Review | Pompey Punk'n'Roll at The Pier: 'Emptifish are still The Guv'nors'

Portsmouth's iconic landmark South Parade Pier has hosted some famous names over the years, from Pink Floyd and David Bowie in the ’60s and ’70s to The Stone Roses and Blur in the ’80s and ’90s.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 9:27 pm
The Racketeers in action at the Pompey Punk'n'Roll at The Pier, August 2021. Picture by Paul Windsor

Now newly refurbished, one hopes there will be a return to those halcyon days.

In the meantime the cream of the Portsmouth music scene gathered at the end of the pier for a midsummer party.

Needless to say the mid-August the weather is not being compliant, but the large audience are hardy souls and while the dark clouds rolled in, thankfully the rain held off.

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Emiliyah Witkiewicz, lead singer of Emiliyah and The MightyZ All Stars, at the Pompey Punk'n'Roll at The Pier, August 2021. Picture by Paul Windsor

Paul Groovie, Steve Lympany, The Milton Underground Resistance and Dubbal provide the early garage rock entertainment with Emiliyah and The MightyZ All Stars served up a slice of sunshine with their lovers-rock reggae groove.

There was a sense of anticipation for the long-awaited return of Pompey’s kings of Jamaican R’n’B, The Racketeers. Lead singer Mark Ballard looking as sharp as ever, taking time out from The Dinz, his voice as golden as ever. New double bassist Roisin Egan was a delight, adding some welcome glamour for a once-again male-dominated musical day’s entertainment.

Now whether it was a vain attempt to keep warm or not, the crowd was soon on its feet, skanking away to the mecurial ska beat with Bartender closing a rapturously recieved set.

With what must have been a two year wait due to the pandemic, I often wondered if there would ever be another Emptifish gig, but was delighted to hear they were booked for the Victorious Festival. And then this was announced with the mighty ‘Fish headlining.

From the opening crashing chords of 395 BBK the band hit the ground running with sure-fire classic after classic.

Lead singer George Hart looking as devishly handsome as ever, the band all with matching red guitars and black, looking as fantastic as always and showing why they were one of the most influential Portsmouth bands around.

The newer songs have more Cramps-like rock’n’roll overtones, with set closer Psychedelic Surfboard showing perfectly why they are still The Guv’nors.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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