The Internet is a wonderful thing. Throughout its endless maze of 1’s and 0’s and flickering transatlantic fibre optics, there is no end of wonderment to be found in every corner and crevice. You can spend literally years trawling it and always be guaranteed to find something new and interesting to entertain and inform you for far longer than is warranted. It really is the procrastinator’s best friend. Why worry about worry about washing the dishes or those pesky work deadlines when you can watch this right?
Its true, the list of memes, videos, vines, tweets and blogs are endless thanks to the collective creativity and general boredom of mankind. As an undergraduate student I find more often than not that my time is spent richly unearthing gems such as songs about the anthropomorphization of a cat’s psyche amongst other things. It was during one of my many forays into the net that I came across something actually quite fantastic. A blog dedicated to letting artists and performers tell their stories of the worst experiences they’ve had with promoters. Set up by a local to Portsmouth who had experienced his fair share of horror stories, it gives a voice to those who have been generally exploited and outright screwed over by those wanting to make a quick buck out of people doing something they love. From bad preparation to misleading bands about shows to just not even turning up, it’s all there and well worth checking out.
But all this talk of wasted time – if you choose to view it that way – is just the figurative trip to the butcher’s in preparation for the evening meal. One of the many blessings to living in the city we do is the entrenched appreciation for the arts in all their glory, in particular music. It’s often easy to forget that on pretty much any night of the year you are able to catch live music in some shape or form in the lower numbers of the PO postal district. Folk, punk, metal, dance, hip-hop, electro, psych, garage, noise, rockabilly, hardcore, grindcore, new wave, no wave….. you get the point. The reason for this sometimes over looked blessing is the metaphorical Yang to the aforementioned blogs Ying – and the heavily digressed from point of this writing – decent, hardworking gig promoters.
Now this piece is not aimed at being a comprehensive, yellow pages style A-Z of the city’s gig organisers, it is more a snapshot into the world of a promoter, looking to give us average Joes a better understanding of how everything works. So before I go any further, please accept from me – on behalf of Portsmouth’s music appreciating citizens – a heart felt thank you everyone putting on nights of live music for our enjoyment. You know who you are and you are, quite frankly, bloody marvelous folk.
Three particular parties within the local group of promoters have been rather big waves throughout the last year that warrants a certain amount of attention and are currently working hard to put together what should be a pretty epic event in December. Champagne Justice, Pie & Vinyl presents and Strong Island Recordings have grown from mere concepts and ideas to being the front runners in bringing some of the finest acts in the country and beyond onto our small island, just off the M27. Thanks to them, the likes of Later… with Jools Holland slaying Drenge, Brighton noisemaker and NME favorite Theo Verney and serial summer festival gatecrashers Wild Smiles have all performed in some of Portsmouth’s most intimate environments before the rest of the world caught on. With this strong, fast built pedigree, the trio are pooling their collective talents into the recently announced Gland Rock charity event at Southsea Social club in aid of the Feel Yourself campaign. In the run up to the event, a closer eye shall be cast over these purveyors of live music in an attempt to get an understanding of the who, what, why, where and when that got them into putting live music on for our enjoyment. It could be interesting or it could be a shambles, let’s wait and see which.
(All photos provided by Rusty Sheriff)