Live Review & Photos: Southsea Fest 2012 - 15/09/2012 - Already Heard
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Live Review & Photos: Southsea Fest 2012 - 15/09/2012

From small acorns grow mighty oaks and every year we dedicate a Saturday to celebrating the tree of Southsea, Albert Road. Southsea Fest has grown to include 14 stages ranging from the established, like the Wedgewood Rooms and Kings Theatre, to the temporary like The Magick Bean coffee shop. The range of acts available is similarly eclectic with metal, punk, spoken word, acoustic, reggae and more being represented. With this in mind, please understand that the review that follows is only an insight into a small section of this sprawling festival. If we chose a completely different set of bands then, well, who knows how it could have turned out. Onwards to the first band…   


Photos by Richard Heaven.

Due to Cycle Schmeichel experiencing gear difficulties we started the day with the London pop punk four piece Rivalries. They’ve come on a long way since I first saw them at the beginning of the year and it seems a shame that the venue was only half full as their brand of catchy pop punk really suits such a warm, sunny day. (4/5)


Photos by Richard Heaven.

Next up was a Southsea local in the form of El Morgan. El impressed me at WTFest and she didn’t disappoint today, with her brand of acoustic country punk suiting the small, warmly-yet-sparcely lit One Eyed Dog. Helen Chambers joined El for a couple of tracks which was a pleasant surprise. (4/5)


Photos by Richard Heaven.

Part of Southsea Fest's charm is how easy it is to simply wander into a new venue and discover an amazing band. This is exactly what happened with Ruin Everything at The Loft. We hadn’t planned to watch them but decided to take some friends advice and we weren’t disappointed. If you enjoy hardcore with a southern twist (think The Chariot, early Every Time I Die) then you’d more than likely enjoy these guys. They put on a lively show and its a shame that the crowd weren’t more into it but if every show is this enjoyable then hopefully they should be picking up some exciting support slots soon. (4/5)


Photos by Richard Heaven.

Polio was up next at the Flatpack Records stage. I’d heard good things about them and, whilst I won’t say I was left disappointed, I did feel a little underwhelmed. Their brand of erratic alt rock was enjoyable but rarely ventured beyond the blueprint set by bands like Rolo Tomassi and Pulled Apart By Horses. The most enjoyable part of their set was seeing how much fun they seemed to be having on stage and the passion they played with. It wasn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination but it was no game changer either. (3/5)


Photos by Richard Heaven.

We soon found ourselves back at The Loft where Offender had just begun their set. They clearly have a strong local following with a couple of pits opening up for their older material but at times they seemed to exchange substance for simple heaviness. It was enjoyable but their live presence was more memorable than their music. (3/5) 


Photos by Richard Heaven.

Following Offender is Our Time Down Here. Will quips that they are the lightest band on the bill and there’s a ripple of boos from the crowd when Southampton is mentioned but It’s all good natured as, although the crowd thins a little as the heaviness orientated crowd wanders off, Our Time Down Here still manage to whip up a couple of circle pits, crowd surfers and human pyramids. The setlist was very 'Midnight Mass' heavy but the inclusion of one track from their debut album and a couple from 'Last Light' satisfied the older fans. It really is criminal that a band as hard working, charismatic and reliable as Our Time Down Here hasn’t exploded into the mainstream yet. (5/5)


Photos by Richard Heaven.

After a little food we caught another local band - Huw Olesker And The Barebackers - at the Wedgewood Rooms. Huw and Co (now a four piece) will always be a desired taste and that was really reflected in the audiences reaction to the Reggae/Dub/Punk/Hip Hop group that stood before them. It wouldn’t be too hard to draw comparisons to The Clash during their Reggae era with smooth-yet-punky dub backing up their witty, socially aware lyrics. (4/5) 


Photos by Richard Heaven.

We soon found ourselves back at the Southsea DIY Stage for Great Cynics. Giles had just quit his job in preparation for the upcoming tour with We Are The Ocean and the whole band - complete with a stand in drummer - seem to be in good spirits. While the set list offered no surprises - standard support set, with heavy emphasis on tracks from 'Don't Need Much' - the crowd blew us all away with their enthusiasm and the volume reached with each singalong chorus. Even Giles commented that he was unprepared for such a warm reception as they were packing up. (5/5)


Photos by Richard Heaven.

It was never going to be easy following Great Cynics after such a successful set and, to give them credit, Muncie Girls gave it their best shot. Despite receiving glowing reviews across the board it feels like the crowd is still to fully digest their latest EP 'Revolution Summer' so, as you’d expect, the singalongs ranged from intense to just a few individuals raising their voices. Muncie Girls themselves were charming and, despite a broken string causing a brief pause in the momentum mid set, managed to hold the audiences attention with ease but it just lacked the punch of the previous set. (4/5)


Photos by Richard Heaven.

Southsea Fest is organised in such a way that if you are wondering between venues it’s impossible not to catch small parts of other peoples sets. The couple of songs we caught of Housefires (3/5) were impressive with Callis (vocals) playing the hyperactive hardcore frontman perfectly whilst Gem And The Deadheads (2/5) started promising with a wall of distorted guitars before descending into some rather predictable surfer-indie-rock. Having caught My First Tooth a number of times before I’d become accustomed to their twee country/indie mash up but Ross (2/5) simply looked lost playing solo and the audience, sadly, seemed oblivious to his presence. 

5/5

Words and Photos by Richard Heaven.

  1. shut-up-devon reblogged this from already-heardmusic and added:
    Southsea Fest was fun.
  2. already-heardmusic posted this
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