The Ninth Southsea Folk And Roots Festival
South Parade Pier
2009 Festival Reviews
SOUTHSEA FOLK & ROOTS FESTIVAL
The Albert Bar, Portsmouth, 28-31 August
Now in its 9th year, this festival just seems to get better with age. All shows were played indoors, the afternoon and fringe gigs nearbywere free withy the evening gigs certainly value for money. Comperingmuch of the Festival was Shep Woolley, who kept the audience chuckling throughout.
First up on Friday evening were Sons Of The delta who played such asublime set full of songs by the likes of Steve Earle but done in theirown individual style that certainly revved the crowd up. Next up wasColvin Quarmby. Entertaining the crowd with humour as well as somequite outstanding efforts by all band members, lead singer Gerry Colvinsuperbly kept the band going on such songs as ?The Bell?
Warming the crowd up on Saturday afternoon was the extremely popular South Coast duo Bemis.
Who soon had the crowds ating out of their hands due to songs such asJames Taylor's "Close Your Eyes". Billy Irvine followed who wowed the audience with his didgeridoo efforts that demonstrated a potential legend. The breathtaking Mary Jane followed with their crowd pleasingmusic just amazing to witness, with Festival organiser John Roberts helping out on spoons. The under-rated Robin James Hurt performed asolo set demonstrating a picking style which blew the crowd away. Shephen splendidly chipped in with his first gig which featured EddieCochran's "Summertime Blues" and The Beatles "Things We Said Today".
Although I missed the preceding afternoon gig, it was in the evening that I caught Amy Wadge. Filling the crowd with such treats as her latest single "Hold Me" this was certainly a memorable performance. Headlining was Martyn Joseph, whose set full of whimsical picking and downright stupendous songs such as "Vegas" was one gig I'm glad I caught.
Sunday afternoon started out with local favourite Ade Cull, who played some intense songs such as a purely vocal "Down To The River To Pray". Despite being caught in the traffic with Shep filling in for a bit, the dark but particularly awesome Cruel Folk gave a memorable shortened set which was simply marvellous. A solo gig from the much loved Dan Ogus did not disappoint with "The Weight (Take A Load Off Annie)" being the grandest. With the crowd reaching around two hundred, Two Fingers Of Firewater took to the stage with "Endless Highway" and "I'm Not Sad", performed to rapturous applause. A second exceptional solo performanceby Shep followed with crowd pleasers like "All Shook Up" and "Leaning On A Lamppost". Although I missed Jackie Leven's apparently great gig that followed Shep, the evening's entertainment proved to be quite something...
First up was Stompin' Dave Allen. Playing to three hundred people - who all tried to cram as close as they could to the stage - not only did he play tunes from the likes of Flatt & Scruggs on banjo and fiddle but also sang like Bill Monroe and tap danced at the same time. Adrian Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds took to the stage soon after, with their sublime folk versions of punk songs like "God Save The Queen" which revved the crowd up to such a sound.
Monday was blues day with respected artist Andy Broad delivering some superb picking and stupendous vocals . The Jellyrollers came next who successfully played a mixture of old time blues and traditional rock & roll. An impressive set from Andy Grant gave some admirable picking and breathtaking vocals on many captivating tunes.. King Roll recently celebrated 40 years in music and showed his pedigree here on "My Angel Blues". If King wasn't enough, Kris Dollimore followed. The picking quality of "Millionaire Popstar" certainly impressed, as did "Caned". After the Festival raffle was drawn Sons Of The Delta played their second gig but I missed it which as unfortunate but, as with Jackie Leven, I heard it was a beauty.
The concluding evening opened with the local yet superb six man band The Brass Knuckles Blues Band who belted out "I'll See You Through" and "Satisfy Susie" with the crowd roaring to every note hit, blown or strummed. Ending the festival was Deborah Bonham. A heartfelt and evocative set it sure was, with "The Old Hyde" best demonstrating this musical ecstasy. With Zeppelin's "Rock & Roll" ending the proceedings this was by far the finest possible way to end the Festival.
With it's 10th year happening in 2010 (otherwise known as 'the big one' John Roberts is staying tight lipped about the Festival line-up but I reckon if it betters the 9th then what an occasion it will be. Be sure to check out their website as I hear a line-up announcement isn't too far away.