Portsmouth’s ever-evolving music scene is one of the South’s best-loved. This is owed to a plethora of musicians and bands ready to make their mark and a string of unique venues where they can do just that. The House of Rapture is one of the city’s newest spots for live music; an intimate, churchey space that sits next to Staggeringly Good; an aptly named micro-brewery that is becoming increasingly popular amongst locals.
On Friday night the venue played host to Portsmouth’s own Barbudo as they launched eight-track EP, Sunshine. The cosy venue, with its bespoke staging set-up, provided a suitable setting for a quick – but no less memorable – set of catchy songs from this fast-rising band.
The evening was held in collaboration with Pie & Vinyl Recordings; an event celebrating the release of Sunshine, the band’s appropriately titled EP. 500 copies have been printed, available from a handful of independent record stores around the country. Advance tickets selling out – and a consistent buzz at the merch desk on the evening – suggests there are big things to come for this band and their music which confidently fuses disco, funk and the psychedelic.
The House of Rapture has religious styling, with stained glass adorning the back wall and a stage set high above the crowd. It’s an odd set-up, one that not every gig-goer will appreciate, but one that Barbudo adapted to well, performing a lively set that brought the space to life. Brothers Ben and Harry Stanworth were accompanied by a full band, successfully commanding the attention of the crowd with tracks including Sunshine and Secret Admirer, as well as sneaking in a bit of Nelly and Kelly Rowland (it went down well).
When it looked as though they were making an early-ish exit from the stage there was a mutual groan of disapproval from the audience and they came back for two more songs, finishing on Realise the Reality (a favourite for those of us who regularly see them live) with everyone firmly rooted in the spirit of Friday thanks to the band’s energetic set and retro-esque artistry.
Barbudo continue to grow in prominence both here and in London, accruing a dedicated following that Friday’s launch signals is only set to get bigger. This is owed to a growing collection of expertly written songs and a confident image that evokes another era, cementing them as one of Portsmouth’s best exports.