They're making a killing – and all in the name of love at the Valentine's Day Massacre

Horseflies at The Valentine's Day Massacre 5. Picture by Sam Taylor
Horseflies at The Valentine's Day Massacre 5. Picture by Sam Taylor
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We may have already passed St Valentine's Day, but the local music scene will be celebrating it in its now customary manner by coming together 'to mutilate songs of love, lust and heartbreak'.

And best of all, it's all done in the name of charity – to raise money for Youth Music.

This is now the sixth Massacre, and after being based in The Edge of The Wedge for the past few years, it has been moved into The main Wedge for the first time to meet demand after The Edge sold out.

Co-organiser and member of The Battery Hens, Matthew Tiller explains: 'This is something we’ve wanted to do for years. Last year sold out in advance, and we talked back then about moving it into the main room but there was already something on in there, so we couldn’t.

'There were a few people who couldn’t get in last year, including some band members’ girlfriends. But they should have bought them their tickets in advance really,' he deadpans.

The Edge is typically decked out in suitably romantic fashion for the night.

'It’s going to be an interesting experience. Every year has been a challenge, and this is going to be a bigger challenge than ever. We’re trying to get our hands on as many decorations as possible to fill it out.'

The ethos behind the show has remained the same: 'The basic principle of it is that all of the bands have to do songs about relationships – falling in love, falling out of love, being in a complicated relationship, lustful ones, slow-jams.

'The bands can choose if they want to have a theme, I always call it a bit of a musical potluck , you don’t know what dish the other bands are going to bring to the table. The idea is that all of the bands are in the dark about what the others are playing, so it’s a surprise to everyone.

'Bands can do what they want. They can do a tribute set – Noyo Mathis did a tribute to Kiss, we did a tribute to Duran Duran last year, The Stayawakes did a Neighbours-themed set, they came out to the theme song, and played a Jason Donovan song, Natalie Imbruglia, they had some inflatable kangaroos. We did a latin-pop set one year, with a mariachi band set up, playing Ricky Martin and that, it was fun.'

Filling the bill is never a problem as there are always plenty of acts willing to take part.

'This year, I’ve tried to get some fresh blood in. The whole point of the gig is to raise money for Youth Music, and that’s all about being inclusive and making music available to everyone, so if it was just me and my mates, it kind of goes against  the point of the charity.

'Like Cyprian Sceptre, we saw them doing a cover of Rasputin by Boney M at another gig, so we thought straight away that they'd be great for it.

'We end up making friends through the Massacre which is the best bit, I’ve met some people who’ve wanted to do it, and if they’re enthusiastic, we take the chance.'

In a break with convention, Matthew reveals his own band will be doing a set of Prince songs.

'It’s a bit of a running joke at the Wedge [where he is marketing manager]. I'm always being told I look like different people, but I often get told I look like Prince, apparently. For the last five years it’s been a constant.

'We’ve been talking about doing it for a long time, so this year we’re finally caving in. People think I look like Prince, but unfortunately I don’t sound like him, so that should be interesting. I definitely can’t play guitar like him!'

Despite the unknown nature of the night, it is going from strength-to-strength.

'It is a weird one to promote,' Matthew admits. 'It’s a gig but not really a gig, with some bands who aren’t real bands, and those who are, aren’t playing their stuff, or they’re doing tributes, but they’re not tribute acts.

And you never know what you’re going to get with the execution of the songs, sometimes it can be brilliant, sometimes it can be a car crash, and it’s kind of brilliant to watch, but that can be difficult to sell to people, so I’m glad that over the last few years people have got into it and fingers crossed we can keep building on it.

Ultimately, the bigger room means we can raise more money, and keep having fun with it.

Each act gets 15 minutes and  the line-up includes Fainites, Hooch, Two Cool Lads, Halliwell, Cyprian Sceptre, 'supergroup' Justice 4 Fathers, Jesse Wyldes and The Stallions, Battery Hens and unnamed mystery guests.

There is also a raffle with prizes donated by Victorious Festival, Pie & Vinyl, M-One, King Street Tavern and many more.

The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Saturday, February 17, tickets cost £5. Doors open 7pm.