1865, Southampton

Featuring: Florence Black, Marco Mendoza, Scarlet Rebels, White Raven Down and The Wicked Jackals

This afternoon once again I find myself in Southampton at The 1865, for a stellar line-up of some of the finest up-and-coming Rock acts on the live music circuit today. The event is an offshoot from Jodie Bowie’s “Noz Fest” called “Noz Lite”; featuring five exciting acts for just a tenner, which is amazing value for money. The event of course is a sellout and looking around the venue there are plenty of familiar faces that frequent many of Jodie’s other events, creating something of a Noz Rock Family.

The first act to take to the stage is The Wicked Jackals, a four-piece from Watford who are certainly no strangers to these events. They look the part, sound great, and clearly have seen “Spinal Tap” on their tour bus hundreds of times! They certainly don’t take themselves too seriously and send each other up at every opportunity. Frontman Ollie Tindall has clearly been burning the candle at both ends and after just three hours sleep, his voice is suffering and he describes himself as sounding like “Lemmy if he had been purchased from wish.com”. The band (despite their rock n’roll excesses) is sounding on top form with a set full of some great guitar riffs from Marty Venus, ably complemented by the rhythm section of drummer James Norkett and bassist Lex Gifford. Along with a rousing cover of The Cult’s “Firewomen” and a hilarious version of the band’s very own “Scream”, with half a dozen familiar false starts they kick-off the event in fine style.

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Next up are a band from Essex called White Raven Down who I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing before. The four-piece formed in 2018 featuring Will Taylor (Vocals), Stu Bailey (Guitar), Luke Chappell (Bass), and Tom Mrazek (Drums) are set to release their debut album next year. I clearly appear to have missed the boat on this band as the well-educated Noz-family seem to know all about them with many sporting their #jointheconsiracy t-shirts. They fit into the New Wave of Classic Rock (NWOCR) family perfectly with their driving rhythms, exhilaratingly creative guitar, and stirring vocal delivery. With some great tunes including “Broken Door” and set closer “Salvation” they thoroughly entertain. The band even find time for a bit of retribution on audience member Aaron Garner by embarrassingly presenting him with a pink guitar after Aaron made guitarist Stu wear a rather silly hat at a past gig.

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Up next are one of South Wales finest exports, the Scarlet Rebels; a band who have built themselves a solid reputation as a great live band. The five-piece with their uplifting twin-guitar sound, positively bound onto the Southampton stage and immediately grabbed the audience’s attention with the opening number “Not the One”. This is followed by “Storm”; a preview of a track from the bands second album “See Through Blue”, which will be released in January 2022. Front man Wayne Doyle does his best salesman act to sell pre-orders of the album, however, I personally think that when it’s released the 12 songs all by themselves will shift copies. The band already has some pretty sizable crowd-pleasing anthems in the form of the infectious “Let Me in”, “Save Me” which even features a snippet of AC/DC and “Take Me Home” which all really get the excited crowd singing along with the band. What’s not to love: five super talented musicians with some fantastic and glorious melodic, uplifting songs and a live set full of highlights. The band is on tour in Jan/Feb 2022 ……

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After a wonderful introduction from the Noz Lite host Si Genaro, the legend that is Marco Mendoza takes to the stage with a wonderful welcome from the crowd. Marco joins us after his transatlantic trip from his home in the USA, joining up with his UK band members Tommy Gentry on guitar (who can usually be found playing for Gun) and the highly-rated Kyle Hughes on drums. They kick off with a string of tracks from the “Viva La Rock” album, with the trio showing off wonderfully executed combined skills. Marco then decides it’s time to party with stunning version of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”; with some mind-blowing funky fretwork on his 5-string bass, along with faultless vocals. We are then treated to a couple of Thin Lizzy’s finest numbers which get a huge stamp of approval from the delighted audience. This includes an extended version of “Jailbreak”, where Kyle impressively takes over on vocals. Despite having one of the most envied CV’s in the business; Marco remains one of the nicest guys you could meet and always makes time for his fans, taking to the merchandise stall to chat and have his photo taken with anyone who requests it.

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The last couple of times tonight’s headliners were in Southampton were for support slots in some of the town’s smaller venues, with slots with Those Damn Crows and Bokassa. Merthyr Tydfil trio Florence Black tonight takes to the stage as deserved headliners with their hard work beginning to pay dividends. Kicking off with the powerful “Zulu” from debut album “Weight of the World” the band which features Tristan Thomas (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Jordan Evans (Bass/ Vocals), and Perry Davies (Drums/Vocals) shakedown the venue’s PA with their considerable sound. The trio brings with them much diversity with a whole host of influences from Black Sabbath to Tool, from The Beatles to Metallica. One minute you are bludgeoned with a heavy barrage of “Bird On A Chain” and the next the more melodic planet rock play-listed “Sun & Moon”. Tristan has a wonderfully diversified voice with each song providing various vocal styles. Sometimes sounding like Soil’s Ryan McCombs, sometimes along the lines of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

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There is definitely a buzz in the air about them and you can tell as you look around the room that the audience really appreciates the quality of musicianship that they have in front of them. After each tune is immaculately executed there is a whole lot of enthusiastic appreciation delivered. A few of the band’s older tracks get a shakedown including “The Ride” and the all conquering power of “Smoke”. The band typically end on their notable cover of Budgie’s 1973 track “Breadfan”, also once covered by Metallica. This ends one fantastic afternoon/evening of great music with five impressive acts. Florence Black and Scarlet Rebels will return next year at the Nozfest on 13th August.

Set Lists
Florence Black
Bird On A Chain
Inside Out
Sun & Moon
The Deep End
Groove Street
The Ride

Marco Mendoza
Sweetest Emotion
Viva La Rock
Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder)
Chinatown (Thin Lizzy)
Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy)

Scarlet Rebels
Not the One
Let Your Love Go
Part of Me
Let Me in
Take Me Home
Save Me
You Take My Breath Away

White Raven Down
Mind Reader
Broken Door
Not Alone
Void & Flame
Roll of the Dice
Silence with Iron Man
Take Me

The Wicked Jackals
Over the top
Ain’t Gunna Change
Movin’ On
Victory or Death
Fire Woman (The Cult)


Additional Videos from Nozlite can be found on our Youtube Channel here.

Nozlite/Nozfest with return next year, check out the line ups here.


Words & Videos by David Chinery
Pictures by Lynn Bert
Additional Video Content by Becky Crothall-Brown

Noz Fest 2021