Getting to Know: Hometown Show
“I’d say we’re a country, blue-grass inspired band, yeah,” explained Matthew Harrison, “it’s a mix of all different sorts of music, from folk, country, blue-grass and 1920s.” Judging by their performance only a few minutes later that was definitely a spot on description of Hometown Show‘s style.
During Victorious Festival in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard I was lucky enough to get an interview with the local band. They come from the South Coast and deliver a lively blend of country and blue-grass and do a better job of performing Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift songs than Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift.
Hometown Show began in 2007 with just Matt, but eventual Caz Batten and Josh Hibbard entered the fray. “It’s just the nature of country and blue-grass music. People will come up and sing on other people’s’ sets and songs and play an instrument here and there,” Matt said.
One night, at the last moment, Caz was called up to fill in an empty slot for Matt. “We ended up becoming friends and we just started singing together,” Caz stated, taking up the story. “What was one song became three and eventually we just thought ‘screw it, we’ll just start a band’.”
It’s a good thing they did, otherwise Victorious Festival would have missed out on one of the best shows of saturday night. There were many bands playing all over the Dockyard throughout the day, but none seemed to please the crowd as much Hometown Show did. Considering how eclectic their instrument collection is, it’s no surprise that their show was so exciting. As well as the guitar and bass they’ve been known to include banjos, harmonicas and fiddles. As Caz said if they can get their hands on it they will have it in their tracks.
Seeing the reaction the band had from their audience it’s no surprise that they’ve had a few strange but memorable experiences. As well as people coming up to them and dancing and trying to grab the mic so they can sing along, they’ve had a few skirmishes with the absolute wacky.
“There was that one show where loads of women came in and started stroking my hair,” Josh said. apparently, halfway through a show a group of women came up to the stage and started to stoke his hair, saying how soft it was.
“Because it’s really soft,” Matt agreed laughing. “Not only that, but a guy, a lone guy, walked in with a blow up sex doll under his arm, as if it was his date. I think we all burst out laughing mid-song. It was just like ‘she’s got wonderful eyes.’”
“We then found that same doll taped to a lamppost later on that evening on our way home,” Caz finished the obscure story.
Although they might not be getting weirder, things are definitely getting more exciting for the band. On 23 October they will be releasing their debut album Love, Liquor and Lonely Nights and will be celebrating it at the Edge of the Wedge from 19.30. But if you’re just discovering their music there is definitely one song you should check out first.
“I would probably go for Carolina,” Caz suggested with much agreement from Matt and Josh.
“It starts out with a nice instrumental so you can hear all the sorts of different bits a pieces going on and then it builds into a stomping country tune,” Matt described enthusiastically. In fact, Carolina will be the band’s debut single. If you haven’t heard it yet you can purchase it from Hometown Show’s Bandcamp page.
Before the interview wrapped up and they headed onto the Real Ale Stage, Hometown Show had a lot of positive things to say about the festival.
“It’s such a good thing for Portsmouth,” Matt said, “it’s good for the community and it’s a lovely backdrop to have.”
Josh agreed, adding: “Isle of Wight obviously has two festivals, so it’s nice to have a separate one here at a different time of the year.It’s such a great place to have it as well, because there are so many areas where they can have the stages and keep things separate.”
There was just enough time for Caz to sum it up well before their show.