On Saturday 28th May ULX Music set sail for mainland England docking up in Southampton for the second edition of Common People Southampton. From the creative geniuses behind Bestival and Camp Bestival Rob Da Bank and his partner Josie, alongside event team Get Involved Ltd., Common People is a small but fulfilling taster of what’s to come later this Summer.
The sun was scorching, barely a cloud in sight as we approached the common, entry was quick, efficient and friendly. We stumbled upon the MainStage straight away, with it being conveniently placed just to left of the main entrance. We arrived while the Chuckle Brothers were giving it some ‘To Me’… ‘To You’ action on stage. As at Bestival the audience were lapping up the slapstick comedy, joining in and shouting for more as they entertained in time to some bassy dance tunes. It was a really nostalgic moment, the first of many over the weekend.
We strolled around the site to get our bearings before settling back at the MainStage with fresh fruit smoothies, relaxing a while in the morning sun. Lady Leshurr was late arriving, but the time was filled in by the Desperados dance crew, who were for some reason dressed as pensioners. It was a funny and unexpected performance, those grannies had some serious moves! Finally Lady Leshurr arrived, we weren’t sure what to expect from her, and still aren’t too sure what to take from the act. It wasn’t to our taste, but there’s no denying she had a great stage presence and the youth in attendance were absolutely loving it! She’s built herself an amazing following is clearly going to continue doing well.
We stepped away from the MainStage for a while to the Uncommon Stage, an open sided canvas marquee held up with wooden beams, sporting a stage at one end with a powerfully little sound system run by local venue The Joiners. Elixir from Southampton were performing, their sound was loud but melodic with a progressive rock sound. Their music was all original and they played well together as a group, it was just the sort of music that was needed for the time of day and it gave us the kick up the arse we needed to get our feet moving before Sugar Hill Gang started.
Sugar Hill Gang owned the MainStage the moment they walked on. Their set was short but sweet performing only 3 songs, starting with an extended version of Rapper’s Delight, ending with an extra long extended version of Apache. The energy on stage was outstanding and the audience was loving it, both frontmen were fantastic. It was a glorious moment to enjoy in the heat as they got everyone, of all ages up on their feet dancing away to Apache.
We visited the uncommon stage once again for some more ear opening, local music this time from Our Hollow, Our Home. They also were loud and very together, a real metalcore band. They had a great following and people listened in intently to their original sounds.
Bestival likes to set new world records, in the past we’ve seen the world’s largest glitter ball as well as taken part in the world’s largest fancy dress party. This year Bestival are jumping into the lead for the world’s largest bouncy castle, so I figured it’d only be polite to check this monster out! The brightly coloured pillow of fun is a whopping 23.8 metres long and 20.7 metres wide wide with castle turrets 12.8 metres high! Back on solid ground we decided it was time for some munch, I headed to Nomads to support my fellow Isle of Wighters. Food in hand it was back to the MainStage for some afternoon music from Ghostpoet. The music was crafted with smooth vocals, a great set to sit back and just enjoy.
It was time to support some more Islanders, as the band Signals were on the Uncommon Stage. Lead singer Ellie has an incredible voice, as well as playing keys. I’ve watched Signals many a time and each time they impress me more and more. They’re professional and well presented with lovely stage presence. If you haven’t before then check them out!
Another quirky little festival stage that pops up around the place is The People’s Living room, set up as a.. you guessed it! A living room. Its a lovely little corner away from the electric influences of the rest of the festival featuring varying acoustic acts. After pondering there for a while it was to the MainStage again for some Indie style / Brit Pop-esque easy to listen to music from Gaz Coombes.
They were followed by hip-hop legends Public Enemy, including Chuck D, Professor Griff and DJ Lord. Unfortunately Flavor Flav was unable to attend, but that didn’t affect the quality of the act. The group were great performing songs ‘Bring The Noise’, ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ and ‘Welcome To The Terrordome’. Fists in the air and with dancers on stage they built the audience’s energy to full combustion setting the standards high for Primal Scream.
Primal Scream had the crowd captivated for the word go, an extremely talented group with classy guitar parts. Lead singer Bobby Gillespie is well animated on stage and puts on a true show while bassist Simone Butler holds herself well on stage with a powerful base stance. Songs ‘Country Girl’ & ‘Rocks’ went down a treat, and had many a person singing along.
The night was headlined by Southampton’s very own Craig David. Now I have to admit, I don’t listen much to the radio or pay attention to current chart music, I find new music from recommendations, live shows and the good ol’ internet. So was deeply confused when the MainStage area was suddenly flooded with people aged 21 and under. I guessed maybe their parents / older cousins or someone like that must have introduced them to 90’s garage. This wasn’t the case, for those of you who live in a non-top 40 cave such as myself I have an interesting bit of info for you.. Craig David has made a massive come back! Only not with his garage, instead he has gone back to his roots as a club DJ. His set still had a nostalgic element as he opened with ‘Rewind’, ans he went on to perform many of the old classics just with a modern twist and change in beat, which made it harder to sing a-long to. That didn’t matter though as the time of night and the crowd I had landed myself with by this point meant I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Southampton’s boy was welcomed home by a packed out audience and they were loving his company.