Strong Island Co.

Music & Bands

Feel Yourself Success At Battle Of The Sexes

Battle of the Sexes was held at the incredible venue of Southsea Castle last night and was a huge success. The evening promoted the Feel Yourself Campaign and managed to deliver some important information alongside fun activities and live music.

Special guests included Marley Blandford and Fugitive Orchestra who played some superb solo sets. Games included, cake decorating, mould your own genitalia, fancy dress and guess the sex of the guy/girl in the photo. All activities came under the Battle of the Sexes heading, encouraging the boys to go up against the girls in competition. The crowds were left to judge and the atmosphere was awesome!

A raffle offered all sorts of cool prizes including a free meal at the local Belle Isle and all the money raised went to the Feel Yourself Campaign.

The event was organised by Ben Miles, who is responsible for Portsmouth’s now renowned Victorious Festival and his fellow University crew a.k.a FYC and JK events.

The evening’s message was to raise awareness about the importance of checking yourself regularly for the signs of Cancer and it was incredibly successful with individuals taking advice about what to look out for in a fun and memorable way.

Brilliant evening, fantastic fundraiser, incredibly important. The message was clear, take care of yourself!

To find out more about the campaign check out the website.









Strong Island Recordings & Pie & Vinyl At The Great Escape Festival

Next month on the 14th May, Strong Island Recordings will team up with Southsea’s Pie & Vinyl taking over Bleach for the day as part of The Great Escape Festival in Brighton. It will be one of the biggest shows for both brands and the first time either us at Strong Island Recordings or Pie & Vinyl have hosted a showcase in Brighton so it will be a special day.

We’re also especially proud of our line-up which features Theo Verney, Wild Smiles, Man Made (Johnny Marr’s sons band) Morning Smoke and Gang as well as local favourites Curxes, Rickyfitts, Sacha, Melt Dunes and The Boy I Used to Be. The showcase kicks off at 3pm and finishes at 11.30pm.

It’s free with an official Great Escape wristband or a mere £4 without which helps us recoup costs for the venue, artists and other bits. The fantastic artwork for the poster was designed by Sam Brandon.

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Common People Festival 2015

The multi award winning team at Bestival, present to us the Southampton based Festival, Common People. It will be held on the 23rd and 24th May 2015.

Taking place on the bank holiday weekend on Southampton Common, the two day, metropolitan festival will bring the spirit of Bestival away from the Isle of Wight and into the heart of the city.

Rob Da Bank, curator of the festival, explained that Common People is the first new venture since Camp Bestival seven years ago. He went on to tell us that this festival isn’t a camping show, its not tents and wellies, it’s a two day show that has easy access and is open to all ages. A festival packed with experiences that is reasonably priced, it was designed to allow everybody to enjoy good music and fun activities along with cultural highs including art and delicious food.

Fatboy Slim, DJ Yoda, The Cuban Brothers, Jaguar Skills, De La Soul, Band of Skulls, Plastic Mermaids, SomaHigh and Clean Bandit are just some of the many artists that will perform over the weekend alongside activities including, crazy inflatable bundle madness, face painting, brass bands, trapeze lessons and much, much more.

The weekend is set to be an enormous success and tickets are on sale now. To get yours visit ticket line or buy your tickets directly from a range of local locations which can be found on the website.

To follow festival updates and announcements follow Common People on Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and on Instagram.


Fat Boy Slim



Berlin Festival 2012

The Battle Of The Sexes

Feel Yourself Campaign aims to promote awareness in younger men and women about the importance of checking for breast and testicular cancer regularly. Both types of Cancer are on the increase  and catching them early is the key to successful treatment.

Feel Yourself was started by Maddie Wallace while she was being treated for breast cancer. With no family history and no previous health problems, Maddie never checked herself. One day she bumped into a friend who had just undergone chemotherapy and that friend reminded her how important it is to check yourself often. This is probably what saved her life.

Maddie has been a whirlwind of motivation for Portsmouth and a drive to encourage us all to monitor ourselves for signs of Cancer.

The Battle of the Sexes is an event that will be held on the 23rd April at Southsea Castle. Doors will be open from 7:30pm and tickets cost £5.

The charity fundraiser evening will aim to raise awareness about Cancer and help enable people to spot the signs of it early enough to act on it quickly.

Special guests including Marley Blandford and the Fugitive Orchestra will entertain event goer’s and help mark the night with some fantastic music.

To purchase tickets please visit the website and follow events on Facebook.

Battle of the sexes

Battle of the sexes

Battle of the sexes



Record Store Day 2015 and the Castle Rd Fete

Is it really a year since the last Record Store Day? Tomorrow brings every vinyl fanatics’ favourite day of the year with the Pie & Vinyl team putting together their biggest RSD to date. The release list for tomorrow can only be described as exhaustive, featuring far too many artists and special editions to name in this post but you can check out the full inventory available tomorrow here (.xls download). If you spot something that you absolutely need in your life, make sure you get down to the store well in advance of the 8am opening and join the sure-to-be large queue. Tea will be on hand for all attendees alongside many music-orientated conversations so there’s no need to hide behind your iPad while you’re waiting.

For those without an inclination to black circles of musical goodness, Castle Rd will be taken over by a plethora of market stalls selling everything from vintage clothes and gluten free baked goods to pizza and festival tickets. The fete kicks off around 10am with the sellers accompanied by Pie & Vinyl’s obligatory stage featuring sets from the likes of Curl, TRAAMS, Kassassin Street and special guests The Champs. Bands will be taking to, and potentially destroying, the stage from midday all the way through to 8pm so make sure to pace yourselves out there.

Curl and The Boy I Used To Be at The Fat Fox

Last night at The Fat Fox saw the first UK show by French/Portsmouth band Curl in five years supported by local favourites The Boy I Used To Be.

Fresh off the back of the launch of their Grip EP, The Boy I Used To Be were on fine form despite the low turnout, smashing through the set list with professionalism interjected with signature humour. It’s always a pleasure seeing these guys perform on any stage.

Curl’s set felt like a homecoming show replete with a strong audience and on point stage decorations. The band is the product of an ongoing electronic music project by founder and guitarist Frank Amendola. Since its inception, the band has grown at a steady pace to include a variety of musicians including local vocalist Hayley Alker and drummer Jonny Callendar (Cranes/Vex) providing a definitively Anglo edge to the downtempo, electro rhythms.

If you didn’t the chance to see Curl last night, don’t fret as they’ll also be playing at Castle Rd on Saturday as part of the Castle Rd fete and Record Store Day celebrations.

For more photos from last night, check out our Facebook page here.

Champagne Bar at Southsea Castle

Last Friday saw the return of the Champagne Bar to Southsea Castle. The sun was shining and the crowd was in equally high spirits.

With lighting provided by Mijaro the castle looked fantastic. On hand to provide music for the evening were Civilisation of the Rough‘s DJ Mark Persaud and Herma Puma‘s DJ Pimpernel Jones. Live music came courtesy of funk band Big Love Soul, they went down a treat and had everyone busting a move in the marquee area.

With upcoming DJ sets from Funktifino, Hipshaker, Gentle Bren, Handsome Dave Rocker as well as live music from Southsea Alternative Choir and The Smiley Campbell Band it’s clear that you are going to be hard pushed to find a better place to spend your Friday evenings this summer.

The Champagne Bar will be open from 6pm until late and be free entry every Friday (apart from the Victorious Festival and Americas Cup weekends where they will be having a week off). You can stay up to date with all things Champagne Bar by following them on Facebook.

Photo’s from James White Photography.

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Champagne Bar 2015 Poster

Video for New Kassassin Street Song ‘To Be Young’ by Jack Daly and James Sharp

Kassassin Street are crushing it at the moment with sold out shows here and there and everywhere and the new song ‘To Be Young’ quite rightly getting a lot of love with DJs and blogs. Eddy Temple Morris at XFM made the new single his Best Record In The World This Week recently and the song hit the UK Viral Top 50 chart on Spotify.

The new video for To Be Young is produced by Southsea’s own Jack Daly and James Sharp, both serious young talents in stills and film. Great to see these guys produce an awesome film for a song sure to be going places up and out the city. Serious props to all involved and stoked to see a lot of Strong Island friends in there too.

Kassassin Street - To Be Young

Torn Speaker Launch Party At The Cellars With Science Of Eight Limbs, Rickyfitts & More

Tomorrow being Thursday 16th April, Torn Speaker launches at The Cellars in Eastney with an amazing line-up featuring experimental, psychedelic rock duo Science of Eight Limbs who are mindbogglingly tight, punk duo Frauds from Croydon as well as local favourites and one of the finest live bands to come out of Portsmouth, the thrashy twosome Rickyfitts playing a rare hometown show and also opening the night will be Freak a new grunge trio born out of the ashes of Dirty Legion combining doom filled, sludge riffs with elements of punk.

Torn Speaker themselves are Max Goulding of Rickyfitts and The Park Studio and also Holly Mullineaux, guitarist of the buzzy Wyldest who are blowing up the blogosphere right now. The two decided to start the night to promote and put on bands they love, bringing some of the most exciting new acts to town. They’re already planning their second show and by the sounds of the line-up that they have planned, it’s going to be a great one. Entry is just £4 and doors are at 7.30pm and with it being a four band bill on a week day, expect an early start. More details about the show can be found on the Facebook page here

Southsea Fest 2014 - Rickyfitts

Southsea Fest 2014 - Rickyfitts


SomaHigh Come To Portsmouth

SomaHigh came to Southsea last night to play the infamous Wedgewood Rooms. Supporting Bipolar Sunshine, they warmed up the crowd before the main act came on.

SomaHigh are new to Portsmouth and Southsea and have some brilliant gig venues lined up for the upcoming months including ‘The Fat Fox’ on the 2nd May as part of Feedback Festival.

Introducing band members Sean Strugnell (bass and guitar), Leon Azor (bass and vocals), Paul Wolf (vocals, synth and keys) and Ryan Smith (drums), the band are keen to introduce themselves to Portsmouth.

Southampton based SomaHigh began when Singer/Songwriter, Sean Strugnell and bass player, Leon Azor were introduced to the notorious Camden music scene by Buzzcocks legend, Steve Diggle. Aspirations grew and the guys careers as musicians began. The band’s stage presence is energetic and  their adventurous sound, described as a blend of Indie, Rock and Electro creates memorable melodies.

SomaHigh have performed numerous live shows and have shared the stage with artists such as Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, 65 Days of Static and Cage the Elephant.

The bands powerful and charismatic performances have won them slots at Bestival in September last year and their new material will see them playing various festivals in the future including this year’s Common People.

Follow SomaHigh on Facebook or visit their website for event dates.







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Local Photographer – Harvey Mills

Okay, so it’s not quite on the Island, but hey, when the content is this good we can forget about the extra few miles. Harvey Mills shoots Murray Cross chomping the Langstone 13 set on the Havant roundabout with ease. Perfect timing and composition from Harvey.

Check out Harvey’s webiste and also his Flickr. Below are photos of Charles and Southsesa’s buttery own Bored teamrider Adam Keys.

Ash Cloud

I took these photos the other week when the ash cloud was at it’s worst, there are more over at Forever Circling. if you have any photos online taken around the island effected by the ash cloud please pop a link in the comments and we’ll post some up later this week.

Old Ships and The Point

Continuing from the HMS Vanguard photos from earlier this week, this one shot from above shows the scale of the ship and her guns, which are as big as the pubs! The second photo is of HMS Victorious passing out in the 50s, with the old power station in the background. Hard to believe such a huge, dominating landmark like that is now just a memory.

Click on the images to see larger versions. Photos are taken from the wonderful Portsmouth From The Air book by Anthony Triggs.

Strong Island Easter Bike Ride Video II

Sharpie just sent me over his edit from the Bike Ride last April 4th. He attached one of those fancy Flip Cameras onto his handlebars and he was away. Really cool to be able to see the ride from different perspectives. Cheers buddy.

Created Local – Cat Vaughan

Cat from the Inksquatch collective has some of her prints available for purchase in The Southsea Gallery on Albert Road. They should be in and ready for sale this weekend, 3rd July. Some nice little illustrations as always. Go and grab a local bargain.

Above Western Parade

The other day I got to go up on to the roof of a house on Western parade with a great view over the common, Southsea and The Solent. Always interesting seeing Southsea in new ways. Below are some photos (click on ‘Read More’ to see more plus there are more over on Forever Circling).

Local Photographer – Diana Goss

A familiar and friendly face around Albert Road, Diana Goss is a freelance creative portrait photographer with her own studio and whilst based in Southsea is often found all over Portsmouth as well as Bournemouth and Brighton too. Specialising in both Fashion and Boudoir work (see, and going by her website ( and Flickr obviously enjoys any type of people portraiture both in the studio and outside at such events as Goodwood Revival, music shows, weddings and even equine work. Not only that but you most likely have seen a few of her common props around town, a 1960’s Bentley, a 1955 Oldsmobile in red with red leather seats and a 1960’s red Pontiac!

Some of Diana’s work is available in Albert Road in Matt Sills’s Wallspace gallery (you may have also picked up a few free prints during the last Albert Road day) and if you’re interested in any commission work such as model shoots and portfolios, event photography or are interested in modelling for one of Diana’s photography projects give Diana a shout via email.

This is a cross processed film shot Diana took of the Wallspace Gallery with her namesake camera, a Lomo Diana and below that are a few more examples of her work:

XPRO Gallery

Aerial Photographs of Portsmouth

Webb Aviation have hundreds of aerial photographs to purchase from all over the country. Click the link to see the Portsmouth Aerial Gallery and view photos from over Gosport looking across Gunwharf, all the way down to the Hayling Ferry.

aerial photograph by

aerial photograph by

Local Photographer – Pompey Shoes

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.


Created Local – Caleigh Illerbrun

Old University friend Tom Hall sent me over a link to his extremely talented and prolific girlfriend Caleigh Illerbrun’s online portfolio With illustration, painting and 3 dimensional work firmly tucked under her belt Caleigh has an impressive amount of work on her site, some of which is up for grabs. Currently selling coasters over in her SHOP, Caleigh needs a little help identifying the favourites as she has an advert coming out soon in a magazine.

I’m loving the ‘Wood Tree’ coaster set below, and very much so the ‘Bearlamb’ acrylic & pen at the bottom. You can also follow Caleigh on Facebook and also her blog.

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