Blissfields Warm Up: Shooting Star, Southampton – live review
Blissfields Warm Up
Southampton, Shooting Star
18th June 2012
Contrary to popular belief this coming weekend isn’t all about The Stone Roses. One of the other music related events being held this weekend is the beautifully chilled, eclectic Blissfields festival down in sunny (hopefully) Hampshire. Last weekend a warmup for the festival was held in Southampton & Ged Babey (words) and Kat Basquill (pictures) were there to enjoy it.
I don’t do festivals myself but the one that all the young hip dudes in Southampton tell me is the best, most chilled and eclectic is Blissfields. Held on 29th June ”â 1 July at a beautiful site at
Vicarage Farm, Woodmancott, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 3BL.
Now in its 11th year its headlined this year by The Noisettes, Patrick Wolf, Dreadzone, The Dub Pistols, Jake Bugg, Imperial Leisure, and covers everything from dance to indie, folk to comedy, onstage weddings to Charlotte Church, making her ‘re-invented as indie-pop’ debut.
An afternoon warm up gig at the Shooting Star was a great taster, showcasing some of Southamptons next generation of future-stars”Â¦
Bryony Marie Fry opened proceedings with her chilled-out indie folk. http://soundcloud.com/bryonymariefry There are a lot of these Phoebie-from-Friends, smelly-cat singers around but pink-haired BMF carries it off with some charm.
Stream a track by Bryony below or just visit her Soundcloud page here.
I was distracted during Bryony’s set though catching up with old friends. There were as many artists not performing that day as artistes on-stage. Perry from the Flying Alexanders (telling me about Fay Fifes chair-throwing meltdown at Punk By the Sea) was there as was Marco from the Lo-Fi Poet Band – a raggamuffin transvestite who, with a million ideas buzzing round his head, will one day match his gutter-poet lyricism with some astounding music.
Dangerous Dave from Dahlia FX, thrusted a new CD at me; A mindblowing collection of apocalyptic modern psychedelia ”â a real must for heads who like their dream-pop to be the stuff of nightmares.
Southampton has never had a music scene that’s been in the national limelight but there always has been a lot of great music made by some real characters in the city. And this year is no exception. LTW favourites Doyle and the Fourfathers have split up sadly but William Doyle will reappear with some very different solo material I imagine. The Black Bullets are the best full-on rock’n’roll band in the locality, if not the country and there are literally a hundred others in a fractured music scene covering a variety of venues. There’s rivalry, bitching, chancers and real talent. Keen scenesters are pushing and trying to pull things together but still an apathetic music-loving public (outside of the regular hardcore), will only flock to see big names like Band of Skulls (who took ten years hard work to get where they are) but won’t give local bands a chance.
Next onstage, young and vogueish, Cut Corners; a newish Southampton band playing a percussive variant of indie-rock. They’re a confident hair-cut & skinny-jeans band for hipsters but do seem to have something ”â despite a keyboard”âplaying occasional second drummer who made the band resemble the Thompson Twins playing with the Klaxons. A band readymade for the NME.
Download or stream a track from Cut Corners below or click here to visit their Bandcamp & buy their latest EP.
Love By Numbers (formerly trading under the unauspicious name The Queue) have dumped their old name but sadly not their Oasis-obsession. I was hoping they’d have progressed into more Arctic Monkey territory but sadly no, so they remain a promising retro-90’s Mod guitar band in need of an identity of their own. Good-looks and a swagger in your step does not make for instant success these days.
A fabulous Portsmouth 8 piece called BigTopp closed the day with a cool original take on the ska-punk-reggae sound. Marco & his son won the dancing competition and a prize of tickets for Blissfields and the sun shone (did I mention this was an afternoon gig? With kids running around and free strawberries it had what I believe is called a true festival vibe!)
It was Sean McGowan who was the revelation for me though. His name has been buzzing thru the local grapevine for a while now. (Initial confusion with Shane MacGowan lead to a few confused punters in the early days!) He plays anywhere and everywhere. Old and young rave about him.
Now, if I’m honest I’m not one for acoustic protest singers; I loathe Billy Bragg and Frank Turner for starters, but love TV Smith for his energy and commitment as much as his songs. Sean MacGowan does have a real mean-it-man passion and intensity about him. His songs are articulate and have a charm as well as a channelled rage. He’s accompanied by Dean, non-singing guitarist and I imagine, chick magnet. Sean is unremarkable-looking, no image, no gimmicks, just songs and a strong voice with a touch of patois inflection (similar to Itch from The King Blues but not as pronounced) and the occasional Hampshire burr. He looks a bit older than 18, I guess cos he’s well-built, more muscle than fat. He’s got a non-descript hair style, neither short, nor long, trendy or uncool. He wears a bit of face fuzz, as most blokes his age do”Â¦
He does have talent though and seems to be one of the most genuinely politicised songwriters of his generation. Just watch him grow and grow. Thank God, Billy Bragg can retire now!
All photo’s ÃÂ© Kat Basquill.
All words by Ged Babey. You can read more from Ged on LTW here.