Gig’s just the Tonic to bring about a time for change

Some of Portsmouth’s finest bands are pooling their talents in aid of Tonic, a local mental health charity which helps people through music.

Monday, 10th June 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 10th June 2019, 7:00 am
Portsmouth indie band Mudlarks are headlining the Time For Change gig in aid of the mental health charity, Tonic

Colour of The Jungle, The Realists, Kill Kasper and High on Neon (the new project from Blackfoot Circle frontman Jake Bezzina) are all performing, along with the the live debut of the Tonic Ska Choir, and Paul Dillon will be the compere.

Topping the bill are the indie-rockers The Mudlarks, who have just released their debut EP, Cruel Britannia.

Frontman Ben Brookes is just relieved to have the EP available to the public after a few problems behind the scenes delayed its release.

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‘It’s been fantastic to get it out, we’ve had some really good feedback, and the video for Breadline’s out too, which is going well.’

It’s inspired the four-piece to keep going while the proverbial iron is hot.

‘Hopefully within the next couple of months we’re going to get back in the studio and get as many tracks done as we can. We’d like to get a 10-track album out by the end of the year, and try to get our name on the map a little bit.

‘Every gig we’ve done lately, we’ve gone from strength-to-strength. Considering we took a three year hiatus and then came back with a bit of a vengeance, everyone seems to be lapping it up at the moment. And we’re loving it, we really are.’

Tonic, which is based in Highland Road, Southsea, is a cause close to Ben’s heart.

‘I’ve suffered a little bit throughout my life with mental health issues, and it’s one of those things that’s never talked about, really. We’ve been brought up in life to think that with male bravado, the thing is to get on with life, and: “There’s nothing wrong with you really, mate, get on with it”.

‘It is time for change and time for people to start realising that men do have mental health issues and it does need to be addressed.’

Promoter Debby Couzens was inspired to put the fundraiser together after meeting Tonic founder Steph Langan.

‘It’s mainly about men, they don’t talk about their feelings and emotions.

‘It is such a taboo subject, and I think people don’t know who to talk to. This is such an amazing charity they do all these great workshops, it’s so encouraging, and it’s such an opportunity for people – it’s well needed in Portsmouth – there’s nothing else around like it.

‘It’s going to be a fun night. The idea was simply to get behind the charity and help make them some money.’

And Debby will be onstage too, as part of the recently formed Ska Choir.

‘Stef told me about the choir so I went along to the first session and have been to every one since. We’ve got about 25 members now of all different ages.

‘It’s fun – it’s brilliant stress relief. I’ve never sung before, so this is well out of my comfort zone.’


The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Friday, June 14