On Saturday, Fitz Promotions Golden Touch Festival made its debut at Portsmouth‘s The Wedgewood Rooms/the Edge of the Wedge bringing some of the best upcoming bands to the city. With soaring temperatures outside, the festival was a good indoor retreat even if the Edge of the Wedge became more and more like a sauna as the day went on. The Wedgewood Rooms was a welcome, cooler, even fridge-like temperature in comparison. For such a hot day, the two venues were suitably packed from afternoon to evening.
Opening the Wedgewood Rooms stage, Southampton’s finest indie-rock solo artist (performing with a full band on the day) Calum Lintott brought infectious, indie-pop tunes to the venue. His brand new, forthcoming single ‘Hideaway’ was also given its first live airing. The White Lakes returned to the Edge of the Wedge following their headline gig there back in March. The Oxford based quartet played to a far bigger crowd this time though, thankfully, bringing their powerful, catchy alt-rock to life.
Up next in the Wedgewood Rooms was Guildford based Cascade whose laddish, upbeat indie-rock doused the venue in brit-pop, nothing more, nothing less. The band were followed by the fast rising local band Crystal Tides whose equally punchy, indie-rock very much brought the party to the venue. Crystal Tides also teased their forthcoming ear-worm ‘Thunder’ which is out in a few weeks.
High On Neon were the only acoustic act of the day and they briefly calmed the mood. Featuring two members of Blackfoot Circle, the trio performed stripped back versions of their (allegedly anyway as the band are yet to release any music) electronic-tinged tracks. Kicking things up a slight notch, Submariner powered through a potent set of ambient, indie-pop tracks. The bands set was filled with live favourites including ‘Ghosts’, the one that’s named after some graffiti in Fratton (which should be released because it’s great!) and latest single ‘Echoes’.
Definitely one of my highlights from the day, Oddity Road had an electrical energy that dominated their performance despite the heat. The Sheffield based band had punchy riffs, catchy tunes and a dynamic live performance. A suitable warmup to the last stretch of bands coming up.
Donning ponchos and sombreros, The Pretty Visitors brought a vibrant performance of punchy indie-rock tracks to the Wedgewood Rooms, suitably warming the crowd up for Cassia. The band’s performance saw The New Shoes drummer Tom Bennett standing in on bass duties for the gig. The Pretty Visitors set was supercharged by their latest two releases ‘Other Side’ and ‘It’s Not Easy’ amongst other energy-filled live favourites.
Ulysses Wells headlined the, now sweltering, Edge of the Wedge stage with stomping, blues-infused, hard-hitting sometimes heavy rock. It was a set filled with attitude, grit-filled set with some calmer moments being few and far between.
Although hitting the stage 20 minutes late due to technical difficulties which meant I couldn’t see the second half of their set, Cassia impressed once again for the second time in two weeks. Over said two weeks I’ve definitely listened to their debut album ‘Replica’ (released back in April) more than ‘100 Times Over’, if you’ll excuse the obvious pun. It’s an album that’ll definitely be heading to some quite high places in end of year lists for sure. Bringing many of the albums tracks to life, Cassia played a plethora of summery tunes for the aptly warm evening. The bands energy, despite their music being pretty laid back, is infectious and has spread amongst the sea of dancing/swaying audience members very early on in their set.
It was a strong debut for Golden Touch Festival proving once again that Portsmouth does festivals on any scale incredibly well. With a strong lineup of both local and not so local bands which turned out to be better than it looked on paper, the festival has well earned itself in Portsmouth’s festival calendar presuming it will return. See you in 2020?