Wedgewood Rooms one-day festival has got the Golden Touch with headliners Bang Bang Romeo, Crystal tides and more
Now that Victorious Festival is out of the way for another year, it’s the chance for more intimate affairs like Golden Touch Festival to step up.
And among those playing the one-day event, which takes place this Saturday and highlights the best in up-and-coming local and touring talent, are headliners Bang Bang Romeo.
The band weren’t at this year’s Victorious, but they were due to play it back in 2018 on the Sunday. Unfortunately the heavens opened and the wind was blowing a gale forcing many smaller stages to outright cancel and delayed starting on the main stage.
However the trio from Doncaster refused to give up when their slot was pulled and managed to snatch – ahem – victory from the jaws of defeat.
‘That is actually one of the most memorable shows we've ever done,’ says frontwoman Stars Walker with a laugh.
‘It got completely rained off and was so dangerous – when we got there the stage was literally a huge puddle.
‘The stage eventually opened, but by then our slot had been and gone. So we were like, well, we've driven all the way here, we've gigged here before on tour, we're going to play!
‘So we put it out on Facebook, asking: “Are there any venues around willing to take a band? We've got all the equipment here, where can we play?”’
Three cocktail bar (since closed) on Palmerston Road, Southsea saw the plea, got in touch, and before you knew it the gig was back on.
‘We played the venue and it was absolutely rammed within an hour. It was great fun and everyone was absolutely buzzing – and sopping wet through, everyone smelt like a wet dog!’
Since then the band have gone from strength-to-strength, with their music roaming all over the musical map, from rock to pop, all with Stars’ powerhouse vocals front and centre.
And it was these qualities which landed them a support slot on the 2019 European leg of megastar Pink’s Beautiful Trauma stadium-gobbling world tour.
They landed the gig after Pink’s UK agent got wind of the buzz about them and attended a London gig to check them out. She was impressed enough to get them on the shortlist presented to Pink to make the choice from.
‘I was watching daytime TV with a bowl of Coco Pops when I got the call. I was on my own, because my partner was at work, so the cat must have wondered what on earth was going on from my response!
‘It was an absolute dream come true – especially for a front person to say those two words: “Hello Wembley!” I naturally had recurring nightmares of saying: “Wello Hembley,” and messing it up.
‘We got to go in hours before the show, so we took a football out when no one was in there and had a kick about. It was just bizarre.’
In an extra surreal twist, the band were supporting Sting at the Montreux Jazz Festival the night before the first Wembley show.
‘We had a flight at 3am back to London for the next day. We had people asking us if we were coming to the after party and we were having to say: “No, because we're playing Wembley tomorrow...” It was just the strangest conversation.’
But performing on those huge stages certainly gave Stars the feeling she was where she belonged.
‘Just to walk out on those stages, and not to sound like an idiot, but it was the most natural thing, and it felt right.’
After the highs of the Pink tour, the band released their debut album, A Heartbreaker's Guide To The Galaxy, to critical acclaim, and hoped to hit the road again to capitalise.
‘We love playing live, it's our bread and butter. When the pandemic hit we had plans to go to America, Europe, we had Glastonbury on the cards.
‘We'd just done the Pink tour, so it was, right, now it's our turn to headline some bigger venues, and then it all went shooom!’ she makes the sound of, well, everything going down the tubes.
Now though, they’re planning to make up for lost time, with their biggest ever headline tour in autumn, but not until they’ve headlined Golden Touch.
‘It's been a while since we've been down to Portsmouth and I'm really looking forward to it because we obviously get to headline The Wedgewood Rooms,’ Stars enthuses, ‘but we also get to see people like Crystal Tides and these other new names which I've seen popping up online, but because we haven't been able to gig I’ve not been able to see them myself.
‘I'm excited to be an attendee of the festival myself too!’
Earlier this month, the band also released a new single Shatterhand. The fact that it sounds like a Bond theme-in-waiting is no mistake.
‘It did actually go up for the Bond theme!’ says Stars.
‘We recorded it at the Sunset Sound studios in LA, which was amazing, because that was where Prince created Purple Rain. It was one magical environment.
‘The people we were working with had an “in” with the Bond people, so we wrote our “Bond song”.
‘(Award-winning composer) David Campbell did the string arrangements. After we finished the demo, he got a 27-piece orchestra to record it in Tennessee.
‘Straight away, we're pinching ourselves again – we're just a band from Donny!
‘They sent it the Bond franchise and they loved it, and there was a couple of weeks of “we’re going to think on it...”
‘But then we got a call saying Billy Eilish had got it, and we were like: “Who's this Billy guy?”
‘No, just kidding,’ she says quickly, ‘we're massive fans of Billy. We knew we don't have that stature yet, but just for them to have heard it and to say such nice things about it is amazing.
‘We're after the next Mission Impossible film now.,’ she adds with a cackle.
Golden Touch Festival is at The Wedgewood Rooms and The Edge of The Wedge, Southsea on Saturday, September 4, featuring 20 acts. doors at midday. Tickets £12. Go to wedgewood-rooms.co.uk.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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