The Edge Of The Wedge, Portsmouth


A quick drive down the motorway to get the first gig of the New Year under by belt. Tonight’s choice gig is at The Edge of the Wedge, a nifty named little bar next to The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. With tonight’s entertainment being provided by young rockers Velvetine. Support by Belligerence and Bournemouth’s very own Western Sand. So, a nice heavy start to the year.

The clock hits 20:00 and Bournemouth four-piece Western Sand opened with their backs to the crowd, as the smoke machine gave out a little ambiance and the PA pushing out a Clint Eastwood dialogue… “Do you feel lucky punk?”

From the start heads are nodding along in appreciation to their Southern rock stylings. At the end of the first track the audience were keeping their distance from the stage but gave a good reaction none the less. Hampered by some extraneous distortion during the quieter parts (might just have been the speaker I was stood by) but this did not detract from the overall vibe. Although front man Tylerís vocals seemed a little quiet to me.

The music was a cracking slice of old school hard rock with that classic Southern sleaze feel. “A Place I Call Home” had the Audiences full attention, calling the crowd forward, they played “Welcome to the Badland’s” and the venue seemed immediately fuller. Great bass riff from Findlay providing the backdrop, with a solid drum beat provided by Nathan.

“Going Down” was a darker number, almost sleazier in its feel. Tyler tried to coax the audience into vocal participation with a chant of “Come on, come on” but he didnít get the desired response. Taking it fully in their stride, they carried on undeterred, as the crowd seemed firmly intent on listening and not partaking. Closing with “Nothing To Lose” a forceful opening and driving guitars gave a great close to their set, they left the stage to appreciative applause from the audience.

Having listened to Western Sand, a bit of a popular choice around Rock Regeneration, it was good to finally see them live, and experience the hype that surrounds them. Did I “feel lucky?” I do now. Well worth seeing live.

Western Sand

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Next up were Belligerence, a Portsmouth based five piece, who were down one member, although, this did not seem to affect their powerful performance. They have played the likes of Download and Hard Rock Hell, and they definitely had that chemistry for larger venues and events. They opened with a heavy Black Sabbath vib and unleashed a wall of sound and energy onto the crowd.

After a brief instrumental opening, the rhythm came pounding in overlaid with Tim’s vocals. Sounding akin to the Four Horsemen but much heavier (with possibly a Pearl Jam/Energy Orchard feel to them). Tim spent most of the time stood in the audience as opposed to on the small stage, taking their sound straight into the crowd. With plenty of guitar work provided by Dave and Craig, all backed Lee’s solid drum work there was no chance of misunderstanding their Hard Rock, at times almost Hardcore sound.

With each track getting a stronger crowd reaction and Tim’s raw delivery vocals reminding me of Phil Ansemo at times – hard and uncompromising.

Song “Remember” opened gently with a rhythm that sounded familiar – but then the track hits you with its full force. Closing with a faster paced number “Martyr” saw more crowd reaction. With the addition of another vocalist hampered by cabling issues, did not detract from their performance. They left to tremendous applause, these guys are worth checking out, everyone was now ready for the headline act.


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And on to tonight’s headliners Velvetine, the 4 piece hit the stage at 21:40. Describing themselves as “A blare of retro Rock Ní Roll, hairspray and Punk Rock swagger, a four strong outfit based in Portsmouth, sporting drain pipe jeans, low slung guitars and more make-up and eyeliner than your average group of men.”

It’s all true! But what made them stand out was their grasp on the retro elements. They played tight and pulled in a number retro influences, producing a full, tightly knitted sound. Couple this with a nifty little light show, impressive for such a small venue, you had all the ingredients for a great rock gig. And it was.

Opening with no introduction and diving headlong into their first track “Fighting for the Wrong Side” you knew what you were getting, and the crowd were there waiting for it.

Having been away for a little while editing new material, this was their hometown opening to their tour for their new single “Inside The Thunder”. However, there was no sign of having been away from live performances, as they command the stage with an almost punk attitude. They pumped out high energy rock which went down a storm with the assembled crowd which had, again, grown.

Things take a turn for the heavier with “This Side of the Sun” with ample use of a cowbell, with all eyes on the stage the guys have the full attention of the audience and have no trouble coaxing them into clapping. “Dirty rose” is up next, one of their older tracks, and has all the hallmarks of a classic, not quite hair metal but definitely good rock in that vibe.

“Mammas little girl” was blasted out next, a song, they said, that was about making love. Velvetine have taken the metal/rock formula and have produced something to call their own. Again, although the crowd is not moving about much but the band still have their undivided attention.

Rhianna cover came next “Shut up and Drive” now I am not a Rhianna fan, but they put this put out this little belter and it fitted right in, great guitar work and attitude. This was followed by another cover, a little more in keeping with the evenings vibe as they pushed out “Whole Lotta Rosie”. Played effortlessly and got more of the crowd moving.


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As the set progressed each song got a great response, with a tremendous rock sound that betrayed their young looks! Putting aside their youth they have a solid sound which they produced effortlessly, with a commanding stage presence.

“Inside The Thunder” closed the set, especially as this gig is for their debut single to be released later this year. This track finished the performance on a high with its blazing guitar riffage, fast rhythms, vocals, throw in the light show and there was no better way to end proceedings. The whole venue was really starting to come alive as the track finished.

Only on for a half hour they needed more time, the crowd was just getting started and wanted a few more tracks. Thankfully this did not detract from a great performance.

Right I am off to Google Rhianna, and more importantly to see when Velvetine are playing again!

Set List
Fighting For The Wrong Side
If You Want It
This Side Of The Sun
Dirty Rose
Live Fast Die Young
Mamma’s Little Girl
Shut Up N’ Drive
Whole Lotta Rosie
Inside The Thunder



Words and Video by Jon “I wish I hadn’t had the sound turned up when I Googled Rhianna” M.
Photos by Dan O’Gara.

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