Saturday 3rd February was not only the return of Icebreaker Festival but also the 10th anniversary of the independent event. Having been to a fair few of these in the past, I can honestly say this was the best one so far and I had the privilege of being able to be a small part of it to write this review.
As part of their celebrations, Icebreaker teamed up with Makemake Brewery to create their very own pale ale which was on tap at The Wedgewood Rooms and sold out relatively early in the evening.
First on the agenda was a visit to The Loft, which I’ve not actually been too before, to catch Gosport’s own, Rats! Rats! Rats! They had already started playing when I arrived upstairs and managed to squeeze my way to the front of the already packed-out crowd. The two piece are best described as loud, progressive punk who really drew an crowd. To the point where people were trying to get in up the stairs and had to turn round due to how busy it was!
One of the lovely things about Icebreaker, apart from the fantastic venues, is the diversity of live music and the number of people enjoying new artists and dancing along to their firm favourites. I made my way back along Albert Road, past the packed out locations and on to the Wedgewood Rooms. I spent the remainder of the festival, popping between the main stage and the more intimate stage at the Edge of the Wedge.
Another local artist from Southampton, Calum Lintott, whose name I’ve heard a lot within the local music scene but not had the chance to see live. With his band behind him, Callum’s powerful and melodic vocals were perfect for this venue.
There were some real stand-out acts for me across the day, Welsh five piece ‘WYNT’, Blood Red Sky and Salvo were some of the bands who caught my eye and made me stop to watch some of their sets.
The venue was starting to really get packed out when local favourite ‘Tash Hills’ hit the stage with her full band, which really upped the tempo of the evening. With her powerful voice and fantastic melodies, I found myself having a dance to myself whilst photographing her set.
I headed to the back of the room to get some further shots and had to stop for a moment, to see so many people really lost within the music and dancing with each other, fully emersed in the music. Moments like this really make me appreciate live music and how being able to do this is something I will always be grateful for.
Fake Empire were fantastic as always, bringing their atmospheric indie rock to the stage, these guys are always a joy to watch and any fans of The Smiths or Joy Division will love their energy and vibe. Having been a firm favourite of this festival over the years as well as the local music scene, it was great to see them grace the main stage again.
New to the local music scene as a band but not as musicians, are Bottomless Brunch who have had great success with their first single ‘Pawn’ which was played on multiple media outlets but the most recent one being Radio X. Dressed in trademark blazers, Tyler, mentioned how this was only their 5th show and to go easy on them. You couldn’t tell though, and they put on a fantastic performance playing new unreleased songs such as Rocket Fuel and Bite Your Tongue.
South Coast pop punk favourites, The Bottom Line, charged onto the stage and from the first note, showed why they were going to be one of the favourites from the line up. Having seen them last year at Takedown Festival, I already knew the level of energy these guys give, and they did not disappoint. Playing two of my favourites, ‘Long Time Coming’ and ‘Broke’, they looked like they were having the best time. Singer, Callum, encouraged the audience to move closer to the stage and proceeded to jump into a sea of hands, which was so fun to watch.
Icebreaker Festival is a fantastic event to showcase unsigned acts from all musical genres across 9 venues in one full on day. It was a day not only filled with live music, seeing old friends and making new ones but as a collective way of bringing people together across the city, to experience some amazing home-grown talent and discover new artists. I’m already excited for next year, just need to make sure I wear comfier shoes. A massive thank you to Mike Hartley, Lizzi Kenyon and the whole Icebreaker team who were so welcoming and made me feel right at home.
It was a day not only filled with live music, seeing old friends and making new ones but as a collective way of bringing people together across the city, to experience some amazing home-grown talent and discover new artists. I’m already excited for next year, just need to make sure I wear comfier shoes.
Photos and Words – Hannah Kenyon