Victorious Festival 2021 returns to Southsea Common

SUPERSTARS Madness brought their house of fun to close the first day of Victorious Festival.

The headliners joined fans on Southsea Common in celebrating the return of live music after last year’s absence.

“We didn’t play for 18 months; you can still see the rust coming off the engine,” said frontman Suggs. However, that didn’t prevent the north London band bringing a lifetime of hits from two-tone ska to pop classics.

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Opening songs One Step Beyond, The Prince, Embarrassment and My Girl rolled back the years, while more recent tunes NW5, Mr Apples, and The Bullington Boys brought things right up to date. But it was classic numbers like House of Fun, Our House, Baggy Trousers and It Must Be Love that saw the singing and dancing crowd, many wearing red fez or pork pie hats, move to another level.

After 45 years together, the six-piece showed why they are still one of the best storytellers of English life and one of the best entertainers.

“People and music together again. What joy,” said frontman Suggs. What joy indeed.

It is a long way back to when they played The Gaumont in Southampton in 1980. They return to the South again to the BIC in Bournemouth in December.

Earlier, rising Lancashire stars The Lottery Winners drew a big afternoon crowd who seemed to enjoy the band’s entertaining chats in between songs as much as their catchy tunes.

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Frontman Thom Rylance joked that “any festival booking us is a risk”, but with an formidable back catalogue and a new album out next month, they look more like an odds on gamble.

Bassist Katie Lloyd sang new single Sunshine, while Thom took charge on favourites like Elizabeth, The Meaning of Life and Headlock from last years self-titled album.

The band also played Start Again, their recent collaboration with Hampshire singer Frank Turner (who plays Victorious on Saturday), with Thom and guitarist Robert Lally co-opting in the crowd to sing Frank’s chorus part.

Together with drummer Joe Singleton, they return to The Joiners in Southampton for a sold out headline show on Thursday before releasing their next album, Something to Leave the House For, on 24 September. Along with Artic Monkeys and The Libertines, The Kooks were at the forefront of the indie resurgence of 2005-2006.

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This week, they celebrated 15 years since the release of their debut album Inside In/Inside Out, but with four more top 20 albums and timeless tunes like Naïve and She Moves in Her Own Way, their uplifting set at Victorious showed why they are still a band to be reckoned with.

Peter Hook and The Light brought New Order hits back to Southsea Common after his former band mates, still playing as New Order, headlined here in 2019.

As for Liam and Noel Gallagher, while you would rather see them all back together, the consolation of them playing separately is double the chances to see their iconic songs live.

True Faith, Blue Monday and Regret were fused in a set with Joy Division tracks like Love Will Tear Us Apart, all showing again what a great guitarist and songwriter Hooky is.

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Terrorvision’s music helped close out the 1990s, but based on this performance, the band’s energy levels have not dipped since then with frontman Tony Wright bounding around the stage for songs like Celebrity Hit List, Tequila and Perseverance.

Meanwhile, Feeder frontman Grant Nicholas and bassist Taka Hirose revealed plans for a new album and debuted its title track, Torpedo.

The enduring Welsh band, with nine top 20 albums under their belts, played Buck Rogers, Just The Way I’m Feeling, Kyoto, High and Just a Day.

Next week they support Catfish and the Bottlemen in Swansea and return to headline Southampton Guildhall next April.

TODAY: Victorious Festival continues on Saturday with headliners The Streets and Manic Street Preachers. And the whole site opens with more than 15 stages. Plus: Blossoms, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Craig David, Reef, The Frantellis and rising Wigan stars The Lathums. South coast bands performing include Crystal Tides, Wild Front and Idol State.

SUNDAY: Victorious Festival concludes with headliners Royal Blood and Nile Rodgers and Chic. Plus: Supergrass, Fontaines DC, Miles Kane, Cast, Annie Mac, The Snuts, Ella Eyre and Lewis Berry.

Daily Echo Southampton