Victorious: Southsea Common, Portsmouth
27th to 29th August 2021
Getting to a festival after two plague summers, in which we’ve seen many a postponement, is going to feel like something of a victory. The triumphant name of this festival comes, of course, from Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship, moored nearby in Portsmouth’s historic dockyard. He was well known for his “England expects that every man will do his duty.” Take the historically gendered language out and its fair to say that heading down to Southsea Common for three days of ongoing musical renaissance will feel like we’re all doing our bit, both for the beleaguered industry and for our beleaguered selves.
We’re due a dose of so many of the things a festival can bring us: the chance to sing along like no-one’s listening, dance like no-one’s watching and generally party like no-one’s expecting us to work the next day (which even works for most on Sunday night because of the August Bank Holiday afterwards). Southsea Common is usually good if you want to walk a dog, fly a kite, kick a ball, or the recent favourite, scorch a rectangle of grass with a disposable barbecue. For one weekend a year, you can still take the sea air and have fun, but you can ramp the hysteria up, far above and beyond the heady heights of the aforementioned list.
There is, literally, Madness available on Friday night on The Common Stage, which is the festival’s main arena. In a reversal of monarchy vs plebeian dynamics, ‘Common’ trumps ‘Castle’ in the stages hierarchy, but both host big names and hold big crowds, allowing for two headliners on Saturday and on Sunday evenings. The Streets bring their everyday tales of the… er… streets as headlining Commoners on Saturday. We await news of who will replace the original incumbent of Saturday’s Castle headline slot after Richard Ashcroft identified as a COVID-compliance conscientious objector and withdrew. Sunday’s headline choice provides ample air guitar opportunity: Royal Blood (Common) for a day of unrest, or Nile Rodgers & Chic (Castle) for some soul-saving funk.
You can happily relive your 80s, 90s or 00s childhood at Victorious (or wonder where it went). Friday brings Feeder, The Kooks, Peter Hook & The Light and Terrorvision. Saturday presents Morcheeba (singing The Sea about 200 metres from the actual big blue wet thing), The Stereo MCs, The Fratellis, Reef and, fresh from his stint with GB Archery in Tokyo as the bow selecter, Craig David. Sunday’s potential trip down memory lane comes courtesy of Supergrass, Cast, Melanie C, Miles Kane and Glasvegas.
Unless you’re exclusively mad for gabber or grindcore, you should find something that suits you at Victorious. The work they’ve put in to construct such a line-up, considering the manifold restrictions on artists touring and on travel has to be commended. For the full list of artists and stages at Victorious, see the splits for Friday, Saturday (including Hey Duggee on the Kids’ Stage) and Sunday here.
Ten Acts To Make Sure You See At Victorious:
Blossoms – Saturday – Common Stage
Many of the finest people emanate from Stockport: Craig Cash, Michelle Keegan, Rick Witter, Dame Joan Bakewell and, of course, Geoffrey Hayes from Rainbow. Stockport’s Blossoms sound like the wondrous love-children of a dalliance between Pulp and 10CC.
Fenne Lily – Sunday – Common Stage
The Dead Oceans label certainly know a great act when they see one, hence why they snapped up Fenne Lily. She wrote an album about isolation before Covid-19 was even a factor, the release of Breach providing one of the musical high points of 2020.
Fontaines D.C. – Sunday – Common Stage
A lot has happened for Fontaines D.C. in a short period of time since they broke through, and rightly so. Dogrel and A Hero’s Death are full of wit and wisdom. Grian Chatten and company can be literary and lairy at the same time – proof that clever can also be catchy.
Jade Bird – Sunday – Castle Stage
The early stylings of Jade Bird would have you thinking more of Nashville than Northumberland. She’ll bring you plenty of those songs and her new sound from her new album, A Different Kind Of Light, which will have been out for two whole weeks by the time she graces The Castle Stage.
The Lathums – Saturday – Castle Stage
They’ve just released their latest single, I’ll Get By and their debut album, How Beautiful Life Can Be is out in September. The Lathums give us upbeat indie jangle, with a touch of ska. It’ll be rechristened The Bouncy Castle Stage by the time they’ve finished.
The Mysterines – Saturday – Castle Stage
If you like your rock to be bruising and brooding, then check out the third act on the Castle Stage on Saturday. The Mysterines will either leave you amped or knackered for the rest of the day. It’s worth taking the risk, whatever the outcome.
Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs – Sunday – Common Stage
Pigsx7 and Royal Blood on the same day? Yes please! I’m not sure the sevenfold porcine reverberations will have died down by the time the headliners are on – it’s metal with a distinct emphasis on the ‘heavy’. They’ll be feeling those sets over on the Isle of Wight.
Porridge Radio – Saturday – Castle Stage
Porridge Radio surprised many by earning a Mercury Prize nomination in 2020. But those surprised were probably those who hadn’t listened to their album, Every Bad. Fronting the band, Dana Margolin can deliver anything from sweet, through searing, to sinister.
Rews – Saturday – Castle Stage
It was back in 2017 that Mark Radcliffe named Rews as one of his Glastonbury highlights from that year, with their album Pyro giving a clue just how explosive their alt-rock sound could be. The personnel is slightly different nowadays, but the sound is just as fierce.
Roxanne de Bastion – Sunday – Acoustic Stage
Not all songwriters could scale their music up for the sound and fury of a main stage, or right down for somewhere like The Acoustic Stage, but Roxanne de Bastion could. Making the effort to take in her set on Sunday afternoon ought to prove memorable.
You can buy Victorious tickets here.
Victorious Festival homepage is here. They are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Featured Image from Victorious 2019, courtesy of James White.
All words by Jon Kean. More writing by Jon on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. He tweets as @keanotherapy.