Usually sometime after Christmas and as we start to head into Spring, that well-known festival feeling starts to kick in. This is when I can mostly be found impatiently waiting for line-up announcements, daydreaming of wellies and ponchos, and meticulously planning just how many festivals I’ll be squeezing in this year.
Luckily for us on the South Coast, Portsmouth have introduced Icebreaker Festival, a very aptly named winter festival which has quickly grown into a fantastic indoor music event to tide you over in the cold months whilst you wait it out for “outside” festival season.
This year Icebreaker fell during Independent Venue Week – and what a great way to celebrate all the brilliant independent music venues we have on our doorstep in Southsea. From the Wedgewood Rooms at one end of Albert Road right the way up to The Honest Politician on Elm Grove, there were over 100 bands playing across ten venues so there was definitely something for everyone.
Icebreaker Festival focuses on bringing new and up and coming talent together and the best part is not recognising all of the bands on the line-up. This year we managed to stumble upon some amazing musicians that we’d never heard of before, as well as catching a couple of old favourites.
The first port of call was The Loft to grab our wristbands and the first beer of the day, and watch the five-piece rock band, We Capture Kings. This group were full of energy and gave a great performance to kick start our afternoon.
Next stop was Little Johnny Russells to catch last minute addition to the line-up, The Bayonettes. A powerful guitar driven indie-rock band, with an unstoppable rhythm section and edgy vocals. This band have a heavyweight modern sound, a hint of 90s Britpop and one hell of an enthusiastic drummer! As a long term fan, it was great for me to see them live again.
After a while it was time to head to The Wedge for something a little heavier, which came in the form of three-piece metal band, Hummune (Immune to humans). This band have been around for seven years and kicked off 2016 with a very loud set which we really enjoyed headbanging along to.
Other highlights from the day included acoustic trio Villiers, and self-described ‘pessimistic music for optimists’ band, Battery Hens, both performing at The One Eyed Dog. We also heard great things about Kill ‘Em Dead Cowboy, metal band Belligerence, and The Aviators – just a shame we couldn’t see everyone! Not to forget the awesome silent disco to end the night’s festivities.
You’d be really hard pushed to find a live event featuring this much musical talent anywhere else at this time of year, so Icebreaker Festival has definitely become an unmissable addition to our ever-growing music scene here in Southsea. With brilliant musicians of all genres and a great range of venues to choose from – it wasn’t a bad way to spend a chilly Saturday this winter.
If you would like to stay up to date with all things Icebreaker 2017 then go and give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter @IcebreakerUK.
For information on set times check out the listings which will be available on the day. There are a number of tickets available priced at £10 in advance or £12 on the day from the Wedgewood Rooms box office, for more info on how you can get yours click here. You can follow the event on their Facebook and Twitter @IcebreakerUK.
The Kings Theatre Open Day returns on tomorrow (Saturday 16th January), to give the whole family a day out to remember and a behind the scenes experience of the beautiful Edwardian theatre. From 10am to 4pm you are welcomed to explore areas of the theatre you never usually get to see, with a technical tour of the stage house and a trip to the fly floor, or learn about the history of the theatre on one of the historical tours.
As well as exploring you can also try your hand at Ukulele ‘jamming’, take part in a stage workshop with the Kings Youth Theatre, or show them your best pose in our 80’s vs 90’s photo booth. Join Fareham College backstage in the dressing rooms for character make-up demonstrations, casualty special effects and character transformations with special wig and makeup techniques.
If you are interested in the history of the Kings, and the restoration of the building, an exhibition and information will be in the promenade with archivists to chat to. HMS Warrior will also have an archive exhibition and workshop taking place within the Matcham Bar.
At 3pm, a showcase of performances will take place on the stage with some sneak previews of upcoming shows this year. A day not to be missed!
Tickets are £5 single and £15 family and can be bought at the box office (phone 02392 828282) and online at the Kings Theatre website:
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without our friends at Civilisation Of the Rough hosting their annual Boxing Day shin dig and this year is no different. COR will be taking over the The Kings pub on Albert Road from 8pm until the early hours of the morning.
There will be 250 tickets available and this event is expected to sell out quickly as it always does, so I encourage you to get yours promptly. Tickets are priced at £8.50 and can be purchased here www.cordisco.co.uk/tickets. For more information in the build up get yourself involved on the Facebook Event page here.
This year they have lined up a special guest and one of the finest house and balearic DJs on the planet, Nancy Noise. Support on the night comes from COR regulars Mark Persaud, Leon Windsor, Steve Laming, Rosko Prior and Big Micky Hood. For a sneak preview of what you can expect check out this recent mix put together by Nancy on SoundCloud.
Sunday 1st November Joe Black will be taking over the Kings Theatre fwith a collection of delightful friends for a special Halloween edition of the House Of Burlesque.
Scarlett Daggers – Burlesque rock and roll redhead! International hot rod greaser girl and pyromaniac! Professor Elemental – Mad professor! Hip hop surrealist! Steam powered man of lunacy! Internet sensation and wearer of piff helmets. Cherry Shakewell – Shimmier! Shaker! Burlesque powerhouse and striptease sensation! Andrew O’Neill – Stand up comedian! Occultist! Transvestite! “Andrew O’Neill is like a comedy ball-lightning. Fast, electrifying and even funnier than the misfortune of others.” – Alan Moore. Lena Mae – Burlesque triple threat! Flirty, vivacious and a total knock-out! Vie O’Lette – Burlesque clown and perpetrator of ridiculous behaviour! Cherry Liqour – Ice Cream impersonator and female dis-illusionist. 40% Woman. 60% Wig. Terms Of Unnervement – Resident double act. Absurd! Surreal! Hilarious!
So Dials Festival is fast approaching taking place on the 3rd October from the early afternoon to late in the evening and in the spirit of Southsea Fest a grand number of emerging artists from all across the U.K shall be playing across various venues in Albert Road with an after party at the Wedgewood Rooms taking place after the event. It’s certainly going to be the perfect way to be rid of those post-summer festival blues and will no doubt be one of the highlights in the Portsmouth events calendar.
Our next preview comes from one of the buzziest and best emerging acts in the country who smashed it recently at Victorious Festival in front of thousands being Fickle Friends. Racking up quite literally millions of plays on Spotify and SoundCloud, the new-wave, electronic pop outfit from Brighton with heavyweight support from everyone from Radio 1 to NME are going to be bringing their sun soaked, tropical pop sound to Southsea once more to The Wedgewood Rooms. For a new, new music festival, it’s a great coup to get Fickle Friends playing for us.
To see Fickle Friends and 40 plus more phenomenal emerging acts then you can get tickets here. Tickets are just £18 (that’s about five beers!!) so it’s an absolute bargain to say the least. You can find out more details on the Dials Facebook and also on Twitter on @DialsFestival.
Dials Festival the collaborative, new multi-venue music festival ran by Strong Island, Strong Island Recordings, Hong Kong Gardner’s Club, Breaking More Waves, Wedgewood Rooms and Pie & Vinyl has announced additions to the line-up already consisting of Hooton Tennis Club, Kagoule, Black Honey, Chloe Black, Curxes, Broken Hands, Rickyfitts and loads more. The festival will be in place of Southsea Fest for 2015 to ensure a multi-venue, new music festival across various venues and pubs can still take place.
Leading the latest additions is the super fun Dingus Khan who headline the Little Johnny Russells stage and BBC 6 Music favourites, scuzzy, infectious, fuzzy, indie-pop London outfit Crushed Beaks who will headline The Loft. Other additions to the bill include doom laden psychedelic meets raw punk outfit Crows who were recently handpicked to support Wolf Alice and are also set to support Metz on their UK tour plus Strong Island Recordings label family and one of the best new live bands in the country, primal, doom grunge pop trio Gang who return to Portsmouth and are no doubt going to bring the house down as well snotty, garage punk trio Skinny Girl Diet (who if you dig Ty Segall and Coachwips, you will love) psych meets slacker pop Londoners, Honey Moon who are are like a cross between Mac DeMarco and Kurt Vile, self proclaimed “poolside pop” Icelandic by the way of Brighton outfit Dream Wife, electro – hip hop influenced-pop artist Frankie Knight, indie outfit Fever plus local favourites Damn Beats, Number 9 and Sam McCarthy.
Dials Festival will take place on the 3rd October across five venues in Albert Road being Wedgewood and Edge of the Wedge (all ages), Little Johnny Russells (18 + after 7pm), Al Burrito (18 + after 8pm) and The Loft (18+ only) and features 40 plus acts playing across the entire day to the late evening plus a Dials after party that will be taking place at The Wedgewood Rooms with Dials deejays. Tickets for the festival are just £15 at a very limited early-bird rate until Monday when they go up to £18. You can purchase tickets at Kings Theatre over on their site or you can get them in store at Strong Island, Pie & Vinyl. Dress Code and Wedgewood Room.It will no doubt be a great festival and if you loved Southsea Fest then Dials Festival will be for you and perfect for any potential post Victorious blues.
So as you may have seen at the end of last week, the line-up to Dials Festival , a collaborative, new music festival ran between Strong Island, Strong Island Recordings, Pie & Vinyl, Breaking More Waves, Wedgewood Rooms and Hong Kong Gardners Club has been announced and will take place on the 3rd October. The idea for the festival to make sure a multi-venue, new music festival can still take place in Portsmouth with the saddened absence of Southsea Fest this year. Leading up to our festival in October we’re going to be running weekly previews of various acts playing the festival.
If you read NME or listen to BBC 6 Music often you most probably have come across Dials’ headliners, Liverpool’s Hooton Tennis Club who are signed to one of the finest UK labels being Heavenly Recordings (Toy, The Wytches, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard). Hooton Tennis Club (or HTC for short) create wonderful, scuzzy, infectious indie meets sun-soaked, garage pop. It’s like Teenage Fanclub and Pavement meets the likes of King Tuff and Parquet Courts. HTC’s debut album ‘Highest Point In Cliff Town’ drops at the end of August and has already gained very favourable reviews and hotly tipped by the likes of Mojo and NME. You’re no doubt going to be hearing a lot more of these guys over the next year or two so be sure to catch them early at Dials.
Tickets for the festival are just £15 at a very limited early-bird rate so get them before the prices go up. You can get the tickets at Kings Theatre over on their site or you can get them in store at Strong Island where we have a very limited offer where if you purchase an early-bird ticket in store we’re giving away a free white 7″ vinyl. Other outlets included Pie & Vinyl, Dress Code and also The Wedgewood Rooms. Either way it’s just £15 for 40 plus bands across five venues. You can find the line-up confirmed so far below with more announcements coming very soon and you can keep up to date with Dials Festival on Twitter on @DialsFestival.
Strong Island and Strong Island Recordings are very proud and excited to announce our involvement in the up coming, brand-new festival Dials Festival taking place across various venues along Albert Road on the 3rd October as well as being able to announce the line-up so far. After the sad news of Southsea Fest taking a year off, we banded together with some familiar faces including The Wedgewood Rooms, Pie & Vinyl, Hong Kong Gardner’s Club and seminal blog Breaking More Waves to still be able to bring a community based, multi-venue, music festival to the city.
Dials Festival will take place across five venues along Albert Road being The Wedgewood Rooms, Edge of the Wedge, Little Johnny Russells, Al Burrito and The Loft. The aim of the festival isn’t to replicate Southsea Fest but retain its ethos of a strong, community festival bringing some of the finest new national acts along with some of the finest acts from around the area to Albert Road for one day. There will be no specifically branded stages at Dials Festival but five venues with a diverse, eclectic mix of acts from day to the evening.
The festival will feature over 40 acts across the day with Hooton Tennis Club signed to Heavenly Records (Toy, King Gizzard, The Wytches) headlining the festival plus the likes of Kagoule, Black Honey, Lyza Jane, Chloe Black, Alice Jemima, Broken Hands, Storms, Morning Smoke, Many Things, Bones, Peluche, Walleater and many more coming down to Southsea along with some of the finest local acts including New Desert Blues, Jerry Williams, Popobawa, The boy i used to be, Bellyeyesmile, Rickyfitts, Battery Hens, Dead Rabbits, Curxes, Wyldest and loads more splendid acts from the area. The full line-up of acts confirmed so far can be found below the article.
Tickets are on sale now at a very limited early-bird price of just £15. That’s £15 for 40 plus acts across five venues from day to evening with some of the finest new acts in the UK. Tickets can be purchased at the Kings Theatre here, in store at Strong Island, Pie & Vinyl, Dress Code as well as The Wedgewood Rooms. There will also be details of an after-party also which your Dials ticket will gain you access to. This is the biggest musical event we have ran yet so we can’t wait for October 3rd. We hope to see many of you there as us and our Dials team bring a new musical venture to the city.
You all know the drill by now. Two DJs, one set of headphones, two channels to choose from, and one dance floor full of people singing and dancing in a room with no music. Get involved! Battling it out for your attention on the night will be the Little Johnny Russell‘s resident DJs and It’s A Sin.
We burst the bubble again last weekend for a pretty epic ramble, or should I say hike. Taking the advice of the Guardian Newspaper we embarked on a 6 hour walk across the North Wessex Downs. Although the walk is a good 45 minute drive away it’s well worth the journey and the reward at the end is one of the finest pubs I’ve ever eaten at, the Roayl Oak. Check out my Flickr for the full set.
I’ve been following Pompeyshoes on Flickr for a while now, yet somehow missed this great shot of a sunset down on the seafront. Be sure to check his Portsmouth & Southsea set for more great photos and interesting perspectives.
Cody needs no introductions, ever. The nicest guy you’ll ever meet with a heart of a gold and the skateboard mentality of an escaped mental patient.
If you need conformation of that statement then check this photo I grabbed from some site called Facebook. Off the clubhouse roof into the flat bank down Southsea Skatepark. Nuts…
Shortly after I posted this insane photo of Cody going nuts down the skatepark, he sent a reply. Thought i’d post it up so people that know him can have a read.
“Thank u for the nice word. I just have to say thank you to all the peeps and friends that have help and shape me as a sk8er and as a human being. The love that i have been shown over the years is so big. The friend and peeps i have met and change my life and change my path to some thing good. I truly say it with my heart that i love you all and i hope to make more friends and to have more good time. Here a shout out to all the u.k sk8 scene and the southsea boys and girl sk8er or not, much love. and to the guys like strong island crew and bored sk8 for keeping the u.k. scene going. So if u up for a sk8 drink or chill u find me in southsea. 1 love bye cody x”
Awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back. Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Epic. Hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guilders, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on. To view the full collection head over to Pop Olive’s Flickr photostream HERE and the Portsmouth set HERE.
With Portsmouth’s long history and particular geography it’s public transportation systems have been varied and have changed dramatically over the years. Over the next few weeks we are going to focus briefly on some of the more interesting ones, starting with the Portsmouth Trolleybuses.
The Portsmouth Trolleybus service provided by the Portsmouth Corporation was first introduced on the 4th August 1934 and covered most of the island and up to Cosham. The trolleybuses themselves were like normal double decker buses but were powered by overhead power cables like trams. The power lines for the trolleybuses criss-crossed overhead above the roads with routes and these wires became a constant in the city’s skyline, much like modern San Francisco and Vancouver.
The Guildhall (buildings in the distance are where the council buildings are now)
The trolleybus service continued until the 27th July 1963 and then sadly the wires torn down and almost all of the trolleybuses scrapped, today only two of the trolleybuses survive. No. 201, which was in Portsmouth’s transport museum before being moved, now lives on display in Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. No. 313 was the very last trolleybus to run but now is in fully restored working order and running at East Anglia Transport Museum (see it running here).
Ready for scrap (with the old airport in the background)
You can find out about all of the trolleybuses and see more photos here and watch below to see them in action with super8 footage from the 1950s and 1960s. Still looks strange seeing traffic through Guildhall Square.
P.S. Will the Portsmouth transport museum ever find a new home?
The guys over at www.saftandboneless.co.uk have put together a nice little edit from the Bike Ride on April 4th. It really shows the vibe of the day well. Good times. I better get on the phone and book the Police escort for August.
As with so many things that are right on your doorstep, you always say yeah I’ll go do that soon, but never do. Me and Liz had the day off together and rode around a few places before popping to the Museum after saying we’d go for years now.
If you like your local history then I advise going down. Check the Portsmouth City Museum website for more information. Click read more at the bottom for a few more snaps.
Coastguard Studio this past weekend was host to it’s fifth (if I remember right) exhibition in a matter of six months or so, this one being a spin-off show to to the hugely successful Under the Spotlight exhibition earlier this year. Under the Spotlight | Photography brought together 30 photographers who are either based in Portsmouth or have strong ties with the city and the large open plan gallery space was packed full of diverse and engaging work.
I started off in the bar area, grabbing a beer and then checking out the panels lining the walls to this back space of Coastguard Studio. The first series that caught the eye were a pair of medium format, multiple exposures by Matt Ankers. I’ve seen a lot of Matt’s digital and commercial work (such as Victorious) so it was great to see his more personal work. The two images complemented each other well with emotive seaside scenes shot locally. Great to see film well represented in the exhibition. Next door on the wall was a series of film-noir inspired portraits by University of Portsmouth student Harry Murphy. This small wall right from the get go showed the incredible diversity of work produced for the exhibition and the different backgrounds of the contributors.
Work by Matt Ankers.
Work by Harry Murphy.
Another eye catching and intriguing panel was by Deborah Holton. The panel of 4 matched images showed x-ray collections of objects found on beach walks, going back over a decade or more. Each individual beach collection was kept in a 35mm film canister and could consist of beach glass, stones, sand and more. The idea behind the project and the dedication and composition consistency elevated this work to a highly conceptual piece that I’m sure inspired a few people to consider striking up their own ambitious concepts and projects in the future.
Work by Deborah Holton.
Also in this space were works by Andrew Hayward whose photography we’ve featured on a few occasions on Strong Island. On display were a small set of Andrew’s personal project capturing the oasis feel of service stations at night (also recently exhibited in a solo show with Aspex Gallery and Portsmouth Guildhall). The different garages shot in the same compositional style created a sense of consistency in the panel, drawing the eye in to discover more about the lit forecourts and bringing to mind the memories of late night road trips with friends and finding a sanctuary of fuel for the car and for the passengers. We’re actually exhibiting Andrew’s latest project in Strong Island Co very soon, keep an eye out for details.
Also shown in the room was work by Billie Cawte with her series of photos of projections shot around Portsmouth. These carefully considered images matched a location with a projection of a vintage image, shot at night, instilling a sense of continuity of a sense of place extending beyond normal, individual perceptions of time. These also, in a pleasantly strange way, bring to life forgotten functional corners of buildings. There was lots more to see in this space with other work by local photographers, I spent a little more time looking around before moving in to the large, open main exhibition space.
Straight away it was great to see the place so busy. It was early-ish on the Saturday night and the place was full of people of all ages checking out the work and chatting. Its always great to take a step back in an exhibition and just see people enjoying it. There is way too much work to go through individually here but a few panels really caught my eye for very different reasons. In one corner were a series of 360 images taken by Guilhem Brandy which showed different, familiar, spots around the city in an interesting new way. Changing up perspectives of familiar places is something I personally really like and this series from Albert Road, Southsea Seafront, Garrison Church and Guildhall Square drew you in to find out more.
One of the many great things about a shared exhibition is that the work touches on so many different subjects, drawing out many different thoughts and feelings from the people viewing the work. In a matter of a few steps you could take in the B&W film street photography by Matt Maber exploring the physical, social and cultural boundaries of Fratton Park on a Saturday afternoon through to the questioning and bold nudes by Ashton Keiditsch. In particular the powerful image of a lady with a partial mastectomy meant that the exhibition tackled some heavyweight subjects and these honest and questioning portraits looking at contemporary body image issues rightly raised discussion. The work reminded me of the recent series by Bryan Adams and also The Battle We Didn’t Choose.
Work by Ashton Keiditsch.
Also panels that caught the eye included: the photos of Diana Goss whose work has a foot in each of her professions: photography and psychotherapy, the long exposures by both Elmer Maniebo and Jon Neil, the portraits by Aaron Bennett, the views on old age by Yasmin Collins and so, so much more. Hopefully the photos below give you a glimpse.
If you want to see the work in person the exhibition is open until Friday from 12pm to 2pm. Check the Coastguard Studio Facebook page for more information HERE.
There’s more than ‘meats’ the eye to Portsmouth. A city where everyone in the know goes. Classic stuff. Kojak takes time between sucking lollipops and fighting crime to give us the 411 on Portsmouth city through the ages. Love the eclectic soundtrack. Thanks to Harry for posting this up for us in a previous article. Here’s looking at you Portsmouth…