Review: Victorious Festival

By the time the final day of Victorious festival had rolled around, it was impossible to forget that the event was a “post pandemic” experience, due to the quadrillionth act of the festival saying something along the words of “how fucking great is this?” or “wow it’s so great to see people together again.”

And whilst Victorious festival was often plagued with the post lockdown mishaps that have unfortunately become far too common in recent months, like Feeders frontman’s guitar not working, Blossoms sound cutting out and Cast’s acoustic guitar crackling to the point of a an instrument change, Victorious was, for the most part, an enormous success.

The Southsea-seaside-shindig  is a little brother of sorts to the larger august bank holiday festivals such as Reading and Leeds and Creamfields. And whilst this years line-up, like every years, featured many likeable bands with the odd enjoyable hit, the festival stayed pleasant but in limbo between great and a tad lame. 

Friday, the first day of the three-day line-up stayed quiet, with only a handful of bands taking to the half open festivals trial day stage. The Kooks were the first notable band to make an appearance, greeting the excitable Portsmouth audience with an array of classic early noughties indie-pop-rock hits; preparing the crowd for the main event – Madness. 

It’s pretty impossible to go wrong with Madnesss. Load them up in dapper suits, point them in the way of the stage and let the Camden-bred Ska group work their cockney magic; and that is exactly what they did. Smashing through their hits with self-aware bravado, even being confident enough to skip past songs when the response from the audience wasn’t strong enough ‘Wings of a Dove’ and ‘Driving in My Car’. 

Madness pulled in one of the most impressive responses from the whole festival, only being bested by the next days headliners, The Streets. Mike Skinner acting as possibly the only man that can waffle nonsense to an audience more efficiently than Madness’ frontman Suggs.

“Who’s from Southampton?” Skinner asks to a crowd of Portsmonians. “I wish I could get you to have fun as easily as I can get you to boo”. Talking was the name of the game throughout the whole performance, from the rapping, to constant verbal stream of Mike Skinners internal thoughts. Skinners constant back and forth between him, bottles of champagne and the crowd created a now alien sense of connection. 

Although The Streets gave the audience of Victorious the best performance of the weekend, various smaller artists/bands who were performing throughout the festival acted as a perfect pastime to help entrain bored festival goers during some of the more mundane acts. 

The Castle stage, which was the second largest platform at the festival was a perfect place to discover new bands like the incredible Black Honey, the spiritual rockier successor of Wolf Alice, or to relive your youth sat upon a grassy knoll watching bands like The Fratellies Smash doing a cover of “yes sir I can boogie” and at Castle you even had the chance to witness disco god Nile Rogers with Chic.  

Besides a few disappointments like Blossom’s dull cover song performances, or Mel C’s forgettable set, Victorious festival was an enjoyable family experience. Royal Blood finished the festival flawlessly with dirty bassline precision, practiced meticulously for almost a decade without any new changes. 

However, whilst enjoyable, the Brighton band added no thrills to their performance and bought nothing special to the occasion. In a way Royal Blood’s performance was representative of the entire Victorious festival experience, enjoyable, but without many stand out moments or risk… but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  

Written by: Mason Meyers

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