Gorillaz – Portsmouth Guildhall, 4th June 2017

The atmosphere was absolutely unparalleled with anything I’ve ever experienced as the Portsmouth Guildhall filled up with eager and very lucky fans to witness one of Gorillaz very first shows since their epic comeback earlier this year. The security was heavier than usual due to recent events, but this didn’t dampen any moods and it was handled perfectly.

I have never witnessed a show with so much going on at once – but too much is never really too much with a band like Gorillaz. Jamie Hewlett’s graphics were incredible and fitted perfectly with each song, and bassist Seye Adelekan’s presence on stage was something I had never seen before – even his silhouette on stage is something completely iconic.

The set started off with an intro and then an explosive rendition of Ascension, and six backing singers accompanied the band throughout the entire festival headliner-length two hour set. There were a plethora of guests (unfortunately no appearances from Shaun Ryder or Noel Gallagher) especially for a warm-up show, and the commitment they took into the show in general was extraordinary. Damon Albarn’s stage presence was humble yet energetic, throwing about six bottles of water into the crowd overall and giving the microphone to a lucky front-row fan to play his melodica. Clad in a bomber jacket that stayed on throughout the set even in such a boiling hot venue, his presence on stage was evidently of somebody with decades of experience, and he brought a fantastic energy to the set. Albarn also dedicated Andromeda from the new album to the attacks in Manchester and London which was very fitting, and gained a huge cheer from the audience. The set itself consisted mainly of tracks from Humanz, but they still covered all bases with all classic songs such as DARE, Rhinestone Eyes, Dirty Harry and Kids With Guns, and a brilliant encore of Feel Good Inc., Clint Eastwood, Don’t Get Lost In Heaven and Demon Days to conclude.

Gorillaz are an absolute must-see band, the set was a fantastic all-around show and even my mum loved it. You could tell every person on that stage loved every minute and loved being back on stage, and I have absolutely nothing to fault. Whoever has tickets to Demon Dayz or the tour towards the end of this year has every right to be ridiculously excited.

 

Slaves Pier Party

This is different to a post I would normally write, but I wanted to express my disappointment and share my experience with the lack of organisation and appalling behaviour I witnessed at the Slaves Pier Party last night.

Disclaimer: I do not in any way believe this is of any fault of the band, this is purely an open letter of complaint to the organisers and security of the event. Slaves made a statement on social media, which I have linked at the bottom of the page.

To organise an event like this, it needs to have a lot of care and consideration taken into it. Brighton Palace Pier is the biggest landmark in the city, and it’s without saying, a much less stable environment to hold a gig than a pub or an O2 Academy.

My first impression of the pier party was a mixture of impressed and confused, however I do believe if the weather wasn’t so utterly miserable, it would have been a different experience. That being said, that impression was on a constant decline. 5 minutes before Slaves were due on stage, I was greeted with barriers and a huge crowd to get into the area in which they were playing, which was an instant red flag. I poked my head through the plethora of people and noticed the biggest space was still available in the area for the gig, and nobody was allowed in. A sizeable surge of people broke through the barriers as Slaves came on, but I, unfortunately due to my ‘late’ arrival and being towards the back of this crowd, got stuck directly behind the barrier, directly in front of security so I witnessed their rude, abusive behaviour first hand. My friend asked one simple question, “why aren’t we getting let in?” and he was extremely nasty back to his innocent question. People started pushing and my foot got caught underneath the barrier, I asked a security guard to help me get my foot unstuck, no response. They were in general, very angry and abusive, and completely unnecessary.

Another surge of angry fans started pushing and managed to get past the barriers and wall of security guards that had been built in front of us, so luckily some more of us managed to get in, which I feel absolutely no guilt for with the way the security acted and the ridiculous amount of space there was still left in the area. I ran for my life with utter joy that I was actually able to see the gig at a normal distance. However, still at least a quarter of ticket holders did not get in whatsoever and had to watch the band they spent £25 on a ticket for, from a long distance which I cannot put in any other words than it being, quite simply, absolutely appalling.

I don’t think the organisers of the event had ever listened to Slaves, because they clearly didn’t realise they were a punk band and people are clearly not going to just stand around and watch them in a civilised manner. They also clearly didn’t think through the ticket sales, as the structural integrity of the pier was in question with the number of people jumping around in the same place. Slaves’ set was cut short. Very short. They started at 9:30pm sharp, and finished abruptly at 10:15. There was one pathetic set of barriers to split one half and the other half of the crowd up, but if they wanted people to be more split up, it would have been painfully simple to avoid this issue. It was so obviously not thought through whatsoever.

Overall, I am just absolutely beyond disappointed with the way this whole event was handled and I hope every single ticket holder receives some kind of redemption as it was the poorest organisation of an event I have ever seen in my gig-saturated life. I have never seen such ugly behaviour from members of security, and such awful organisation for an event that has been planned for months. So, a bit of advice to anyone deciding to run an event on a load of giant planks of wood over the sea:

A: Think about the amount of people attending, and maybe consider putting up frequent barriers to split up the crowd.

B: SELL LESS TICKETS. If you can’t accommodate all people by the main area where the HEADLINE BAND are playing, do not sell that many tickets. It’s really quite simple.

C: Have some respect for people who paid to go to this event. No attendees or even the BAND were aware of any of the issues at hand, and everybody was very disappointed. Some people left ten minutes into the show, because they quite simply could not enjoy it and security were rude, verbally and even physically abusive to the band’s manager (statement made by Slaves below).

That being said, this was absolutely no fault of the band themselves and they handled it in what was the only way possible at the time.

Slaves themselves put on a fantastic show on the Horror Hotel, and it was without a doubt one of the coolest gigs I had ever been to, albeit being cut short. The atmosphere of the event was emphasised with the pouring rain, and I was completely impressed with the quality of the sound system for a stage that’s usually a haunted house attraction. The band played a variety of new and old classics, such as Take Control, The Hunter, Hey, Suicide and Beauty Quest from their very first album, and a special performance of Shutdown, as a consolation for the set being cut short. They are and will always be to me one of my favourite bands to see live, having followed them for 4-5 years I have yet to be disappointed with a performance. All issues of the event aside, it was still completely worth coming out in the rain for, and I’d do it again tomorrow.

The Great Escape have sent out e-mails to all ticket holders and will be getting in touch with a full response at some point today. Slaves made a statement directly after the gig on Twitter and Instagram, below: