Live Reviews


Portland Arms, Cambridge

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The community that surrounds PET NEEDS is quite extraordinary. Their fans, or ‘fractured party people’, passionately support the group in their endeavours and recently assisted the the band in defying the odds by reaching number 17 in the UK Albums Chart.

Tonight, finds the group partway through a tour which acts as a victory lap for that album – ‘Intermittent Fast Living’.


Through all their achievements though, the fact that PET NEEDS cultivated that fanbase through a number of support slots isn’t lost on them. Indeed frontman Johnny Marriott identifies the importance of these opportunities tonight whilst explaining that tour support Generation Feral is running late.

Instead of cancelling the support slot however, Generation Feral is racing to the venue and rather than leaving fans waiting, Johnny and brother George open the show with an acoustic set of favourites and rarities including ‘Pavlovian’ and ‘Primetime Entertainment’.


Soon after, Generation Feral arrives and without a soundcheck takes to the stage to deliver an incredible virtuoso performance.  Hitting important subjects in a frank and down to earth manner, Generation Feral is able to showcase her strong songwriting capabilities through the likes of ‘hide your knees’, ‘political climate’ and ‘newborn adult’.

The fans in attendance reciprocate her energy and together an uplifting experience is created, where both audience and artist are grateful of the efforts taken for the set to take place.


It again isn’t long before PET NEEDS then return to the stage in full complement and raise the roof with new favourites ‘Separation Anxiety’ and ‘Trip’ from their heralded third album. What is instantly obvious as they do so, is that the fans present already know every word and that the songs already feel at home in the setlist.

That observation is true of all ‘Intermittent Fast Living’ tracks that follow and is a testament to the quality of the record. When you then factor in songs from their first two albums, a PET NEEDS set is now structured – banger after banger after banger!

A final run of ‘Fear for the Whole Damn World’, ‘Tracey Emin’s Bed’, ‘Lost Again’, ‘Sleep When I’m Dead’ and ‘Get on the Roof’ is perhaps the strongest evidence of that theme.

With a new look line-up in place and momentum fully on their side, there appears to be no slowing down from one of the best young bands around. The band have a plethora of festival slots booked for this summer and on this showing tonight, you’d be a fool not to highlight them on your clashfinder!

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Live Reviews

Philip Seth Campbell

Portland Arms, Cambridge

Monday 16th October 2023

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When journeyman musician Phil Campbell left his role as frontman for The Temperance Movement in 2020, it was obvious to fans that his musical journey would continue in some shape or form. Campbell after all is a man that wears his heart on his sleeve and his heart and soul is rooted in song.

Following the release of an album with The Byson Family, that journey came full circle and now finds Campbell releasing his music under the eponymous full moniker of Philip Seth Campbell. Now with recently unleashed album, ‘City Lights’ to showcase, Campbell is back out where he belongs – on stage.


That stage tonight is found in the fantastic Portland Arms in Cambridge and opening the evening is Alice Faye. The solo musician bases herself at a piano in front of what appears to be a predominately rock orientated audience and proceeds to serenade them with a selection of delicate tunes.

You may think this could go down like a certain ill-designed balloon, but that’s not the case! Faye’s obvious talent and the receptive nature of Campbell’s fanbase means that the crowd hangs off of every note.


It isn’t long thereafter that Campbell arrives onstage with a three-piece set-up bringing songs from his career to life. The focus of course is on ‘City Lights’ and the exceptional ‘Magical West’ gets us started in the best way.

Over the course of the next hour or so each song tells its own story and it is evidently clear again that Campbell is one of the most eminently gifted singers of his generation. Campbell’s career has been a journey indeed and probably fairly described as an arduous one. It’s one however that has rewarded Campbell with incredible experiences and his fans with an embarrassment of musical riches to enjoy.

The influences on ‘City Lights’ may be more eclectic than found through the likes of The Temperance Movement, but the results all bear the spirit and essence of the man himself. The new music is resplendent tonight and old favourites like ‘Chinese Lanterns’ and finale ‘Lovers & Fighters’ still sound glorious.

It’s great to see Philip Seth Campbell back on a stage doing what he loves, and fans tonight will be glad they made the effort to support a great local venue and an incredibly talented artist commencing the latest leg of his remarkable journey.

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Watch Episode 35 of The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guest Philip Seth Campbell

The Full Pelt Music Podcast – Episode 35 – Philip Seth Campbell

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Live Reviews

The Xcerts

Portland Arms, Cambridge

Tuesday 20th September 2022

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The cost of living crisis currently strangling the UK has become the latest threat to the future of our independent grassroots music venues. The Music Venue Trust had already engaged with The National Lottery for the #ReviveLive campaign in answer to the pandemic, but now it takes on even greater meaning.

It’s venues such as the Portland Arms in Cambridge where we are tonight that are vital to the music ecosystem. No introductory venues – no cultivating superstars. No regional venues – unsustainable travel to gigs for fans. No new superstars and unaffordable costs for fans – the collapse of the music industry! That may seem dramatic, but it’s the short, sharp and real threat that we are facing.

Tonights #ReviveLive show features Scottish rock band The Xcerts and has been pushed back a day to avoid the Queen’s funeral. Despite the change and the lack of a support act, the venue is suitably stocked with audience members come the time for the band to hit the stage.

The setlist tonight comprises tracks from all four of the bands studio albums but focuses heavily on latest effort, 2018’s ‘Hold On To Your Heart’. ‘Drive Me Wild’ and ‘Daydream’ from that album start us off and ease the audience into the show, before ‘Shaking in the Water’ really gets things moving.

The Xcerts – ‘Daydream’

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That album is a masterpiece so fans are more than happy to hear multiple tracks from it. There is an audible delight however at the presence of two brand new songs in the set tonight. Both ‘Everything I Cannot Live Without’ and ‘Jealousy’ sound promising for more stunning work to come from the band.

The Xcerts deserve all the success in the world and the final run of ‘Show Me Beautiful’, ‘There Is Only You’, ‘Crazy’, ‘Hold On To Your Heart’, ‘Aberdeen 1987’ and ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’ is a real testament to their quality.

There are great nights like this happening in every major city and town in the UK every night of the week. The venues these are happening in and the bands killing it onstage need your support now. If you are able to, get yourself to a show and ensure that when all our problems hopefully dissipate, we still have venues and bands to enjoy!

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Read our review of Arkells live in Norwich