Victorious Festival (23-25 August ’19) – the UK’s biggest metropolitan festival – has today announced a second wave of incredible artists including: Two Door Cinema Club, Rudimental, Doves, Bloc Party and many more.
Rudimental (Dean Chalkley)
Headlining the Saturday is multi award-winning four-piece Rudimental! Following their hugely successful third studio album Toast to Our Differences, and with two number one albums and three number one singles already under their belts, this incredible genre-spanning band are guaranteed to push the boundaries of conventional pop, rock and dance music to ignite the Saturday.
Two Door Cinema Club
After two years of worldwide touring, critically acclaimed, three-piece Two Door Cinema Club, known for their infectious indie-pop anthems, will be hitting the festival circuit with the promise of brand-new material. Set to co-headline alongside The Specials on the opening night, and with recognitions still pouring in for hit album Gameshow their show is definitely not to be missed!
Appearing on Saturday is a special performance from platinum-selling indie band Bloc Party. Confirmed to perform their debut album Silent Alarm– which arguably remains a cornerstone of every 20-something indie fans musical upbringing – their nostalgic and dynamic live set is sure to be a highlight of this years festival.
The opening night welcomes back from hiatus, Cheshire’s finest; Doves. With a back catalogue including hits such as There Goes The Fear and Pounding their set promises to be truly epic. Also, on the bill for Friday night are noughties indie icons The Zutons and English rockers Dodgy.
The festival’s special afternoon slots are full of surprises yet again with Sunday welcoming 8-time RAMMY-winning reggae artist Ziggy Marley to the stage.
Other confirmed acts across the weekend include the welcome return of Britpop stars Ocean Colour Scene, who performed a jaw-dropping set at Victorious back in 2014, plus New York hip-hop, funk, punk band Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Mercury Music Prize-winner Badly Drawn Boy, rapper Professor Green, Scottish sensation Lewis Capaldi, Starsailor, The Furtureheads, Republica and lots more!
Badly Drawn Boy
Festival director, Andy Marsh said: “This is the seventh year and it just keeps getting better and better. We’re extremely excited about this years festival, our first wave of artists were extremely well received and we’re delighted to bring a second wave. With our final headliner still to be announced and a few surprises up our sleeve, I’m convinced 2019 is destined to be a great year for Victorious!”
Held in the picturesque seaside location of Southsea overlooking the Solent, Victorious Festival is the ultimate family friendly experience.
Revellers can expect an eclectic mix of live music and DJ performances, from some of the biggest names in the music industry, as well as a medley of locally sourced food markets and ale stalls, an arts and craft marketplace, a jam-packed kids arena hosting themed games, live performances and much, much more.
With Friday tickets available from £30 and Saturday and Sunday at £35 a day Victorious Festival continues to be one of the best value festivals in the UK.
Tickets are available from the Victorious Festival website at: victoriousfestival.co.uk
Following on from the critically acclaimed and commercially successful fourth year in 2018, Ramblin’ Man Fair returns in 2019! This year the festival will move back its traditional end of July slot on the 19th, 20th and 21st July.
Ramblin Man’ Fair announce Black Stone Cherry (Saturday’s Main Stage Headliner).
Black Stone Cherry performing at Ramblin’ Man Fair in 2016
They join already announced acts Rock legends Foreigner (Sunday’s Main Stage Headliner) and American blues singer/songwriter Beth Hart (Blues Stage Headliner), Prog in the Park Headliner Anathema, The Darkness (Friday Main Stage Headliner), The Wildhearts (Friday Main Stage Special Guest), Living Colour (Main Stage), KOYO (Prog in the Park Stage), Orange Goblin (Grooverider Stage), Crobot (Grooverider Stage), Obsessed (Grooverider Stage), Robert Jon And The Wreck (Outlaw Stage) and Chris Robinson Brotherhood as well as more prog acts including Swedish act Pain of Salvation and polish prog giants Riverside.
Justin Hawkins of The Darkness
Anathema performing on the Prog Stage at Ramblin’ Man Fair in 2015
Black Stone Cherry bridge the gap between the blue collar craftsmanship of dirty, blues-y, pedal-to-the-metal Hard Rock steeped in the ancestral lineage of Southern Rock and the warm, broad embrace of the rock radio mainstream. The band’s substantial catalogue include the critically acclaimed current studio album, Family Tree, plus their eponymous debut, Folklore And Superstition, Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea, Magic Mountain and Kentucky, as well as hit singles such as Lonely Train, Blind Man, White Trash Millionaire, Me and Mary Jane and The Rambler.
Black Stone Cherry performing at Ramblin’ Man Fair in 2016
The group’s southern-tinged style and homespun attitude connected particularly well overseas, where its last four albums hit No. 1 on the U.K. rock charts, with both Kentucky and Magic Mountain debuting in the Top 5 on the U.K. album chart overall. We are delighted to have them as our Saturday Headliners!”
Black Stone Cherry performing at Ramblin’ Man Fair in 2016
Black Stone Cherry said – “We are beyond excited to be making our second appearance at Ramblin’ Man Fair! We absolutely love this festival and the music and fans it accommodates!!!! Peace, love and southern rock n roll!”
The 2019 Line up announced so far is:
Black Stone Cherry (Headliner)
The Darkness (Headliner)
The Wildhearts (Special Guest Friday)
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Beth Hart (Headliner)
Prog In The Park Stage
Pain Of Salvation
Robert Jon And The Wreck
Ramblin’ Man Fair is the must-see event for discerning festival goers. A quality musical line up with a number of UK exclusive performances. The event is a unique experience fast becoming a staple of the UK festival calendar.
The festival will take place in the beautiful Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent – the garden of England. The park is one of the largest in South East England with more than 450 acres of mature parkland and a 30-acre lake. With multiple travel links via train (Ashford International, Maidstone East and Maidstone West in close proximity) and road (with three park and rides available around Maidstone). The festival site is also perfect for European festival goers with easy links to the London airports, Eurostar via Ashford Int’l and Channel Ferries to and from mainland Europe.
Ramblin’ Man Fair will take place on 19th, 20thand 21stJuly.
Tickets are available at the link below:
Victorious (23-25 August ’19) – the UK’s biggest metropolitan festival – has unveiled a host of incredible musical acts as a special treat in time for Christmas.
With headliners still tantalisingly withheld until the New Year, the award-winning festival has revealed some of the amazing talent that will grace Southsea Common next August bank holiday.
Genre-defining Two-Tone legends The Specials play the opening night. With a career spanning more than 40 years, a bag full of hits and still as energetic as ever its safe to say Friday night will be party night!
Saturday sees a spread of delights including Brit Award winning singer/songwriter James Bay, stunning Swedish garage-rockers The Hives and purveyors of high-octane indie rock The Rifles.
On the bill for Sunday is the multi-award winning electro-classical fusion sensation Clean Bandit and The Vaccines – a guaranteed festival highlight with their infectious brand of pop-rock.
Justin Young of The Vaccines
Festival director Andy Marsh said: “We wanted to spread a little festive cheer by revealing just a smattering of what we’ve got in store for next year. It’s already shaping up to be our best line-up to date, we can’t wait to announce the rest of it!”
Main (Common) Stage, Victorious Festival 2018
Tickets for Victorious Festival are on sale now at victoriousfestival.co.uk. Early bird tier 1 tickets end at Midnight on Sunday 23 December. Current prices from just £25 per day (fees apply).
It’s kind of weird when an artist that is massive on one side of the Atlantic is relatively unknown on the other. Show a North American a Blur, Stereophonics or Kasabian CD and you’ll likely get confused shrugs. Conversely, an (ironically English) band such as The Struts are currently a big deal in the US but relatively unknown in the UK. Southern rock/country/blues band The Sheepdogs can also be added to the list of artists which are ‘huge there but not here’. The five-piece from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan are as much a part of the Canadian way of life as maple syrup, Bryan Adams and sensible gun control legislation.
The Sheepdogs performing at The Borderline
I first became aware of The Sheepdogs a couple of years ago when they played an excellent support slot to The Temperance Movement during their 2016 White Bear tour. Word quickly spread amongst the Temperance Movement fanbase that the support was something special and accordingly the venues were all packed from early doors. Now they are back to headline their own short tour and they’re big enough to sell out The Borderline in London’s Soho. That’s great for UK audiences; big enough for there to be real atmosphere in the room, small enough to fully retain an intimate atmosphere.
Rob Clements and Tom Fisher of The Good Water performing at The Borderline, London
The support on the UK leg of the tour comes from Birmingham’s The Good Water, a band hitherto unknown to me, and they’re a good one. Their take on psychedelic blues was slightly at odds with the southern rock twin-guitar sound employed an hour later but it did come as a very pleasant surprise. The band, a three-piece consisting of guitar, keys and drums certainly has a distinctive sound and look.
Stuart Webb of The Good Water performing at The Borderline, London
Keyboard player Stuart Webb (who looked disarmingly like a reincarnation of Stevie Ray Vaughan) played behind exaggerated arm movements whilst guitarist Rob Clements would have struggled to get more out of his phaser if he’d used a pair of mole grips on it. Between songs, evocative spoken word samples were played to the crowd. This sort of stunt could be acutely embarrassing if the band didn’t have the style and confidence to pull it off. The Good Water have the style and confidence to pull it off.
Ewan Currie and Ryan Gullen of The Sheepdogs performing at The Borderline, London
After a comprehensive stage makeover, The Sheepdogs emerged to great applause. The band are promoting their February released sixth studio album Changing Colours and it came as no surprise that a significant proportion of the set came from it – though little interaction with the Borderline audience between songs meant the ‘promotion’ was decidedly low key. There wasn’t much time for chatting to be honest. A twenty-one song setlist, when much of the music involved extended instrumental jams gave the crowd a lot of bang for their buck.
Ewan Currie and Jimmy Bowskill of The Sheepdogs performing at The Borderline
The most notable thing about The Sheepdogs is the delicious harmony twin guitars of front man Ewan Currie and his right-hand man, Jimmy Bowskill. Both are fine players, but Bowskill takes it to another level.
Jimmy Bowskill of The Sheepdogs
A protégé discovered by the late Jeff Healey, Bowskill was performing in Healey’s Toronto music club at the age of eleven and he is a sensational guitarist.
Jimmy Bowskill of The Sheepdogs
Whether he is playing glassy pedal steel on Let It Roll, classy slide on Up In Canada or traditional solos on pretty much everything else, Bowskill does it with style, grace, touch and feel, recognising that what you leave out is just as important as what you put in. Joe Bonamassa should spend less time trying on expensive sunglasses and more time listening to Jimmy Bowskill.
Ewan Currie and Jimmy Bowskill of The Sheepdogs
But it is in the harmony guitar parts between Currie and Bowskill where the band really shine and you don’t have to wait very long to hear it, for the unmistakable twang of an Allman Brothers style soundtrack is never very far away. And whilst the vibe of the band is definitely set in the Americana soaked territory of the Allman’s and Creedence Clearwater Revival, there are other clear transatlantic influences around if you care to listen for them. Kiss The Brass Ring, an instrumental cut from Changing Colours that was played tonight is two minutes of pure Wishbone Ash. Meanwhile, Feeling Good from the eponymous Sheepdogs album drips with the essence of T Rex. Noel Gallagher couldn’t have ripped it off any better.
Jimmy Bowskill of The Sheepdogs
The Sheepdogs are at least as good as the sum of their parts and it’s not just the guitar players that contribute.
Ryan Gullen of The Sheepdogs
Sam Corbett and Ryan Gullen on drums and bass respectively form a formidable rhythm section and special mention needs to be made of Ewan Currie’s brother, Shamus, who appears slightly anonymous behind a keyboard stage right playing some organ stabs and tambourine – that is until he really comes into his own.
Shamus Currie of The Sheepdogs
The younger Currie plays trombone, which is put to great effect mid-way through the set on I Ain’t Cool and Help Us All. It’s not every southern rock Americana band that can drop trombone solos into their work.
Shamus Currie of The Sheepdogs
Following over ninety minutes of fabulous music, The Sheepdogs retired briefly to the dressing room whilst the crowd made their appreciation known. When they returned, it seemed fitting that the encore should be a fine version of Ramblin’ Man. When you wear your heart that closely on your sleeve, you might as well show it off for all to see. Tonight, was November 5th. No doubt London’s skies were alive but I was more than happy to be inside the Borderline basement in the company of The Sheepdogs. They delivered more than enough fireworks for all of us.
The Sheepdogs performing at The Borderline, London
The Sheepdogs will be back in the UK in January/February 2019 supporting the European leg of Rival Sons’ tour, with dates as follows:
31 January Northumbria Institute Newcastle Upon Tyne
1 February The Barrowlands Glasgow
2 February Manchester Academy Manchester
4 February O2 Academy Leeds
5 February O2 Academy Birmingham
6 February The Roundhouse London
The Sheepdogs and The Good Water, live at the Borderline, London. Review and photography by Simon Reed. Simon has his own music photography website at: https://www.musicalpictures.co.uk/
It must be great being in Public Service Broadcasting. You’re sufficiently anonymous that you can walk about without being bothered by the general public. You make and perform music entirely on your terms. This means, in moves that would make the average record company executive choke on their cornflakes, you don’t sing and you wear a bow tie under your corduroy jacket. Your devoutly loyal fanbase buy tickets for your biggest ever headline gig at The Royal Albert Hall so fast that it sells out in a matter of hours.
Tonight’s show under the big dome and the upside-down mushrooms marks the current apogee in the history of Public Service Broadcasting. With two multi-instrumentalists, a drummer, a visuals and set designer, a five piece horn section, a string section, multiple special guest performers, a male voice choir and a pair of dancing astronauts, it all marks quite a contrast to PSB’s inaugural gig: a solo performance held nine years ago in a Tooting pub.
For the dwindling number of people not acquainted with the Public Service Broadcasting MO, it is this: Find archive public information and propaganda films and marry the dialogue and images with progressive electronic/rock music. As the band themselves put it: “Teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future”. There are practically no live spoken lyrics; the message is conveyed entirely through the music, the accompanying film and the audio samples.
To add an element of mystery, PSB are pseudonymous. So, tonight at the Royal Albert Hall, stage left we have J Willgoose, Esq. Willgoose is stood behind a keyboard, some sample triggering pads and a couple of laptops. He will also play various guitars and on occasion a banjo. The stage right position is occupied by Wrigglesworth. He sits behind a Ludwig drum kit bearing the latest incarnation of the PSB logo (a modification of that once used by the National Coal Board for reasons that will soon become clear) and he variously plays other percussion instruments. Centre stage is JF Abraham (JFAbs for brevity), who primarily plays bass, though he also contributes some keys, guitar, percussion and plays a mean flugelhorn solo. Being less restricted by his instruments, JFAbs spends the evening running about the stage, stoking and whooping the crowd into hand clapping and fist pumping compliance. Finally, towards the back, Mr B stands behind a myriad of monitors and laptops, mixing the footage that plays on screens behind the stage and around the hall. He also mixes live footage of the musicians from fixed cameras around the stage and occasionally wanders about with a Handycam shooting stuff of his own.
To date there have been three PSB LP’s. The first, 2013’s Inform, Educate, Entertain (Lord Reith’s mantra on establishing the BBC) was a generic title covering subjects as diverse as the invention of colour TV, the delivery of mail through the night and the performance of an intoxicated ex-naval officer describing a fleet review. 2015’s The Race For Space describes just that, using samples taken from the 1960’s as the Americans and Soviets battled for control of the cosmos. In 2017, the band released Every Valley, another concept album, this time focusing on the rise and ultimate decline of the UK coal mining industry, specifically concentrating on the valleys of South Wales. To make a record with such overt political undertones was risky but ultimately it proved a risk well worth taking.
The show began with the first three tracks from Every Valley. It was an understated opening; a stage lit solely by pit lamps dangling a hundred and thirty feet from the ceiling doesn’t make for great photos but it was atmospheric nonetheless. People Will Always Need Coal is a jaunty number with samples taken from a comically camp 1970’s NCB recruitment film: “Hey there miner, living life the way you want to be. Come on now miner, there’s money, lots of money and security”. No mention of pneumoconiosis I see.
After three songs from the front, I leave my own (photo) pit and head under the stage en route back to my seat. Willgoose was being handed a banjo as I left and before the lights of the arena were exchanged for my own underground gloom, the mooted strains of Theme From PSB could be heard above me. I get a move on as it’s a personal favourite. By the time I’m back in the auditorium though I find I’ve missed it. The twanging of a banjo has been replaced by crashing guitar chords in the form of Signal 30, a 1950’s tale of death and destruction on the highways of America for a ‘Signal 30’ was the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s radio code for a fatal car accident: “There’s trouble ahead, trouble that may or may not be a Signal 30. What will we find? A minor mishap or will we look upon the stark face of death?” It’s not subtle, but it is loud, very loud. It also has essentially a one note bassline which gives JFAbs plenty of time to jump up and down and he encourages the crowd to do the same. Those on the floor comply.
We’re all in need of a rest after that and the band oblige with their first trip into space. Sputnik, around seven minutes of hypnotic electronica charm has the “Bleep, bleep of the satellite” echoing around the great hall. The music of Public Service Broadcasting was meant to be heard in a place like this. We stay in space with an ode dedicated to Sergei Korolev. The Americans might have had to borrow Wernher von Braun to get their men into space, but in Korolev, the Soviets had a rocket scientist all of their own. It’s an epic tune that has a little of everything, including the dancing PSB brass section or the ‘Brassy Gents’ as they like to be known. They appear in two waves: two trumpets, two trombones, one saxophone, and an awful lot of tweed.
There’s a brief pause as Tracyanne Campbell (one half of tonight’s excellent support Tracyanne and Danny) is reintroduced to the crowd. It turns into a long pause as she seemingly isn’t aware she’s required. “It’s possible that nobody has provided her with a copy of the set list” says Willgoose as we wait for her to appear. Tracyanne is back to perform the vocal lead in I Believe In Progress, another song from Every Valley that she knows well for her voice is on the record too. It’s an ambiguously upbeat affair, detailing advances in mining technology: “Machines will do the heavy work, men will supervise the machines”. Of course, the ultimate ‘progress’ was the decimation of an industry that would be complete within ten years.
There are more introductions. Haiku Salut, an all-female instrumental three-piece come out and help perform They Gave Me A Lamp, another from the new record. This one recognises the crucial role played by women’s support groups at the time of the miners’ strike and there are some very moving words in the audio samples. For the first of two occasions tonight, I find my eyes becoming a little moist.
Proving that PSB aren’t afraid to tackle feats of human engineering, even when they go horribly wrong, the band play White Star Liner. It’s a new piece of music celebrating the build of The Titanic and there’s absolutely no references to dodgy rivets. In what must be the closest Public Service Broadcasting have ever come to a recognisable chorus, Willgoose repeats the words ‘White Star liner’ into a vocoder.
One of the staple sources of PSB inspiration, especially in earlier recordings, is war. Given the size of the archive of 1930s/1940s propaganda, this is perhaps not surprising. London Can Take It is a stirring tune recalling the stoicism of the capital’s population during the blitz: “The sign of a great fighter in the ring is: can he get up from the floor after being knocked down? London does this every morning. There is no panic, no fear, no despair, in London Town.” Given some of the recent events in the capital, it’s a message as prescient now as it was in 1940. Images of upturned buses in bomb craters play behind the band. I look around at the magnificent surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall and wonder how on earth it survived it all.
Another guitar change. Willgoose straps on a Rickenbacker and a familiar twang and part riff rings out whilst the string section retake their seats. The war theme continues with the excellent Spitfire. It’s a personal favourite and just about the most complete PSB song there is. The crowd are into it.
This really is a very cleverly thought out set list. Songs are in logical groups and there is just the right amount of light and shade. After a couple of songs of jingoistic patriotism, it’s time for things to get dark. “This one’s for Orgreave” says Willgoose as the band embark on All Out, recalling the bleakest days of the 1984 miners strike. It’s a loud, aggressive song. PSB are backed by intense strobes and film of violent battles with police. This was a very, very ugly part of our history and watching it, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons with scenes on the streets of Trump’s America and (to a mercifully lesser extent) to some attitudes displayed in post-brexit Britain. I’m left wondering whether I believe in progress and can’t help feeling a little sad.
Still, the set list comes to the rescue because next up is The Other Side, the uplifting story of Apollo 8 and the first time a manned spaceship went around the back side of the moon. The performance of this is about as close as you can get to musical theatre in a contemporary rock concert. As the astronauts lose contact with earth, the lights go dark in the hall and radio static echoes all around. The protocol now is to remain absolutely mute whilst we all wait for the ship to return. A few in the hall break ranks and shout out, but they are quickly shushed and silence prevails. You know the ship is coming back when Willgoose’s guitar fires up and JFAbs starts stoking up the audience. When radio contact is re-established, the crowd goes nuts. “There’s a cheer in this room” says the Flight Director at Mission Control. You’re not wrong mate. At the end of the song, JFAbs gets everyone in the hall to stand up and the band close the set with GO!, the story of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It’s a song nearly as exciting as the achievement itself. The crowd punch the air and JFAbs ends up running into the stalls. The atmosphere is, if you’ll excuse the pun, out of this world.
The band take a well-earned breather and when they come back out, they calm proceedings with a beautiful rendition of You + Me, a song from Every Valley and one of very few in the PSB repertoire to feature fully formed vocals. Lisa Jên Brown, who performed this song on the record took the stage and sang the Welsh language parts. Willgoose, in a move that he clearly didn’t relish, sang the English language parts. I say sang, it was more spoken word really. Imagine Ian Dury, but without the imminent threat of malevolent violence. There was an ironic cheer from the crowd when Willgoose spoke the first lyric and he raised an equally ironic eyebrow. “That’s been staring out at me on the setlist” he said when it came to a close.
There were two encores left, neither of which came as any surprise. Gagarin is a sensational fun romp in celebration of Yuri’s one hundred and eight minutes in space. The Brassy Gents ripped off the tweed to reveal sparkling golden jackets and a pair of dancing astronauts helped bring the party to an end. The final song, Everest, closed the show kind of like the way it does at all PSB shows. It’s epic, it’s uplifting, it’s an achievement. Kind of like all PSB shows.
The band left the stage and we received one final treat. As Public Service Broadcasting exited stage left, the fifty-nine strong Beaufort Male Choir from Ebbw Vale entered stage right to sing Take Me Home, final track of Every Valley. They received the biggest cheer of the night and for a second time the eyes became a little glassy.
The traditional take when an artist (and especially an artist with an underground, deeply loyal fan base) breaks through and plays bigger venues is to feel a little sad at the loss of intimacy; to feel that you’ve ‘lost’ your personal attachment to more mainstream appeal. I feel that as much as anyone and can name several bands to which the maxim applies. And yet, I don’t feel that with PSB at all. Granted, compared to many here tonight, I appreciate I’m a late PSB developer myself – but it somehow feels right that music of such beauty and depth should be hosted on the bigger stage and Public Service Broadcasting looked very much like they were at home in the expansive surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall. If they carry on like this, then maybe the days of anonymity are coming to an end after all.
Public Service Broadcasting live at the Royal Albert Hall. Review and photography by Simon Reed. Simon has his own music photography website at www.musicalpictures.co.uk