GIG REVIEW: Victorious Festival: Sunday starring Prodigy, Friendly Fires, Sleaford Mods & Bluetones

By Carron Stacey

WHERE?: Southsea Common

WHEN?: 26/8/18

I have just got in from the after party. Well, the ITunes disco I curated for my friends at my house downstairs. We are all still buzzing about the main event, but I will review the beginning of the day.

  • Read on for reasons including A Humdrum Mum’s view from the front row

The weather was not kind to us – the rain was worse than it had been on Friday night. We decided to head down for the Dub Pistols, after frantically finding my hidden Smack My Beach Up T shirts, specially ordered for the main event tonight. Unfortunately I cannot review Dub Pistols as I had to send my son back home in a taxi as it was too wet for him. Apparently they were good and had the audience jumping. Next time…

Bluetones – A Quick Return

Having played the Wedgewood Rooms very recently, they were no stranger to our shores. Bunched over on the side of the set, Mark said he felt like he was on the X Factor as he wanted to hang out with the boys, but felt he had to use the whole stage. The Bluetones never disappoint, the hits are delivered beautifully and I still can’t work out how he can have such a high vocal range given he’s, ahem, around my age. Brilliant, as ever.

Amazons – We could’ve watched Reverend and the Makers but as my friend said, they are old indie, Amazons are new indie. We did Google a few tunes the night before, but YouTube doesn’t do them justice. They need to be seen live. They took grunge to the limit, I thought I was back in the 90s. In their penultimate song, they all faced the drummer and it was then that I realised they were all about the music, not the audience reaction. These guys are definitely ones to watch.

Sleaford Mods – I only saw them because I wanted to keep my space for later on at the front. I’m not a fan, I’ll admit, but my friends were. They, and the audience, sang along, enthralled at the man, who looked like he hadn’t got dressed this morning, waiting for his dad, who was less useful than Bez (if that’s possible) to press play on the next backing track. As with the Libertines on Friday night, I tried to have an open mind and I was surprised how much I liked the Libs. The Mods? Well I liked his energy and the lyrics made lots of people laugh. He worked the crowd well. It’s a shame that I compared them to Slaves last year, unfavourably. They felt as edgy as Blur doing Country House to me.

Friendly Fires – Jump in the Mud
By this time, the rain had almost stopped,but the ground damage was done. The mud puddles were splashed everywhere. Still at the front, we bounced when they came on in full band mode, with three percussion areas! I love a percussion area, so I was smitten already. The lead singer has such a stage presence, with his almost Keith Lemon/George Michael in Club Tropicana outfit. He danced around the stage like he was trying to out-step his Fitbit. The band took us through their hits; it was hard not to dance to their funky disco tracks. Hearing Jump in the Pool was one of my festival highlights. These guys were an excellent feel-good act, kept us from worrying about the rain returning.

Prodigy – Smacked Me Up! What can I say? Well my other half can say that the first time we saw them at Reading, I lost my flip flop so we were at the back. The second time at V, my friend had a blister so we were at the back. Guess where we were for third time lucky? At the front barrier! The build-up was amazing, the light stage being set up was vast. Then they came on. I need some time to work out the set list and I need some time to work out what to say about them. Apart from they were fabulous.

Energy. Attitude. Wall of sound. Better than their records. Fit. Still fit! Personalities. Liam threw a bottle of water out, which smacked me up – I’m expecting a black eye tomorrow. Small price to pay. Keith loved the front row, he kept telling us we were the real VIPs. Liam referred to his Prodigy People. Watching him standing on stage, watching us – what was going through his mind? Was it, “Thank god we can still do this at our age?” The security guards worked very hard keeping us all safe at the front. I was able to see, for once, being short – perfect view. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. What a show. What showmen. They just get better and better. Thank you Prodigy!

Thank you Victorious 2018. I’ve enjoyed loads of sets you’ve put on. The food had been great and the prosecco in the sample bottles went down very well this year. I’m sad that I wasn’t able to see everything I wanted to, and I missed the Southsea Alternative Choir today, who gave up their slots for other acts. I wanted also to do more looking around at the great stalls, but the weather didn’t afford much movement today. Thank you to all who worked to make today safe and enjoyable for us, and the whole weekend. I can’t wait to buy my early bird tickets for next year! One thing, please bring back the silent disco…


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