Valentine's Day means murder on the dancefloor at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Since 2013, the Valentine’s Day Massacre has been spreading the musical love.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 6:00 am
'Elvis' lives at the Valentine's Day Massacre, February 2019, at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea. Picture by Russ Leggatt

Local bands are challenged to open up their hearts and cover love songs, in support of the charity Youth Music.

Hear these brave souls perform earnest, ill-considered, surprising, and occasionally triumphant cover versions of their favourite relationship-based songs. Each act get 15 minutes where they can play whatever they want, as long as the songs deal in love, lust or heartbreak.

Drawing on a wide range of genres, previous events have seen bands step out of their comfort zone and try their hand at electro-pop, power ballads, big band jazz and hip-hop.

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Starting life in The Edge of The Wedge, it graduated to The Wedgewood Rooms in 2018, and last year alone raised a whopping £2,900 for the charity.

This year’s line-up includes post-punks Horseflies; Unsigned Showcase 2017 winners Grief Daddy; a loving tribute to some punk legends, sleazy garage-rockers Make Them All Melt; part-time purveyors of love The Glorious Bulletheads; ukulele power-trio Halliwell; V-Day veteran Rusty Sheriff and friends; body-positive dance troupe Neptune Girls; the staff of The Wedgewood Rooms, and well-known local musician/teacher Leonie Tremain backed by the Neoroots band.

And members of popular tribute act Fleetingwood Mac have put together a one-off act just for the event, paying tribute to another classic ’70s band.

For the first time ever there will also be young performers, Southstreet are made up of Rocksteady music school students, taught by Make Them All Melt frontman Matt Palmer.

There will also be the return of the Mega Raffle, with prizes donated by dozens of local and independent businesses. Contributors include Victorious Festival, Wedgewood Rooms, Blue Reef Aquarium, No.6 Cinema, Feed, Pie & Vinyl, The Lord John Russell, Dials Festival and more.

The National Foundation of Youth Music is a charity investing in music-making projects, bringing opportunities for children to learn where there may not be any, offering alternatives to young people in deprived areas where other options may be bleak.

The Massacre was set up under Youth Music’s Give a Gig initiative which encourages musicians, venues and promoters to put on a gig – or make an existing gig a Youth Music fundraiser – and help create more life-changing music-making opportunities for young people nationwide.

Youth Music’s CEO Matt Griffiths says: ‘The St Valentine’s Day Massacre is a brilliant event in the Youth Music calendar as part of our Give a Gig fundraising initiative.

‘For the last seven years it’s been an amazing, high-energy night of music, love songs, dancing and fashion all in aid of making sure that more young people can make music, particularly those experiencing challenges in their lives.

‘Massive thanks to Matt, the team, the venues and the bands for making it happen and the gig goers for generously donating to Youth Music.’

Ali Coote, of Halliwell and Rocksteady Music School says: ‘The massacre to me is all about showcasing the diversity of talent this city has to offer while raising money for a really deserving cause. You never really know what to expect from the evening, but it’s always entertaining, inspiring and hilarious.

‘I played my first ever gig at Valentine’s and it was amazing to play to such a friendly and interested crowd.

‘Whether it’s the whole crowd singing Purple Rain, watching Elvis rise from the dead, or dancing to ’80s power ballads, The Massacre is everything live music should be: fun, empowering and unifying.’

Matthew Tiller, The Massacre’s founder adds: ‘It’s no exaggeration to say music changed my life. My job and my entire social life are built around it and I don’t think that would have been possible if it wasn’t for charity supported music studios and projects.

‘Music continues to be a great source of escapism and comfort that helps me through difficult times.

‘Youth Music recognise this and make it accessible for people who wouldn’t otherwise have those opportunities. It’s a great cause that we’re really proud to be supporting again at our eighth event.’

Fax Machine, frontman of world-leading providers of musical entertainment, Grief Daddy has the final word: ‘Usually we’re averse to charity events but after some consideration we feel our presence at the event could make us more marketable and open us up to bigger audiences.’


The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Saturday, February 15