Portsmouth psychedelic scene gets together for food bank all-dayer

Tomorrow Strong Island Recordings, Velvet Candy and Crocodile Nightmares join forces to present Interstellar Food Drive, a cosmic celebration of celestial sounds from the leftfield to help out the city's food bank.

Friday, 10th August 2018, 10:44 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 8:19 pm
Portsmouth-based psych-rockers Melt Dunes will headline the Interstellar Food Drive. Picture by Paul Gonella

The all-day, mini-festival boasts a bill topped by Melt Dunes, and includes scene luminaries such as Skinny Milk, Sad Palace, Number 9, Pregoblin, Black Helium, Mystic Peach, Superdrone, Scrubs and Dad Hair.

And Velvet Candy will be turning the venue into a kaleidoscopic cavern with their illuminating liquid light show. There will also be an art exhibition featuring talented graphic designers, plus a vegan barbecue. All profits from the day go to Portsmouth Food Bank .

The organisers were inspired to put on the event in response to the rising numbers needing to access food banks. Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, The Trussell Trust's foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13 per cent increase on the previous year.

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Chris Williamson, guitarist for Melt Dunes, and co-promoters Crocodile Nightmare, explains the reason behind the show: '˜It's something that upsets and angers us all that there are people who can't feed their families based on what they're earning and they need to go to food banks, it's really sad that that's the reality.

'˜And it's obviously a worthy cause, it's something people see every day '“ you see homeless people, but this isn't just a problem that effects the homeless, it's poorer families. I think it's something that's close to everyone's hearts, so we can get a few people together, raise awareness and raise some money that we can give to a worthy charity at the end of it.'

The heavy-psych four-piece have been stunning audiences with their aural assaults since 2015, and at the start of the year they put out their debut EP, Flesh.

Chris reckons the psych scene is on the rise at the moment:  '˜I only moved to Southsea about a year ago, but I was already spending a lot of time here before that. We started playing more shows here and we realised there's more potential here. There's more independent DIY venues and that sort of facilitated, even in the last year, more bands forming and coming to Southsea '“ they see it as a worthy place to play. There's a number of great local bands, Number 9, Mystic Peach - it's definitely improving.'

Melt Dunes recently went on their first European tour, playing seven dates in the Czech Republic, and France via Holland, Austria and Germany, which from the look of their social media posts was a messy but fun time.

'˜It was definitely both of those things,' Chris laughs. '˜It was an amazing experience, every venue was incredible in its own way, we played in a military prison in Prague '“ we stayed there overnight in the cells.

'˜We had no real idea what our reception would be like '“ it was out first time playing in Europe, but a lot of places sold out, which was something we didn't expect. It was a bit overwhelming, we're really grateful for it. We can't wait to go back out there.'

With the well-received Flesh under their belts, and a sold-out run of cassettes, the group is starting to plan its follow-up.

'˜In the near future, we're going to be getting back in the studio and experimenting. It's hard to say how long it's going to be, because we might spend hours and hours in the studio trying to get every little thing right, we don't know the full plan ourselves yet! We want to get something out as soon as possible though, hopefully early 2019. It will probably be another EP. Then after that we'll throw ourselves into an album. That will be our debut so we want to put everything we can into an album, that's important to us, we want it to be the very best it can.'

Tickets for the day are £8 advance.


The Dockyard Club, Southsea

Saturday, August 11