Staff Picks – Best Gigs of 2018

2018

We had some amazing acts pass through our doors this year with over 300 shows between The Wedge and The Edge! We’ve had living legends like Lee Scratch Perry, grizzled vets like Dreadzone & The Skids and fast rising stars like Freya Ridings & Black Honey to name just a few. We thought we’d ask our staff what gigs stood out to them either as punters or from their respective work stations. Let us know what shows you enjoyed in the comments 🙂

Womble – Skindred

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Skindred photo by Mr Teeth

We’ve had so many amazing gigs this year, but by the one that stands out the most for me was Skindred! I am so late to this party – I have to admit I hadn’t heard them before – but they were incredible! There’s generally a good vibe at a sold out show, but the energy coming out of the venue that night was crazy-it was the biggest party! I’ll definitely be heading to see them next time they play!

Tiller –The Nightingales w/ Stewart Lee & Grief Daddy

the nightingales better

I’m going to be upfront and admit to being slightly biased on this one as I did play in the support band BUT The Nightingales gig was such a unique and divisive evening that I feel compelled to mention it. This night somehow merged the jazz infused post-punk of the Gales with the meta stand up comedy of Stewart Lee (yeah him) and the minimalist electro ranting of Grief Daddy. Despite the eclectic line up it retained an arty cohesiveness throughout (some might say a shared pretentiousness). Shows with more uniform line-ups are great but I really enjoy variety and gigs that go against the grain and challenge the audience. The evening as a whole might not have been to everyone’s tastes, there was palpable confusion in the crowd at times, but it definitely got a strong reaction, which is what good shows should do. Honourable mentions to Andrew WK, Gruff Rhys, Lee Scratch Perry, Sunflower Bean, all the comedians and especially to Dream Wife for taking a genuine interest in the city, the venue and it’s audience.

Andy – The Annual St Valentines Day Massacre

massacre

Its been a diverse year at the Wedge with more female acts coming through and bands like Dream Wife raising LGBT issues which is always a good thing. Being an old indie kid I enjoyed the oldies like The Bluetones and Turin Brakes. But a mention should go to The Lottery Winners who were the support for Sleeper. A real testament to keeping an eye on the support acts and being blown away. A special show was also our own night the ‘Valentines Day Massacre’. By bringing the local scene together in such a freeing and diverse manner is a breath of fresh air from all the seriousness of touring bands.

Sarah – Willy Mason

willy mason

My most memorable gig this year has to be Willy Mason, I was looking forward to it anyway as he is always so good but this time he was the first of the gigs in what we refer to as “Touring Season” where it gets quite hectic and it just hit the right note as a soothing calm before the storm moment. I was transfixed and filled with joy along with the other 300 or so audience members, who sang along, laughed at his anecdotes and just fell in love with him and his music. Perfect start to the busy season for me

Tanya – Skindred

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Skindred photo by Mr Teeth

I was going to write about Andrew WK which took place back in April, mainly because of the fun he brought to Pompey. He told us all to keep partying whatever happens in life, and generally gave everyone in the venue an unforgettably good time. But then along came Skindred in November – Andrew WK would have been proud at the partying capabilities of everyone in the building that night. We even got to witness the famous Newport Helicopter, instigated by Benji who literally 10 minutes before had the crowd sitting on the floor, eating out the palms of his hands. Massive respect to such an awesome front man, and a band who are more than capable of performing some amazing ass-kicking metal, a sound to die for and a room full of gig goers who appeared to have the best time ever. Definitely my top gig of 2018, purely for the energy it brought.

Charlie – Dream Wife

dream wife
I was lucky enough to be working in the cloakroom earlier this year when Dream Wife played. Aside from the awesome fact that the band ran a workshop beforehand for local non binary people and women, their set was properly, genuinely fresh. The lead singer’s fractious energy on stage was captivating for the whole gig and at times downright menacing. A band that can keep you on your toes and really kick out some unexpectedly hefty tunes deserve all the success that’s coming to them.

Alice – Dream Wife

Dream Wife rose to expectations with their set at Wedgewood Rooms. They started the evening with an intimate panel with fans to find out more about the local music scene. It was brilliant to see Dream Wife taking an interest in their fans and to see the influence their message has on them too. The panel was attended by members of support band Queen Zee and local band The Hippaes. All these talented musicians in the room passing on their knowledge and advice to young upcoming artists/promoters is something that should happen more often. You could feel the energy and excitement in the room during each support band waiting for Dream Wife to take the stage. The positive and welcoming vibes from Dream Wife allowed for the audience to feel part of their family. Every song they played the audience were full of energy singing along to every lyric; its not something you see often. I predict that 2019 will be the year for Dream Wife…. Watch this space

Final Thoughts

So there you go, some great picks from our incredibly hard-working staff. 2018 has been another strange year filled with the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs and the creamy middles associated with running a live music venue. Summer in particular was a very difficult time for us as has become the tradition. However with your support and enthusiasm for live music we’re looking up and strutting into 2019 ready to rock and reach the ripe old age of 27. Big thank you to everyone who visited us, bought a t-shirt, put on a show or played at the venue. Hopefully we’ll see you in 2019 🙂

For a full listing of 2019 shows and tickets visit http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk. You can also support the venue by buying a t-shirt! More show announcements coming soon so make sure you’re following us on facebook, twitter and instagram. We also have a great line up go gigs as part of Independent Venue Week at the end of Jan. Check them out.

Last gig of 2018 is tonight with a huge NYE Party with The South Coast Collective! They will be blasting through five decades of hits from the Swinging Sixties to Noughties Indie. We will also be live streaming Big Ben at midnight and following it up with DJs until late. Just £12 in advance. Hopefully see you there 🙂

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