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Music & Bands

Victorious Festival 2014 Preview | #1 Dizzee Rascal

It’s just over a month until Victorious Festival begins. In the build up to the event we are going to be previewing some of highlights you can expect to find at the festival.

What better place to start than Dizzee Rascal. The East Londoner has established himself as one of the UK’s top Hip Hop acts since his 2003 debut ‘Boy in da Corner’. The three time Mercury Prize nominee has played some of the biggest international music festivals, including Glastonbury, Sziget and Coachella.

I was lucky enough to catch him at Bestival in 2010. It was a spectacular performance, he has a great stage presence and he clearly knew how to get a crowd moving. I’m looking forward to a set which should include tunes such as ‘Bonkers’, ‘Dance With Me’, his first big hit ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ and newest single ‘Still Sittin Here‘.

You can catch Dizzee Rascal headlining the Castle Stage on Saturday 23rd August.

Dizzee Rascal


Warning explicit content.

You can stay up to date on all things Victorious via Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August, adult day tickets are currently available for £20. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for FREE.

Victorious Festival 2014

Pie & Vinyl Presents… DZ Deathrays TONIGHT

This evening the team at Pie & Vinyl will be taking over the Cellars at Eastney along with DZ Deathrays, Rickyfitts & You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons.

As well as the awesome music you can treat yourself to P&V hot pies and delicious gluten – free vegan nibbles from Sweetie Pie, throughout the evening in the cozy Cellars courtyard garden.

Doors open at 7.30pm with tickets costing £5 are available from Southsea’s Pie and Vinyl & The Cellars at Eastney.

The Australian thrash pop duo DZ Deathrays hail from Brisbane and are visiting our Southcoast in preparation for their second album release Black Rat penciled in for UK release on August 18th (Of course we will be stocking it) and a bunch of festival appearances this summer…

Also in support are brothers a href=”https://www.facebook.com/rickyfittsband?fref=ts”>Rickyfitts, fresh off the back of their E.P. Release and the infamous You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons, who release their new album ‘Contact High’ this Monday 23rd.

Pie & Vinyl Presents...

Big Child Man Child ‘Worker To The Field’

Big Child Man Child have released their second track ‘Worker To The Field’. This follows their recent debut ‘Their Is A Question‘.

Not too much is known about Big Child Man Child but you can stay up to date on all things Big Child Man Child on Facebook and on Twitter @bcmcmusic. Fingers crossed that we get the chance to see Matt Jarvis and co play live very soon!

Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer and Grace Aquilina – Day Three

Despite the effects of the night before, those who have arisen from their partially soggy tents and dared to walk through alcohol and rain sodden hay look forward to listen to live music at The Wild Stage and in The Hustle Den at midday. In keeping with the wildlife theme the crowd was littered with all sorts of animal themed costumes, and what I can only expect was a stag party of monkey’s.

Burning Beaches took to the stage at 12:00pm in The Hustle Den, where sleepy eyes were literally opened in awe of the band’s soft rock sound. Heavy bass woke even the most sluggish and grungy vocals perfectly complimented a latte. The vocals echoed around the tent, emphasising the roughness and fervency.

Blissfields is without a doubt well-deserved of it’s reputation for finding and nurturing local artists and upcoming talent, and this year was no exception; Saturday brought with it the chance for discovering yet more new artists, one of which being Australian singer-songwriter Ry X. His hazy almost whispered vocals drew comparisons to The xx and Blissfields favourites London Grammar, and Ry X transfixed the audience throughout his set with his soft tenor tones. His track ‘Berlin’ is well worth a listen.

Later on in the afternoon, Floella Grace wowed her audience in The Larch to complete silence and a dream-like-state. Her dreamy, sobering vocals accompanied by fellow string player Gareth and two silvery-voiced backing singers made for an awesome and enlightening performance. The ukulele was played sweetly and harmoniously with the slightly more robust guitar; the entire performance being one of sincerity courtesy of her unvarnished, honest lyrics.

After Floella Grace’s soothing and lulling performance, the audience was re-awakened with the The Boy I Used To Be’s garage pop sound. With breathy, low vocals and slightly metallic guitar riffs, the band’s ‘sun-drenched’ sound ironically complimented the gloomy Great British Weather.

A personal highlight of Saturday was the chance to catch Laurel in the Hustle Den; she has truly developed her own distinctive style, although it is easy to see why over the last year she has been compared to Lana Del Ray, Lorde, and Laura Marling. On stage, she mesmerises the crowd with her sultry and coquettish presence, and switches effortlessly between softer and louder tracks, such as the lead song from her Blue Blood EP, which showcases the depth and richness of her voice.

By now sky was taken over with cloud but with temperatures still high anticipation grew for the headliner, 2ManyDJs, the semi-incognito side project of prolific 90s DJs Soulwax. The Dewaele brothers’ experience was evident throughout their set, with their ability to bring the crowd effortlessly through highs and lows, and build the sweat and alcohol fuelled festival-goers into a frenzy. However, while there were certainly some sore heads as Sunday morning dawned, there were plenty of wide grins too.

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Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014
Cosmo Sheldrake @ The Hustle Den
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Beans On Toast Presents… At The Larch Stage
BS5
Chlöe Howl @ The Wild Stage
Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014
Laurel @ The Hustle Den
Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014 Laurel
Laurel @ The Hustle Den

Final Southsea Fest Line Up Including Pulled Apart By Horses, Ed Harcourt & DZ Deathrays

Southsea Fest have announced the latest and final line up to the already marvellous bill which already includes the likes of Laurel, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Mazes, Blessa, Menace Beach, Kagoule, Eliza & The Bear and many more including local favourites Rickyfitts and Kassassin Street. The one day, multi-venue urban festival spanning across the intimate setting of Albert Road has pulled absolutely no punches with its latest additions and it looks set to be the biggest and best Southsea Fest yet.

Headlining the Wedge is gnarly hardcore punk, Leeds exports, Pulled Apart by Horses regarded by many as one of the best live acts today with their twisted, amp melting, gut busting ferocious sets. Their last Southsea Fest outing, for those fortunate to catch them was regarded as stuff of legend and with them playing the Wedge this year you’re four times more likely to be able to get a glimpse of their carnage. Along with Pulled Apart By Horses, Brisbane duo DZ Deathrays head back to Southsea and will deliver a face-melting, riot like set of thrash ridden pop. Another huge coup for Southsea Fest and headlining the Kings Theatre is established singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt who shall be a perfect fit for the glorious, Edwardian setting. Also on the bill confirmed is Fat Cat Record’s Glaswegian duo Honeyblood who deliver, scuzzy, grunge tinged, indie pop. Bringing the doom psychedelia and stoner rock is GANG, the latest signings to Strong Island Recordings who are ready to inflict a sonic assault upon senses with ear pounding riffs and gnarling, wailing vocals. Heading back to Southsea Fest is the splendid Talons who create intense and epic instrumental, math-post hardcore rock coated in  magnificently building violin sections also coated in merciless riffs. There are numerous other additions as well as in which you can find below.

Tickets are just £18 for what represents an incredible value for money and can be purchased HERE.

Pulled Apart By Horses -Ed Harcourt – Famy – DZ Deathrays – Flyte - Fear of Men – Laurel – Curxes – Talons – Brontide - Blessa – Mazes – Castles – Eliza & The Bear 100 Ounces – Alpha Male Tea Party – Andy Oliveri – Bad Grammar - Battery Hens – Beautiful Boy – Big Fin – Big Sixes – Body Hound - Boy Jumps Ship – Brawlers – Break-Ups  - Dear Everyone - Deluxe Flamingos – Doe – Eighteen Nightmares at the Lux – Elephantantrum - Eloise Keating – Emperor Yes – Employed To Serve – Fairweather Band -FALLS – Fickle Friends – Flash Fires – Floella Grace – Fred Page - FURS – Gang – Goodtime Boys – Gossling – Happy Accidents – Happyness - Harker – Holy Kasper – Honeyblood – House of Thieves – Hunter And The Bear - Iced Out – Jesse Wylde & The Stallions – Jimmy Islip and the Ghosts w/ Sam Russo - Joythief – Kagoule – Kassassin Street – Layers – Life – Lillian Todd Jones - LOOKS – Love Park – Lu’Ami – Lucky One Dies First – Lyger - Martha – Matt Emery – Matt Jarvis – Meadowlark – Menace Beach - Michael A Grammar – Natasha North – Nothing But Thieves - Osca – Passport to Stockholm – Pawws – Pedro Donkey - Personal Best – Phoria – Pixel Fix – Popabawa – Prides – Pure Graft - Racing Glaciers – Raglans – Richie & The Remedy - RickyFitts – Rough Hands – SACHA – Saint Agnes - Sam Brothers –  Slaves – Spring King – Tangled Hair – Teef – The B of The Bang - The Boy I Used To Be – The Cadbury Sisters – The Cairos – The Lion & The Wolf -The Magic Gang – The Plastic Beats Band – The Prestige - The Proper Ornaments – The Ramona Flowers – The SLM - The Southsea Alternative Choir – ThisPlanet – Thought Forms - Tigercub – Tom Moody – Trampolene – Uncle Luc – Unknown Soldiers – Waylayers - We The Wild – Woahnows – Wildest Dreams

Southsea Fest 2014 Poster

Floella Interview by Grace Aquilina

Grace Aquilina found time for a quick chat to Floella Grace just after she had completed her set in the Larch Stage at Blissfields last weekend.

Flo! Hi, so what did you think of Blissfields overall?
-Blissfields was amazing! Such a big impact for such a small festival. It really has its character nailed and they really treat their artists so well; a safe place to camp, loads of scrummy food and everyone’s always so on it with what’s going on!

What was your highlight, or favourite part of Blissfields?
-My favourite part was waking up to watch Jungle Book in the cinema tent with a cup of tea. Well, between that and Laurel riding the lion statue in the Hustle Den on our last night. That was good!

Have you got any EPs or albums planned?
-I do have a home studio now so there’ll be a lot of recordings and things happening. There’s a music video for a song I feature on coming out very soon and generally, this summer will be a hell of a lot busier than the last year!! I promise!

So, do you have anything that’s influenced or inspired you for the album?
-Well I have a kind of dream/shanty/surf/folk vibe going on for the album but I don’t really know where it’s come from particularly. The band that play and record with me are called Plastic Mermaids and two members of Fine Lines. They’re such amazing musicians individually so each of them has added their mark to my songs which has made this amazing sound.

And finally, what is music to you?
-Well, I guess music is everything to me; it was music that got me here! Most of my school days were spent being tormented by nasty kids and music was my way of pretending I was having revenge. When I quit my job and got myself kicked out, busking kept me eating. It’s the way I met most of my friends. It was how I got my internship and my job, through knowing the people I do through my music. It makes me happy and sad and when I play. It seems to do the same to everyone else. I love my music, I have to say it.

A huge thanks to Floella Grace, not only for the interview but for her humble, golden performance as well. It truly felt like a privilege to experience.

Floella Grace

Strong Island Sounds Podcast with Longlive Radio Episode 21

A touch later than usual, Charlie is back with the 21st episode of Longlive Radio for the Strong Island Sounds podcast:

If music be the food of love, play on, so said someone made up. So this week I’m looking at couples in music, there’s married couples in Win Butler & Régine Chassagne from Arcade Fire and Richard and Linda Thompson. Friends in Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, musical partners in Beach House and then ambiguous couple Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. I’m not sure where to start with The White Stripes = Siblings/Married….? As seems to be a habit now, I also unconsciously included James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky from The Smashing Pumpkins.

There’s other tunes from the ever brilliant Caribou, some vintage hip-hop from 3rd Bass, some funk from Lee Dorsey and Eugene McDaniels and from Sam’s Selection Box this week there’s John Prine with ‘Saddle In The Rain’.

Sadly, the day after I recorded this show, Bobby Womack passed away. I ended this particular show with his beautiful cover of ‘Everyone’s Gone To The Moon’, which now feels like a poignant tribute to an absolute hero. RIP x

Charlie

Rebellion (Lies) – Arcade Fire
Cherrystones – Eugene McDaniels
Give It Up – Lee Dorsey
I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight – Richard & Linda Thompson
Wild – Beach House
The Gas Face – 3rd Bass
Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground – The White Stripes
Disarm – The Smashing Pumpkins
Summer Wine – Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood
Ikyadarh Dim – Tinariwen
Saddle In The Rain – John Prine
Can’t Do Without You – Caribou
Bam Bam – Sister Nancy
Don’t Give Up – Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush
Everyone’s Gone To The Moon – Bobby Womack

Listen to the podcast episode below, or you can listen, subscribe and download it from iTunes. You can also find the latest Strong Island Sounds podcast episode on the Strong Island homepage under the comments section too.

Strong Island Sounds Podcast with Longlive Radio Episode 21

Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer – Day Two

As Friday morning dawned, four thousand Blissfieldians crawled bleary-eyed out of their tents and dragged themselves across the extended festival site for a good dose of caffeine and a pyjama-clad showing of The Jungle Book. The Electric Dreams tent proved popular for young and old alike over the course of the weekend, and there’s nothing like a rendition of Bear Necessities to bring everyone together!

Wolf Alice were first to take to the stage on Friday, as the awake half of Blissfields sprawled out on the grass before the Wild Stage and drank in their versatile sound, which combined hazy, folky vocals comparable to Daughter and First Aid Kit, with rocky riffs reminiscent of the Vaccines. Lead singer Ellie captured the mood, saying ‘this is the most chilled out and relaxed festival we’ve ever been to.’

During the afternoon, Strong Island-loved local artists didn’t let the ominous clouds steal their thunder, with Luke Ferre delivering a poignant set of new material to a ever-growing group of eager fans, and Bellyeyesmile treating the Hidden Hedge to a effortless blend of classic Krautrock, combined with other, more upbeat pop influences such as Neil Young and the Beach Boys.

As the evening drew in, Dan Croll brought his amped-up-acoustic sound to the Wild Stage, delivering crisp melodies and witty lyrics, not dissimilar to Blissfields veterans Spector. Croll’s track ‘Maway’ provided the perfect accompaniment to a my second butternut squash and halloumi burger in two days. Johnny Flynn also provided sunset pseudo-folk to his loyal Hustle Den crowd, which was packed with swaying bodies by sundown.

Finally, Sleigh Bells braved the downpour to shower fans with distorted vocals and dance beats. For those who were not quite as brave, inside the Hustle Den Gypsie Circus provided a carnival atmosphere with their bright and brazen contrasts of farcical pantomime style dancers with paper mache heads, and a beautifully embellished belly dancer, who warranted rather a different sort of cheer from the crowd…

Photos by Strong Island’s Stuart Barker and the awesome Daniel O’Neill

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Dan Croll @ The Wild Stage
Dan Croll
Dan Croll @ The Wild Stage, along with an awesome little drone camera.
Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer – Day One

Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer – Day One

Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer – Day One

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Burning Beaches Interview by Grace Aquilina

Last weekend at Blissfields, Grace managed to get hold of Burning Beaches’ lead singer, Sam McCarthy for a quick chat about his Blissfields experience.

Hello! So, what’s been your highlight of Blissfields so far?
Wolf Alice! Yeah, they’re friends from Camden, so yeah seeing them was really good. Also, hanging out with them yesterday was really fun.

Can people expect a Burning Beaches album or EP soon?
Oh, yeah! We’ve got another festival next month but as soon as that’s done we’re going to record another EP and get it out as soon as possible, hopefully September.

Sounds sweet! And so, about the EP: what’s the main inspiration for it? Have you been influenced much by other bands or genres?
Um, I don’t think so. No, not really, we’re just trying to do what we do live, but on record.

How has Blissfields been overall?
I’ve had such a great time at my first Blissfields. It was bigger than I expected. The mixture of people was a nice surprise too. It’s somewhere you can go a bit nuts with your mates but also has a great family vibe to it. I’ll definitely be going next year.

And finally, what is music to you?
Music plays such a big part in my life, whether I am playing with Burning Beaches or writing songs for other people, I am always keeping myself busy with it. Really cannot decide which I prefer- being in the studio or playing live.

Huge thanks to Sam for finally staying in one place so I could talk to him and also to the band, who were awesome when they played the Hustle Den! The music was raw and heavy (this could be partly due to them performing rather early and a night of drinking beforehand) but seriously, live rock and hot coffee isn’t the worst way to wake up.

Burning Beaches

Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer – Day One

And so again to Blissfields, the place to be to witness some of the best burgeoning talent that the South Coast has to offer, as well as plenty of established and memorable artists besides. This year brought with it a ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ theme, five versatile stages, and the first rain at Blissfields for nine years! However, the Great British weather was no match for our Blissfields artists, who came from far and wide to deliver their burgeoning talent to an awe-struck festival goers.

The festival site had evolved since last year, this year the main arena was larger and a second camping area was created. Other welcome additions to festival were our friends from Pie & Vinyl who were there selling their trademark delicious pies, psychedelic tie dye tee’s and obviously vinyl records. Making their Blissfields debut were the Bathing Under The Sky team, with a number hot tubs, hot showers and a sauna.

After setting up camp, a tour of the site, dinner (courtesy of The Breakfast Club) it was time to check out some music. On Thursday evening The Hustle Den stage played host to the Road to Blissfields winners, including Portsmouth champions The B of the Bang; the bang delivered a powerful set, which built tension through melodic changes and contrasting harmonies. The most memorable track culminated in a crescendo, incorporating every voice, and the repetition of the words ‘We All Stand On Thin Ice’, which lent an almost prayer-like sense to the track and made for a very impressive performance, without a doubt the B of the Bang’s best to date.

Fellow Portsmouth singer/songwriter Matt Jarvis also took to The Larch Stage, once again silencing his captive audience with promising new material, a relaxed acoustic tone, and heartfelt lyrics. Matt said of his Blissfields experience: “Just as last year, it was a really nice show for me. I always find it hard to perform well in front of a raucous audience, but in the Larch everyone was sat quietly around the stage, which made for a really intimate setting. It was all very chilled. Seeing so many familiar faces in the crowd helped to quash the pre-gig nerves that set in beforehand as well, so I must thank everyone who came to see me. The rest of my weekend was just great music, meeting awesome people, little sleep, and lots of food and drink. Perfect.”

Finally, the Dub Pistols brought raucousness with them well into the night and teased Blissed-out festival goers with the promise of a (mostly) sun-drenched weekend, and the perfect soundtrack to accompany it.

Photos by Daniel O’Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Features

Photos from Head Jam 2014

For the second year running Head Mens Hairdressing, Strong Island and My Dog Sighs (this year with Lex Luthor) put on the Head Jam street art event on Albert Road in Southsea. The yard out the back of Head and the Strong Island HQ had last year’s artwork covered during last week and Saturday saw local artists My Dog Sighs, Los Dave, M-One, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Stu Linfield, I am Posy, freakSTATIC, Midge and Samo get involved with new artwork on all of the walls plus the new sculpture too. Extra artwork is also being added today by My Name is Leila. A huge thank you to all the artists and to everyone who popped by throughout the day.

Check some of the photos from the day below, you can see a load more on our Flickr (which is a growing archive of our photography over the last 6 years) or on our Facebook page and if you want to pop in and have a look visit Head at 53 Albert Road.


































Southsea Comedy Festival Competition | Win Two Tickets

The first ever Southsea Comedy Festival opens with Eddie Izzard performing his most recent show ‘Force Majeure’ on 31st July and 1st August. We have a pair of tickets to give away for the Thursday 31st July performance. All you have to do to win this prize is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answer to the following three questions.

1) What is the name of the character voiced by Eddie in Cars 2?
2) In which American city did Eddie begin his 2014 tour Force Majeure?
3) For which charity did Eddie run an incredible 43 marathons in 51 days?!

The deadline for entries will be midnight Monday 21st July with the winner being announced Tuesday 22nd in the evening.

If you don’t want to risk missing out then Southsea Comedy Festival tickets are available by calling 0844 847 2362 and online at www.southseacomedyfestival.co.uk. You can follow the Southsea Comedy Festival on Twitter @SouthseaComedy.

Eddie Izzard Southsea Comedy Festival Logo

Southseacomedyfestival

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection

We’ve been exceptionally busy over at Strong Island HQ for the best part of 2014 so far and the latest Strong Island Clothing Co range has been in development for some time. We are now proud to announce the launch of our latest line of tee and crew designs for the Summer. This is the biggest run we have done to date and we wanted to ensure it was a really strong range so didn’t want to rush it.

We have a wide range of new colours and designs including our first 2 colour print on the popular Refuse to Sink and a return to our second tee style back in 2010 with a backprint (this time in navy) in the classic Strong Island logo. We also have a seriously strong collaboration with University of Portsmouth graduate and award winning letterform designer Andy Lethbridge AKA Hand Type. These are something truly special and we’re really stoked how they came out, the detail in the print really reflects the brush strokes of Andy’s work. We will have more on Hand Type and the development of these designs on Strong Island soon in a full interview. We also have pocket tees with the new Down the Hatch design which form part of something we are keeping under our hats for bit…some old favourites have been revisited too with new colourways and 2 new graphic tees as well. Our latest crew retains the same quality as before featuring ribbed side panels, a back neck loop, deep cuffs, a double v-insert on the neckline and raglan sleeves but with new striped cuffs. With a more contemporary and slimmer fit than most sweatshirts it’s certainly a more premium line. As always all our tees and crews are hand screenprinted in East London by the mighty Lovenskate, including the anchor signoff on the back and detail on the inside neck.

We have a few more mini launches coming up over the next few weeks including more tees, something for the cyclists out there, some very special hand produced items from Poland using original 1940′s techniques and also something to lounge on in summer and keep you warm in the winter. Not to mention another very special artist collaboration too.

All of the tees and crews from the main, initial drop will be available this weekend during Head Jam at Head Hairdressing, 53 Albert Road, Southsea (weather permitting). They will then go online in Shop Ahoy next week.

For now please enjoy our latest Lookbook shot by Strong Island Media over at Dell Quay, Chichester. The perfect day to go for a wander around the marina, fields and woodlands with a few cheeky beers at the Crown & Anchor.

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (1)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (2)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (3)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (4)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (5)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (6)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (7)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (8)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (9)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (10)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (11)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (12)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (13)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (14)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (15)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (16)

Strong Island, Lex Luthor & My Dog Sighs present Head Jam 2014 – Saturday 19th July

Last years Head Jam was such a resounding success with some of the nations best street artists that we eagerly began talking about the following year before the paint had even dried. We discussed how we could run the event again and where to do it, but the answer was simple and literally looking right at us. We hold it in the same place again. Make the courtyard at Head Hairdressing the centre of an annual event where the outcome is available to view for the year, then return, white wash the previous artwork away, and do it all again. After all, street art is an ever changing and developing media in it’s own right and in it’s usual environment where it gets ripped down, tagged, covered in fly posters, lost to demolition and built on, the artists have no fear of their art being lost. It’s part of the job so to speak…

Rick from Head Hairdressing at 53 Albert Road (just along from the Wine Vaults and next to Southsea Gallery) conceived the idea of having the courtyard to the rear of the local barbers transformed in to a permanent giant art piece. From precision multilayered stencils, through bubble gum cutsie to surreal illustrative mayhem, Lex Luthor and My Dog Sighs have hand picked some of their favourite artists to produce the ultimate street art dreamscape courtyard…again!

Head Jam will run all day so feel free to pop along, take a look, have a chat, hang out, meet the artists and enjoy the atmosphere. There will be music on all day, a BBQ turning over in the background if you want to stick a burger on (not supplied), and please feel free to bring along a beer too. Everyone is welcome, so bring the kids so they can see some of the finest street artists working together in this unique environment.

Attending artists include: MyDogSighs, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Fark, Nova, M-one Art, Los Dave, Stu Linfield, Morf, Freakstatic and Ooberla. Wow, this is going to be amazing! If you pop along please be sure to tag the event on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #HeadJam and we will put up a series of your photos from the day.

Strong Island Clothing Co will also be launching their latest range of tees and crews before they go online the following week. So if you want to get in there for an exclusive purchase before anyone else head on down and check it all out. Everything will be out to view, and there is a sneak peak at the end of this post (the full look book will go up this week). Also all of our PFC tees and crews are on offer, bargain. We look forward to seeing you all.

Old paint on a wall

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (1)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (2)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (3)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (4)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (5)

Head Jam, photo by Paul Gonella

Photos: Matt Maber

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Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer and Grace Aquilina – Day Three

Despite the effects of the night before, those who have arisen from their partially soggy tents and dared to walk through alcohol and rain sodden hay look forward to listen to live music at The Wild Stage and in The Hustle Den at midday. In keeping with the wildlife theme the crowd was littered with all sorts of animal themed costumes, and what I can only expect was a stag party of monkey’s.

Burning Beaches took to the stage at 12:00pm in The Hustle Den, where sleepy eyes were literally opened in awe of the band’s soft rock sound. Heavy bass woke even the most sluggish and grungy vocals perfectly complimented a latte. The vocals echoed around the tent, emphasising the roughness and fervency.

Blissfields is without a doubt well-deserved of it’s reputation for finding and nurturing local artists and upcoming talent, and this year was no exception; Saturday brought with it the chance for discovering yet more new artists, one of which being Australian singer-songwriter Ry X. His hazy almost whispered vocals drew comparisons to The xx and Blissfields favourites London Grammar, and Ry X transfixed the audience throughout his set with his soft tenor tones. His track ‘Berlin’ is well worth a listen.

Later on in the afternoon, Floella Grace wowed her audience in The Larch to complete silence and a dream-like-state. Her dreamy, sobering vocals accompanied by fellow string player Gareth and two silvery-voiced backing singers made for an awesome and enlightening performance. The ukulele was played sweetly and harmoniously with the slightly more robust guitar; the entire performance being one of sincerity courtesy of her unvarnished, honest lyrics.

After Floella Grace’s soothing and lulling performance, the audience was re-awakened with the The Boy I Used To Be’s garage pop sound. With breathy, low vocals and slightly metallic guitar riffs, the band’s ‘sun-drenched’ sound ironically complimented the gloomy Great British Weather.

A personal highlight of Saturday was the chance to catch Laurel in the Hustle Den; she has truly developed her own distinctive style, although it is easy to see why over the last year she has been compared to Lana Del Ray, Lorde, and Laura Marling. On stage, she mesmerises the crowd with her sultry and coquettish presence, and switches effortlessly between softer and louder tracks, such as the lead song from her Blue Blood EP, which showcases the depth and richness of her voice.

By now sky was taken over with cloud but with temperatures still high anticipation grew for the headliner, 2ManyDJs, the semi-incognito side project of prolific 90s DJs Soulwax. The Dewaele brothers’ experience was evident throughout their set, with their ability to bring the crowd effortlessly through highs and lows, and build the sweat and alcohol fuelled festival-goers into a frenzy. However, while there were certainly some sore heads as Sunday morning dawned, there were plenty of wide grins too.

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Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014
Cosmo Sheldrake @ The Hustle Den
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Beans On Toast Presents… At The Larch Stage
BS5
Chlöe Howl @ The Wild Stage
Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014
Laurel @ The Hustle Den
Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014 Laurel
Laurel @ The Hustle Den

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth – Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’

We continue with our co-published history articles with aspex Gallery, researched by Laura McLean-Ferris who has recently been crawling through the Aspex Gallery archives and has produced a series of articles for aspex about their 33 year history. We’re very happy to partner up and cross post their aspex history blog posts here on Strong Island, you can see the original aspex blog post HERE. This fourth article in the series today looks at how aspex worked with Cornelia Parker in the late 1980s, and how Art Space Portsmouth & aspex became separate organisations.

Now in the Tate collection, Cornelia Parker’s Thirty Pieces of Silver (1988-89) is an installation of over 1000 pieces of silverware that the artist had flattened by a steamroller. Each is suspended from the ceiling using copper wire, hanging a few inches above the gallery floor in clustered puddles, forming a kind of grid. The work transforms domestic items, such as cigarette cases, trophies, and tableware, into pure elemental material, and yet each flat silver disc contains within it the ghost of a former life. Silver is commemorative – and many of the items are suggestive of occasions such as birth, retirement, engagement, triumph or memorial. The work displays Parker’s interest, around this time, in acts of material violence that expand the viewer’s engagement with the objects and materials around them.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (1)

Les Buckingham, then director of aspex, recalls seeing 30 Pieces of Silver at Ikon Gallery and being particularly taken with it, and so approaching Parker to invite her to show the work at aspex. ‘I knew the director of Ikon, Antonia Payne’, Buckingham remembers, ‘and she agreed that I could approach Cornelia about a second showing. The piece was installed at Ikon in the basement and was smaller than intended. When I talked to Cornelia she jumped at the chance to show it in a large and high space. The installation was the most complex of my career, filling the entire gallery, (1600 sq feet), and involving three weeks work and miles of fuse wire. Six to ten people worked on the project with the artist and the results were spectacular.’ Amusingly, there’s a note in the aspex archives which details that the height for suspension was ‘One toilet roll plus a piece of hardboard’.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (2)

In contrast to the way the work is now shown, visitors were able to walk between the pools of sculptures. Following a visit to aspex by the Arts Council the work was selected for the British Art Show. The artist discussed the time-lag that it took for the work to make an impact in a recent interview with The Guardian. ‘I made Thirty Pieces of Silver for the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and it didn’t get a single review’, she says. ‘It wasn’t until it was shown at the British Art Show at the Hayward a year later that people noticed.’ The work was purchased for the Tate Collection in 1998.

aspex was also going through changes during this period. Following several years of working as an artist-run space, the threat of climbing rents compelled the organisation to transform to its status to a charity, which meant transforming the structure of aspex. In an effort to protect the gallery and studio artists from high rents, the decision was made to seek charitable status and Aspex Visual Arts Trust was formed. Buckingham remembers this as a complicated period of transformation for the organisation, which essentially split the studios from the gallery, but it was one that was necessary to secure aspex, as a resource that would continue to exist after its founders were no longer involved. Though the two are now separate entities, the Trust continues to work together with the artist founders at Art Space Portsmouth.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (3)

All images courtesy of the Aspex Visual Arts Trust Ltd. and the artist.