Victorious Festival: Day three review

By Richard Derbyshire

SOUTH coast music fans defied strong winds and rain to enjoy a third day of music at Victorious Festival.

While some smaller stages had to close and some set times changed, event organisers made sure that there was a packed line up before an epic headline set by big beat electro-dance legends The Prodigy.

However, not being able to play on Southsea Common was not going to stop one tenacious Sheffield band.

After hearing their set couldn’t go ahead, Bang Bang Romeo, who played Isle of Wight main stage in June, alerted festival goers on social media that they were redeploying to a nearby bar where, with the help of fans, they’d hastily set up an alternative gig.

“We're from the North, we don’t get cancelled because of the rain!” they said.

Southern bands also defied the conditions, including hotly tipped London band Stereo Honey, fresh from Reading & Leeds, who were determined to play the Castle stage.

Normally a four piece, a compromise with the lashing rain meant no drums or bass and front man Pete Restrick having to perform under a gazebo on stage and guitarist Nicky Boiardi standing in the wings.

“We had to play somehow, we weren’t going to miss this one,” said Pete, whose set included new single Don’t Speak and other bangers from debut EP Monuments.

Acts on the main stage were largely unaffected by the weather, meaning fans were able to dance in the mud and see Friendly Fires, Sleaford Mods and Britpop legends The Bluetones before the much anticipated headliners.

Alongside a stunning light show, The Prodigy – Liam Howlett, Keith Flint and Maxim Reality - delivered a huge shock and awe set, opening with Breathe and including classic numbers Firestarter, Voodoo People and Out of Space.

What a way to close the weekend for the up to 80,000 fans who had come each day.

Reading rockers The Amazons also played the main stage. Their explosion in the last 18 months can be mapped along the south coast, from an intimate gig at The Joiners in March 2017 to The Engine Rooms, The Pyramids and now to their final main stage festival show of the summer.

Frontman Matt Thomson guitarist Chris Alderton, bassist Elliot Briggs and drummer Joe Emmett told The Echo that bad weather had followed them around all festival season, but that didn’t stop them rocking Victorious with songs like Black Magic, Little Something and Ultra Violet.

Matt added that, after being on the road for a long time, this was their last live show for a while as they now concentrate on recording a second album. With tunes this big, the next stop for this band here will be Southampton Guildhall.

Yorkshire stars Reverend and The Makers and Embrace drew huge crowds to the Castle Stage in the early evening.

Rev front man Jon McClure was taken aback by how many people had turned up, saying he had been worried about playing down south in bad weather.

But this band has always been popular in Southampton and Portsmouth and no one needed reminding to bounce along to favourites Bassline, Out Of The Shadows and new tracks from the bands’ recent albums Mirrors and latest Death of a King.

“Nothing can stop the music,” said Jon, and, on a day like this, he was right.

Fresh from their sold out show at The Engine Rooms in April, Embrace kept the Yorkshire vibe going with an unashamed singalong to anthems like Come Back to What You Know, Gravity and the epic Good, Good People.

Nicole from band EEVAH joined frontman Danny McNamara for the band’s new single Never, taken from the band’s recent top five album Love is a Basic Need.

With their number one debut album celebrating 21 years in 2019, this enduring band say they will tour again soon. For their fans at Victorious that cannot come soon enough.

This band played Southampton Guildhall in 1998 and 2000, it is time they did so again.

While The Prodigy rocked the main arena, local band The Collision could say they closed the festival by finishing 10 minutes later on the Real Ale stage.

Uncertain whether it would go ahead earlier in the day, lively frontman Lewis Smith, guitarists Dan Hennessy and Evan Latter, bassist Tom Copeland and drummer Chris Latter put everything into their set, including the first live performance of next single Ghosts and another new song Got Me Good.

With a performance time also up against synth-popster Years and Years, this was a smaller crowd than The Collision usually have, but expect the number who say they were there to increase, as this band get even bigger.

Next month The Collision tour 13 consecutive dates across England and Wales, including another headline show at The Wedgewood Rooms on Saturday September 29.