Broken Republic and Ronk Torp play gig to support under threat Arts Lodge in Victoria Park

From left, volunteer artists Lorrie Slee and Serena Wild, Ben Baxter of Broken Republic and Lodge Arts Centre owner Mark Lewis, next to the new Save the Lodge mural

From left, volunteer artists Lorrie Slee and Serena Wild, Ben Baxter of Broken Republic and Lodge Arts Centre owner Mark Lewis, next to the new Save the Lodge mural

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Broken Republic are an unusual beast for a band. The genre-splicing act don’t tour, but that doesn’t mean they don’t play live. Far from it – but only as long as it’s for the right reasons.

Earlier this week they played outside Brighton train station in solidarity with the striking guards from Southern rail.

We are choosing to play in support of people who are having their voices trampled on, to help their voices get heard that bit more

Ben Baxter

And tonight they will be playing at a fundraising and awareness raising gig for The Arts Lodge in Victoria Park, which is under threat of closure from Portsmouth City Council.

Ben Baxter, from Broken Republic, had played at the lodge with his former band, Holy North and Jones, so when he heard about the threat, offered his new band’s support.

‘Because the band’s political we thought it would be good to show our support for the lodge,’ explains Ben. ‘What they’re doing to the lodge is out of order.

‘We’re very anti corporation of public amenities – yesterday we were at Brighton station supporting the RMT in their strike against the way their guards are being treated by Southern.

‘We are choosing to play in support of people who are having their voices trampled on, to help their voices get heard that bit more.’

‘I think we’re going to try and get behind more causes – we align ourselves to no political party. I’m quite a staunch believer that the system at the moment isn’t working, but I will put myself behind what I think are good ideas – like renationalising the railways, or looking after independent arts.

‘Art and music have always had a place in politics to change things, It’s a very powerful vehicle, but it’s getting stamped on.

‘There isn’t enough of a political message in mainstream music now. There’s some in reggae and there’s some in hip-hop, but that’s about it.’

The four-piece, completed by Andy Booth, Laila Hansen and Alex Stack, will be performing their debut album Sold.

Support comes from funk collective Ronk Torp, an acoustic set from Charlie Harris while DJs Marc Flood and Jonty spin the tunes. The gig takes place outside the cafe in Victoria Park from 7.30pm. Entry is £4.99.

The Arts Lodge, Victoria Park, Portsmouth

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