Now the sweet and sickly cloud of leftover seasonal partying has lifted, I am in a position to share with you my final gig of 2016. A beautiful end to a fantastic year of music. Well done Portsmouth!
20th December. The Edge of the Wedge and the first event organised by Joe Colombi. The night sold out quickly and went down well, so well in fact, that he is now considering organising more and let’s be honest, after such a good start it’s worth keeping an eye out for his future events. For Joe, the community is what’s important and he was particularly impressed with the numbers that flocked to join in the fun and support the local scene, a wonderful warm end to what had been for most people, a tricky year.
First up were Cyrprian Sceptre, a band I hadn’t seen before although they have been playing since 2014. After humble beginnings playing house parties, they’ve picked up Theo on drums and moved to public gigs. They were a wonderful opening, folky with hearty hints of Irish and pirate elements. The four piece clearly enjoy making music together and throughout the set there was much experimental switching between instruments, guitar to banjo, penny whistle to flute and the compulsive jigging, fun sing your heart out style got everyone in the mood. They’re a really cool band and a little birdy tells me they have an ep out later this year recorded at illustrious local Southsea Sound.
Second were Fainites. Surging, angst ridden, euphoric rock with an air of loving influence from bands such as Smashing Pumpkins and Everclear. The sound certainly pulls at the core and there’s a sense of teenage anarchic hedonism that I sadly left in my youth, miss dearly and love to revisit as much as possible. As ‘Body and Bones’ tells us, “You can’t run from your history”. Songs like ‘Numbers and Figures’ allude to more of a Janes Addiction energy giving a sweet variety to their surly sound. Go see these guys. They’ve also been busy recording an ep at Southsea Sound and it’s due for release soon. After seeing them live I’m quite looking forward to that.
Third were Horseflies. The guys have been coming up thick and fast in recent months and once again they didn’t disappoint. Their sets are growing tighter and with the base nailed they have room to experiment, which is part and parcel of their allure. With many years on the scene in various bands, the members are really starting to mature in their capacity to create and bounce off each other in spectacular fashion. There’s a sassy intelligence, a tongue in cheek lure to their seduction by sound, by concept and good old fashioned kick your face off noise. I believe they’ve also been working on an ep due for release soon and will be following it with a tour. Keep your eyes peeled for a review from yours truly coming up and if you’ve not seen them yet, fix it. It’s for your own good.
Finally, we were blessed with the solid sound of the Stayawakes. Pros of the cause they really are faultless and play with love and confidence. Their mastery of their sound is joyful. Not only are they lovely guys but they are just so fun to listen to. There’s an earnest, elated nature to the way they play, with the glorious warm hues of a summer day interlaced with the naïve and positive energy of life before life turned dark. Giants of the local scene they warrant and wholeheartedly deserve you paying them some attention. I’ve already written about them once and at their level it’s hard to add to it. They really are very good indeed.
So now’s the time for your part and lucky for you, all of these bands are playing Icebreaker Festival on 28th Jan so you’ve got no excuse! For those who don’t know, Icebreaker is a one-day festival across numerous venues in our beautiful city, focused on up and coming music along the south coast. For the extremely modest £12 day ticket you’ll have access to 120 bands over 12 venues in short distance around the Albert Road/Elm Grove area of Portsmouth. It’s a no brainer for any music fan and an excellent start to the musical year.