Review | The Stayawakes, Everyone Lies, and Rats! Rats! Rats! at The Edge of The Wedge: Southsea Fun for everyone

The first concert put on by promoter Southsea Fun in a decade (blame life, kids, etc), and it’s a rattlingly good night out.
The Stayawakes at The Edge of The Wedge on February 28, 2023The Stayawakes at The Edge of The Wedge on February 28, 2023
The Stayawakes at The Edge of The Wedge on February 28, 2023

With apologies to openers Norm Archer, second band of the night Rats! Rats! Rats! are already on by the time I arrive.

This Gosport guitar and drums duo rattle through their set at high speed – songs don’t outstay their welcome and the heavy-riffing is accompanied by lyrics laced with pitch-black humour. They at least have the grace to spell the name of set-closer Kathryn in its lyrics. This reviewer thanks you.

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Next up are Everyone Lies – the kind of skate-punk band who belong on the soundtrack of a ’90s or noughties American teen comedy.

Keenly aware of local rivalries, the four-piece joke that they’re from Andover – they’re really from the other end of the M27, but they’re clearly among friends here and no one really cares.

We also get to hear about a less-heralded side effect of being on anti-depressants in among the copious amounts of amusing banter. It’s a big-hearted set, and despite the flashes of punk angst the fun the band appear to be having on stage soon transmits to the audience.

This is headliners The Stayawakes first hometown headline show in some time and, in a bold move, is heavy on the new material. Fortunately they’ve decided not to mess with the power-pop formula and the new songs are still as big on choruses, harmonies, and catchy riffs as ever.

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Former single Lovestruck is a familiar highlight – it’s Fountains of Wayne at their rockiest, while a new one about wanting Kate Bush to give their shoes back, obviously (written before her Stranger Things’ inspired revival, bassist Jimmy Cooper promises) sounds like it could become a staple.

Earning a genuine encore – there’s nothing else on the setlist, they dip back to their debut album for Little Explorer, which explodes in a feedback laden finale from guitarists PJ and Ricksey while drummer Steve Hart thrashes away on the kit and Cooper’s bass is thrown at the floor.

So, as PJ quips, at a mere £6, catching a bill like this is now officially (possibly) a cheaper way of keeping warm than staying home with the heating on. The soundtrack’s a darn sight better too.