Victorious Festival 2018: Paul Weller, Brian Wilson and Paloma Faith head Saturday’s lineup
The sun came out for the second day of the annual Victorious Festival, now in its seventh year, which included sets by the likes of Brian Wilson, Paul Weller, the Happy Mondays, Sleeper, Gaz Coombes and Paloma Faith.
Arriving in the middle of the afternoon to this vast enclosed area with various stages along the Portsmouth & Southsea seafront and further inland, the first act this writer saw from start to finish was Britpop favourite Sleeper.
Performing popular mid-90s staples such as What Do I Do Now? and Statuesque, Louise Wener, singer of the quintet – which featured a new female keyboard player from Portsmouth – then announced: “We’re going to take you back to the summer of 1996, it was a long time ago,” before playing their most famous hit, Inbetweener. (Surely it was 95, not 96 – but it remains a good song nevertheless.)
Next up on the main stage was Gaz Coombes, formerly of another much-loved Britpop band: Supergrass. The singer has released three solo albums since the demise of the group in 2010. Although his set was entertaining – and it was interesting seeing him play a harmonium and mess around with different sound effects – it would have been nice to have heard a few more Supergrass tunes. In the end he only did one: Moving.
Looking frail, the legendary Brian Wilson, writer of many of the most wonderful songs in popular music, sat at a white grand piano, flanked by Al Jardine, an original member of The Beach Boys, who provided energetic support to his old friend. Also on stage was Jardine’s son, Matt, who beautifully sang the high parts that Wilson can no longer reach.
Wilson led his superb backing band through the whole of the Pet Sounds album, occasionally introducing a track in his own unique and understated way by saying things like “Now here’s a song without any singing” to describe the record’s instrumental tracks.
It was clear that the American musician was struggling with the vocals, but fortunately the other band members were on hand to help him out and his set was the highlight of the day. Al Jardine introduced God Only Knows as “one of the best songs of the last 50 years” and listening to it brought a tear to the eye.
After Pet Sounds, early Beach Boys hits like Surfin’ USA and Fun Fun Fun certainly got the crowd moving. It was also a pleasure to see Blondie Chaplin, a member of the band in the early 1970s, sing Sail On Sailor from their 1973 album Holland.
It would have been hard to follow Brian Wilson, but Paul Weller set about the task brilliantly, his explosive energy a joy to behold on opening number White Sky. Another moment of sheer rock‘n’roll brilliance came with the insanely catchy Woo Se Mama.
Then it was over to the Castle stage for Paloma Faith’s headline set. As always, it was a pleasure to hear her outstanding voice run through expertly crafted pop masterpieces such as Crybaby, Picking Up the Pieces and Can’t Rely on You.
With great music, great weather – the same can’t be said for the Sunday! – and a great atmosphere, the Victorious Festival is an event well worth a visit.
Photos: Tom Langford
Featured Image: Becca Egerstrom
Victorious Festival was at the Southsea Seafront, Portsmouth from 24th until 26th August 2018. For further information about Victorious Festival visit the website here.