By Neil Durham
WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
WHEN?: Sunday 28 August 2022
Lean, mean and urging the audience to join in, Suede frontman Brett Anderson seems absolutely on fire during this main Common Stage slot as the sun sinks on a gorgeous day on Southsea seafront.
- Read on for reasons including how Little Boots apologised for her bangers on the Acoustic Stage
Opening with She Still Leads Me On, the 1st salvo from new ‘punk’ album Autofiction out 16 September, we’ve never seen the band so hungry for adulation and it’s a feeling utterly deserved as they rattle through their hits including a particularly well received Trash which has those of us near the front of the stage bellowing out the words in appreciation at the top of our voices.
Brett appears to meltdown during We Are The Pigs with 4-letter ‘f’ words flying which is perhaps the inevitable response after a blistering opening to the set and later appears to realise that it is a family festival and that there are children present and his demeanour becomes more welcoming.
We would have loved to have heard current single 15 Again and although it wasn’t to be tonight we are seeing the band play in an intimate nightclub in Kingston, Surrey a day ahead of the album’s release and there are 2 dates also to look forward to in London at the Electric Ballroom in October.
After Suede we head to the Acoustic Stage to see Little Boots for the 1st time since Mighty Hoopla in June when she performed with Tia Kofi and a fabulous solo gig in east London late last year.
She may be playing solo at a keyboard but she’s in terrific storytelling form even whipping out a Tenori-on (‘Very lo-fi. Don’t tell anyone I’m doing this on the Acoustic Stage – awkward’) at 1 point for a throbbing electro version of Stuck On Repeat. She tells us afterwards that the Tenori-on ‘hasn’t worked for about 8 years’.
Our husband couldn’t make Victorious this year and was instead at ABBA Voyage the show Boots is currently playing 7 times a week. ‘It’s the hardest I’ve worked since 2008,’ she says in a break between songs.
During Boots’ set the husband WhatsApps to say we were wrong about ABBA Voyage and, as if to underline the point, Boots plays a dazzling medley of some of the band’s most amazing hits. She also covers Kate Bush’s recent charttopper Running Up That Hill during a set that rubberstamps what an underappreciated talent she is. 2 real moments.
Her Carly Rae Jepson anecdote is even funnier than when we heard it in October and her version of the title track of new album Tomorrow’s Yesterdays reminds us why both it and single Crying On The Inside have made our longlist for the best of the year so far.
Earlier in the day we caught Example for the 1st time, we think, since 2011 at east London’s Lovebox on a 2nd stage bill that included Metronomy (more of them later) and a young Ed Sheeran.
Lead singer Elliot Gleave (initials EG, we see what you did there) kickstarts proceedings on the Castle Stage, urges the crowd to backflip (amazingly someone does in the audience on camera) and even brings out his dad onstage towards the end. Charttopper Changed The Way You Kissed Me remains an absolute banger.
Back to the main Common Stage and Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder doesn’t mention the show that launched him once but the positive vibes he emanated then are present and correct during a set which gives us major Freddie Mercury from Queen feels.
We were hoping to meet the Humdrums ahead of Sophie Ellis Bextor’s 6pm Castle Stage set but it wasn’t to be as it was absolutely rammed.
Bextor mentions how this is the last big festival of the summer and, although a seaside city is very much the place to be melancholy as the end of summer approaches, the flavour here is hits and well-chosen covers during a 30-minute set that zips by. A shout out also to new single Hypnotized which is an absolute electropop cracker and catchy as anything.
Back to the Common Stage and Metronomy, a band we have seen several times since that astonishing 2nd stage at Lovebox bill, wheel out best loved songs including Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Love Letters, Everything Goes My Way and The Look. We’re dancing on Southsea seafront in beautiful summer weather and it’s so much fun.
As the night draws to a close we catch Anne Marie briefly but end the day dancing in a car park in the Beats and Swing area to DJs from Hot Chip who whip up a storm not least to Madonna’s mighty Hung Up.
Our only reservation was really that the lack of internet and bigger crowds than we remember mean meeting up with friends can be difficult and bar queues were occasionally longer than we would have liked.
But Victorious remains an up and coming festival in a beautiful location that has so much to recommend it. We had a brilliant day and night with some excellent quality acts – it’s essentially Glastonbury by the sea.