Review: Victorious Festival 2018 – Saturday

by Keith Sandys

With a fresh change of clothes and the bad weather behind us, the Saturday at Victorious Festival 2018 was off to a glorious start. Well, it was dry for a day at least…

Happy Mondays

Friday at Victorious Festival ended with the (baby)shambles of the Libertines and I was partly expecting the Happy Mondays to start in the same vein.

Bez must be wondering how he’s still being paid to dance around in his knee supports. However, frontman Shaun Ryder would be lost without him.

Along with Rowetta Satchell on backing vocals the rest of the band were also on top form. Listed as “Special Guests”, presumably for contractual reasons, Ryder and co. thoroughly deserved their afternoon slot on the bill.


DJ Tom Mayhem

While the weather played its part in keeping the Beats and Swings tent being busy all weekend, it almost certainly would have been regardless. The whole of the Victorious Festival site was open and the sun was shining for the Saturday, yet Portsmouth DJ Tom Mayhem kept the crowd dancing under canvas.


Sleeper were one of many popular 90’s Britpop acts to feature on the Victorious line-up since its incarnation. Old indie hits such as “Sale of the Century” were sounding fresh as ever, so I’m tempted to catch them at the Wedgewood Rooms later in the year.


Andy and the Odd Socks

Of course, watching a CBeebies presenter playing to a bunch of toddlers isn’t on everyone’s itinerary. However, you’re taking your child to a festival, highlights can take an unexpected turn.

When someone uses the term “freak” in their lyrics, it’s often self-deprecating. However, Andy and the Odd Socks turn it around, into a positive trait for their song “Unique”. In fact, I’d go as far to say it’s one us adult freaks can relate to all too well.


One of the many positives about Victorious Festival is how it makes a point to support the local scene. After all, there’s a lot of talent in Portsmouth.

As such I made a point of catching Jamin’ on the Seaside Stage, overlooking the English channel. Having seen the Libertine’s the night before, Jamin’ wouldn’t have seemed out of place alongside the Saturday nights headliners. In fact, they could probably have given them a run for their money…

Billy Bragg

“If any of the younger members of the audience wonder what an old bloke’s doing up here with an electric guitar, I’m what Ed Sheeran would be if he read the paper”.

This may have been in jest, however, Billy Bragg has a point. He is, after all, one of the true protest writers of our times, whereas the likes of Ed Sheeran give your average singer-songwriter hope of fame.

Following a reworking of a Bob Dylan in “The Time they are a Changing Back”, Bragg went on to show his age a couple of his own classics. “There is a Power in a Union” and “New England” very much songs of the people. Furthermore, lyrically Bragg is still just as relevant as ever.

Brian Wilson

From the moment Brian Wilson was escorted on stage, it was obvious he’s a man not in the best of health. While of course that’s well documented, it doesn’t stop the 76-year-old Beach Boy to perform a set of summer favourites.

The weekend’s weather may not have quite been filled with Californian sunshine, but the performance certainly was. Brian Wilson sat behind his mini-Grand Piano, although hardly played a note. Instead, it was the impressive array of musicians he surrounded himself with that carried the great man. Including, as it happened a secondary Beach Boy, stage left, on guitar and vocals.

Paul Weller/Paloma Faith/Duke Special

While I tried to share myself about a bit, it was Paul Weller who I would see the most. As the mod-father started, one thing in particular stood out. He is an incredible musician.

You never knew what you were going to get. Soulful vocals and gentle guitars, to rock n roll honky-tonk piano. What’s more, the changeovers were seamless, something the Libertines the night before could learn a lot from.

Elsewhere was Paloma Faith, a lady who knows how to put on a show. Her music may be a little commercial for my tastes, but as a person, I’ve always thought of her to be highly entertaining. She lived up to this expectation live too, very good at what she does.

Then there were the smaller stages, Duke Special is a man I’ve seen many-a-time, yet never fails to disappoint. Headlining the acoustic stage, sat behind an electric piano until his acapella performance of “Turtle Soup”. Duke is a performer in every sense of the word. So while his cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” drifted across the night sky, there was just enough time to see Paul Weller’s encore.

All in all, resulting in another fantastic day out at Victorious Festival 2018