Another new year and another Icebreaker Festival on the Albert Road and Elm Grove of Southsea. One of the best festivals for unsigned music with over 150 bands playing, it is impossible to see everyone, but we managed to see over 10 bands on the Saturday and have picked our top three!
A band that only formed in early 2018 and are already playing the Wedgewood Rooms stage at Icebreaker Festival. But instantly from the moment they start playing their first song, there is a quality that is simply unbelievable for their short lifespan.
Made up of only two members, George Robert on the synths, guitar, and vocals, and Hugo Seckington on the drums, the duo manage to make their show energetic and truly mesmerising and having a stage presence which is second to none. Frontman George moves between his synth stage right, his guitar centre stage and his single drum stage left, all within the same song. His energetic style on stage makes up for the fact it is only him at the front, and he definitely gets the crowd going.
Drusila is one of the most exciting bands coming from the South Coast at the moment, and their electronic/indie-rock/80's synth sound and their exceptional live performances will take them to big things, so definitely keep an eye on them.
FLOWVERS are definitely a band well known in the Portsmouth music scene. Having played Wedgewood Rooms (and Edge of the Wedge) on a number of occasions, it was no surprise that the crowd filled out for the local band. Having only released two singles, and all of them still being at college, the band are very much in the early stages, but you would never have thought this from their performances.
Although they had a technical issue involving lead guitarist Stanley's guitar amp, the show continued with lead singer Matisse giving us a taste of his solo work, which is as impressive as the band's songs. Their setlist contains no fillers at all, with the unreleased songs still getting the crowd dancing including songs like 'Nosebleed' and 'She Don't Talk About It'.
Although it is their hometown, managing to start a mosh pit is still an achievement, and you could see their stage presence definitely benefited from having a lively and responsive crowd. New music is on the way and it is an incredibly exciting time for the boys. If you can go and see them play a show near you, then you have to go along, you will not be disappointed.
3. The Vitrines
This was a band who I hadn't even heard of before the day. With an hour gap early on, they were playing Edge of the Wedge and I went along to check them out.
Another two-piece, with frontman Alex Donavan playing guitar and Morgan Haynes on drums. There set was full of energy and encompassed indie-rock, punk, and grunge styles and I was unsure why they were on so early. Their loud sound and energetic stage presence really got the crowd going early on and their upbeat style was a great way to start the day for many of the festival goers. When they first started as a band they kept it a secret for a few months so they could perfect their sound and it definitely paid off.
They were giving away CDs and stickers at the event, out of a suitcase they had brought with them. Working hard at music and getting to know fans is a big part of getting your name out there as a small band, and it is obvious how much hard work they put into everything they do with the band. They have recently been picked up by This Feeling Southampton to play a few shows, and they are playing The Joiners on the 22nd February if you fancy checking them out.
Words & Photos by Henry Groves