Review | Road to Victorious winner Harvey Jay Dodgson at The Wedgewood Rooms: 'Not only playing up to expectations, but exceeding them'

​Rarely is the generation gap as obvious as when Harvey Jay Dodgson holds up a disposable camera and asks the audience if they know what it is.
Harvey Jay Dodgson at The Wedgewood Rooms on March 28, 2024Harvey Jay Dodgson at The Wedgewood Rooms on March 28, 2024
Harvey Jay Dodgson at The Wedgewood Rooms on March 28, 2024

And not only that, he then explains how to use it, before passing it into the audience – a majority of whom were born this side of 2000 – to hand around…

Dodgson has been having a good couple of weeks. He won this year’s Road To Victorious competition from a talented shortlist, which earns him a multi-faceted prize designed to give his music career a leg up – culminating in a main stage set at this August’s Victorious. It’s nice to see last year’s winners Crystal Tides in the house too, purely as punters – like a metaphorical passing of the torch.

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Now he’s realised another of his ambitions – headlining his own gig at The Wedgewood Rooms.

Obviously if an audience has put down their hard-earned to come see an act, you can assume they’re a fan, but I have rarely seen a crowd quite as partisan as this. If there are any lulls on stage between songs, they’re immediately filled by full-throated chants of “Harvey Jay Dodgson”.

Last time I saw Dodgson perform was at last August’s Wickham Festival, where he turned in an enjoyable enough set on that muddy weekend.

This, however, was on an entirely different level.

The set is peppered with a few new tracks, but it’s clear when the band play a previously released single because he has most of the near-to-capacity house singing straight back at him.

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Midset the rest of the band leaves Harvey to perform solo for a couple of songs. The first one goes down well, but then comes the evening's only real misfire – he comes into the crown with an acoustic guitar and no mic. For those next to him, great, but most of the venue could neither see nor hear him, which was a shame.

The band is well-drilled and Dodgson’s got a nice line in indie-pop – somewhere between George Ezra and Sam Fender.

Kids on The Firing Line shows him tackling serious themes – and giving it some serious welly in the guitar department.

New single Freedom is the first of the encores, and it shows big steps in Dodgson’s songwriting. It’s as catchy as Covid and will make an excellent calling card for him.

As he takes off his jacket to reveal a Pompey shirt with ”Play Up Harv” on the back, he has definitely played up to expectations – and exceeded them.