We’re heading for Christmas party season, but this week sees two big celebrations, one a 30th birthday for a dear Bristolian friend, and one a day of birth for a new member of the Bristol music family, ready to make its mark on the world. There’s a similar mix of time-honoured and shiny new acts in this week’s highlights – a useful reminder that it takes all sorts and that you can’t truly appreciate the music of the present unless you have the past very much in your bones. Have a great week of listening, wherever you may wander.
Thursday 23rd November
The Moonlandingz – Trinity
Formed out of the Eccentronic Research Council and members of the Fat White Family, The Moonlandingz touched down this year with Interplanetary Class Classics. Expect one giant leap into an out-of-this world evening of boundary-pushing panto-prog-punk. Not sure what Buzz Aldrin would make of this lot.
Alison Moyet – Colston Hall
You have to like Alison Moyet. It’s the law. There can’t have been many more distinctive voices amongst English singers since the 80s and she’s as goosebump-inducing as ever in her fourth decade in the spotlight. Expect songs from this year’s, Other, along with many a familiar favourite from her back catalogue of belters.
Metz – Fleece
Noise-rock gone nuclear, Metz recently released their album, Strange Peace, via Sub Pop under the guidance of renowned producer, Steve Albini. This Canadian trio is what moshpits were made for, and yet there’ll be moments when you can sing along to, like on ‘Cellophane.’
Friday 24th November
Aldous Harding – SWX
Self-proclaimed gothic-folk New Zealander, Aldous Harding, has been enchanting audiences in 2017 off the back of her first album for the 4AD label, Party. There’s a quiet intensity about her songs that ought to leave you needing a lie-in on Saturday.
KLLO – Louisiana
Since their debut album Blackwater came out in October, Australian cousins, Simon Lam and Chloe Kaul have been gathering more and more exposure for their nu-garage electronica. It’s definitely a garage with a couple of comfy sofas, a decent set of speakers and possibly a beer fridge, rather than one with old tins of paint and a knackered strimmer.
Goldie – Colston Hall
Before Timeless was released in 1995, more people would have associated Goldie with the name of the Blue Peter Labrador than this drum and bass titan. Expect anything from then to his 2017 release, The Journey Man, a journey which took him via Strictly, Eastenders and being runner-up to Su Perkins in the mighty Maestro. Never a dull moment with Goldie.
Saturday 25th November
Little Thief – No.1 Harbourside
If rip-roaring riff-rock ram-raiders, Little Thief were shrink-wrapped and sold in a supermarket, they could be marketed in different ways. They’d be simultaneously in the ‘no frills’ range for their joyously uncomplicated sonic tsunami and the ‘luxury’ range for their sumptuous blend of sonic spice. Good value guaranteed either way.
Holy Moly & The Crackers – The Golden Lion
Ferocious and visceral, Holy Moly & The Crackers’ gigs are a good test of your mettle. They’re furiously energetic and as the title of their recent album, Salem, suggests, there’s a little something of the night about them. Saturday night in this case, and about as far removed from Whigfield as you can get.
GERM Launch: The Naturals + Scalping + Bad Tracking – The Loco Klub
This new Bristolian magazine, promising to bring enlightenment to all, launches with performances from local talent: experimental psych-rockers, The Naturals, the techno beats and visuals of Scalping and the abrasive electronica of Bad Tracking. If you want to be there at the start of a new era, this is your one and only chance.
Childcare – Crofters Rights
Having recently delivered the song, ‘To Help Me Get Over You (I Get Dressed Up As You),’ Childcare will just have to cope with the outfits any jilted lovers turn up in on Saturday night. Small kids must have had a basin-full of In the Night Garden and singing, ‘The Wheels on the Bus.’ Childcare’s punk ethos and indie sound ought to be adopted as the new core curriculum by nurseries throughout the land.
Sunday 26th November
Mac DeMarco – O2 Academy
The slacker’s back, packing out the O2 Academy with devotees of his nonchalance-soaked ‘jizz jazz’. If the songs on This Old Dog are anything to go by, casually happy tunes, whilst lyrically being desperately sorrowful, you might consider lying down on the slightly beery floor, either in bliss or despair.
30th Birthday All-Dayer – Louisiana
With LICE, Bubba, Last Hyena, Flag Fen, Poisonous Birds, Oh The Guilt, Oxygen Thief, October Drift, Ghost of the Avalanche and Human Bones on the bill, it’s fittingly magnanimous of the Louisiana to celebrate their favourite Bristol bands, as Bristol gives them due thanks for 30 years in the vanguard of promoting new music and helping to launch the careers of the great and the good.
And So I Watch You From Afar – Thekla
Post-rock is thriving right now, and Belfast’s And So I Watch You From Afar are one of its driving forces. Despite the distance and detachment implied in the name, there’s a compelling immediacy to their songs, whilst you also feel the intensity of being ‘watched’. And if that last statement hasn’t creeped you out, get along and enjoy.
Monday 27th November
Thurston Moore – Louisiana
The Louisiana may be 30, and no longer in its sonic youth, but if you’ve already spent all of Sunday celebrating its continued existence, you may have been lucky enough to extend the party by another 24 hours by purchasing a ticket to see Thurston Moore. Did I just say Thurston Moore? At the Loui? I can barely control myself. Or believe it.
Eivør – Fleece
There’s something in that crisp Scandinavian air that focuses the mind and inspires creativity. They feel colour and taste sounds. Their world comes across like ours, but more magical, primal and pure. For sound that feels like travel, try the Faroese electro-folk of Eivør at the Fleece. Who knows where you’ll end up.
Mark Lanegan Band – Trinity
Whether you know him from his Seattle grunge roots in Screaming Trees, or whether you are a recent convert through Gargoyle, you’ll be ready for his deep, scratchy baritone growl. Like Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen, the abrasiveness is the essence, like a splendid exfoliant for the mind.
Tuesday 28th November
Ian Felice – Thekla
He’s been the lead singer and main songwriter for the Felice Brothers for more than a decade now, but his first solo album, In The Kingdom of Dreams, has put his emotive vocal and observational verses further to the fore. If you love The Lumineers, Band of Horses or Conor Oberst (whom he supported on Salutations), add Ian Felice to your repertoire.
Wednesday 29th November
Cousin Kula – Louisiana
Bristol six-piece, Cousin Kula bring their psych-soaked dream-pop to the Louisiana to launch their first EP, Oodles. With smoothly-textured guitars, overlaid with a light stroke of stimulating synths, they’ll give you style, substance and sparkle. Most of us have at least one weird cousin, but Cousin Kula would definitely be your cooler cousin.
The Fall – Fiddlers
Someone I knew used to get Mark E. Smith and Richard E. Grant mixed up. Frankly, there are few more distinctive and iconic figures in UK music than Mark E. Smith, the only surviving original member of Mancunian post-punk provocateurs, The Fall. After 32 albums and 66 band members in 40+ years, they are still a maelstrom of glorious chaos, or ‘Totally Wired,’ as the song goes. Get ready for the North to hit the South West.
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