butler respectively for the the photos/videos I have used to complete this piece).
After being awoken by the arrival of Fights & Fires at 2am Saturday for a bed on my living room floor, I woke up about 10.30am. I chucked the Final Round… FIGHT! merch box into their van, and walked down to The Deco, followed by a trip to the Kings Theatre to grab wrist bands, a pop into The Wine Vaults Southsea DIY stage to say hello, and various other meet and greets throughout said journey. The first thing I noticed was the out-of-whack times for our stage. They seemed to be half an hour behind the times we had been told, and a massive typo stated that we were on at “14.99”. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TIME THAT IS.
First on the agenda, WHERE THE HELL IS MY BEER? I think my first tin of the day arrived in my hand at about 11.30. Beer necked, merch set up and a quick hello to the rest of the FR…F! boys and Lara who was running the The Deco stage, we legged it down to The Edge Of The Wedge for Hold Your Horse Is.
We arrived to see the last 3 songs of UTE, but somehow not even by the first band the BSM/Alcopop stage was already running late according to the times. UTE finished their set just as HYHI were meant to be starting, which was interesting to say the least. I’d not heard them before, but the reminded me of Shapes if they had an acoustic guitar. So a quick “SOZ LOL, HVE FUN, BYE!” to James and Robin was followed by a walk back to The Deco and set our stuff up. On the walk back Ash (our drummer) raided a shop for Lucozade to cure his Whiskey hangover to get back on it later.
We arrived, saw the last couple of Kodiak Jack’s songs, got more beer in us, set up, line checked and played our half an hour set. Good fun, nice and big crowd (we have low expectations to turn outs from experience), and some crowd surfing/failed human pyramids for good measure. I don’t think The Deco staff/door staff were too pleased with me ending our set stood on the bar with a cymbal stand smashing the crap out of it with a drum stick, meh, deal with it. I was still nice enough to wipe the bar down for them afterwards so we’re even.
It was at this point they ran out of Red Stripe at The Deco and started handing out Desperados instead, RESULT. I think I managed to drink about 3 of them during the Fights & Fires set that followed ours, which was cracking to say the least. A stage dive off a pillar, crowd surfing on a pedal case, a circle pit, Phil in his pants and Ryan being over-the-top as usual.
So after F&F I went and looked after the merch desk for a while and watched The Exposed from the back. I’d not seen them properly before, but had heard them through a wall when practicing while I was babysitting The Old Blacksmiths studio a long time ago. An enjoyable set and a tight punk band, although I think I’d have enjoyed them much more when I was 15 and bands like Rancid and Anti-Flag were my religion. All-in-all, a nice blast from the past.
Exposed done, kit share block for the stage also done, I packed up our stuff and walked it to my flat, walked back to help F&F pack up, drop the van off also at my flat, and go enjoy the rest of my day.
This is when the drink started to take it’s toll (it’s only 2.30pm, uh-oh) but we ended up in The Wine Vaults for the Southsea DIY stage just in time for You Me And The Atom Bomb. Last time I saw them was the SSMC show the weekend I was celebrating my 23rd birthday, when they played ‘Won’t Let Go’ as I crowd surfed in a half-cut state singing every word. Needless to say it made another appearance for Southsea Fest, although the upstairs was so rammed I stood at the back singing along with a Sailor Jerry’s Mojito in one hand and the other punching the air. Hud’s bass seemed to be having difficulty and cutting out which was pretty annoying considering his job in adding to YMATB’s small 3-piece, gruff Punk soundscape is quite important, but you can’t blame the band’s performance for that.
As the Southsea DIY stage went on their catch-up time break (festival promoters note: this is a genius idea), it was time to trot down Albert Road for the band I was most looking forward to; &U&I. I don’t really know what to say here, as I loved Blakfish so SO much and it’s not the same. By all means they were good, but at last year’s SSF I crowd surfed across The Edge Of The Wedge singing “it could be worse, you could be dead”. Maybe once they release something and I know how the songs go I’ll get into them more, but for now I left the Edge a victim of over hyping something too much.
It was at this point where the cocktail of booze really started to kick me in the face. I walked back to the Wine Vaults just in time for The Cut Ups. All I really remember was them being as good as they usually are and enjoying it, but I was in no state to comment any further.
After a typical “always an pleasure” Attack! Vipers! set completed by the addition to my favourite song “Le Mort Noir” to the set and some crowd-surfing which got my photo in the local newspaper with Joe Watson’s name under it instead of mine, I headed outside for a cigarette only to be told by a member of the door staff I was too drunk to come back in. LOL.
I walked back to The Edge Of The Wedge and managed to get in for Pulled Apart By Horses thanks to some good timing before it became one in, one out with my old housemate Andy for some catching up. That’s the last thing I remember, next thing I knew I woke up at 8am in bed.
For my summary, I think I owe an apology: I do not remember a single part of PABH set which is A) a bit gutting as I’ve never seen them in a small venue but B) most importantly, there was probably at least one massive PABH fan outside who could not get in, who really should have had my place inside instead considering I have no memory of anything. I’m sure they would have remembered enjoying it to say the least.
I can’t say much more really other than what an awesome day it was and well done to all involved. Days like this make me remember in my cynical and bitter years that there is still a music scene worth being a part of in Portsmouth.