It’s great to herald a second week in succession in Bristol where we can celebrate a launch and a significant birthday. Hello Yyivu – may you live long and prosper. As for the Mothers Ruin’s 10th birthday – even if we can’t attend their gathering, let’s all pretend we’re ten, take ourselves off to a trampolining centre, load up on cupcakes and Wotsits, and jump ’til we chuck.
Check Friday out, music lovers – it’s off the scale. Not even the most enthusiastic and cunning music nerd can spread themselves between all of those gigs (tune in to next week’s episode of Challenge Jeff to see how he got on). We’re also heading into the month when we bid a fond, proud farewell to Roll for the Soul. We will miss them, but most of all, we shall be eternally grateful.
Thursday 30th November
Jesca Hoop – Thekla
Woop! It’s the Hoop. She’s back in Bristol for the second time this year, bringing her off-beat kooky acoustic gem, Memories are Now from back in February, as well as many a haunting incantation from her equally glorious past. She was originally championed by Tom Waits, and like people who have trouble with ‘f’s and ‘th’s, you can’t say fairer than that.
Lau – St. George’s
Multi-award winning nu-folk juggernaut, Lau, rolls into St. George’s on Thursday night, celebrating a decade in the forefront of sonic innovation. They take a traditional form that’s as old as the hills and give it a reverent reboot – guitar, fiddle and accordion sounding fresher and beefier than you could possibly ever imagine.
Halo – Louisiana
It sold out ages ago, so if this only makes you realise what you’re missing – soz. Bristol’s very own Halo celebrate the Louisiana’s birthday season with a homecoming gig. For a band that released ‘Still Here’ and ‘Neverending’ not long before they split up for a while in 2004, you can expect some seriously moody rock, with an obvious eye for wry irony.
Echobelly – Fleece
Echobelly were one of the lesser-hyped, yet more-respected forces of Britpop. Beloved of REM, they supported them on their Monster tour. Returning after thirteen years with Anarchy and Alchemy this year, Sonya Aurora Madan can definitely sing “I want to do great things” and have a crowd know that it’s still totally within Echobelly’s grasp.
Friday 1st December
Sleeptalking – Crofters Rights
Last time I talked in my sleep, I told my Dad to eff off. He wasn’t best pleased. But that’s what sleep talking is – unrestrained, unfiltered and unpredictable. And that’s what Sleeptalking are like too. Front man, Tom Nozek, epitomises their spiky, staccato rock swagger, like Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, but with much better hair.
Blaenavon – Thekla
Jumping on the ‘bands named after Welsh places’ bandwagon, after the likes of T-Wrexham and Raglan Bone Man, not-at-all-Welsh-but-bang-tidy Hampshire indie trio, Blaenavon have hit the airwaves big time this year, with the overly-apologetic-sounding That’s Your Lot. If, perchance, you’re not happy with your lot in life, you need a bit of this lot. Or perhaps a lot.
Yyivu label launch – Hy-Brasil
We’re always delighted to see new musical ventures, so we’re super-stoked to see Yyivu Records join the city’s thriving music scene. Hy-Brasil sees post-punks LovePet Horror and math-rockers And Upstairs, Nurses setting the ball rolling, before DJ sets from Akito, CDNephew and a debut DJ set from producer NRV.
Songhoy Blues – Anson Rooms
Formed in Bamako, Mali, by a group of like-minded souls who had all fled their homes after the imposition of Sharia Law, Songhoy Blues filter their love of acts like Jimi Hendirx and John Lee Hooker through their native Songhai rhythms to create a ‘desert blues’ sound. John Peel would have been all over this lot. If you saw their in-store at Rise for Résistance recently, you’ll be back for more.
Kate Stapley + Slonk + Honeypot – Stag and Hounds
If you fancy a quieter, more contemplative Friday night, don’t stay at home navel-gazing; let Kate Stapley pose the questions instead. Her acoustic folk will give you chills. Ahead of a new EP on Breakfast Records in February, she shares the bill with fellow Bristolian, Slonk, who’ll be bringing brand new bedroom-pop from his EP, Losing My Mind On The Outside Of Everything.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – O2 Academy
Bringing his recent track, ‘Spray Paint Love’ to the city of Banksy has to be a sure-fire winner for Frank Carter. Having pulled some early autumn dates to confront mental health issues, he’s been embraced as an advocate for the importance of talking to exorcise your demons. We’re delighted to see he’s back in business, so if you want to feel a good dose of Modern Ruin, make like Michael Caine, and get Carter.
Rews – Mr Wolf’s
Thought you’d had your fill of drums/guitar duos? Think again. The firestarting combination of Shauna Tohill and Collette Williams have already ignited fierce curiosity this year with a searing Glastonbury set, and their debut album, Pyro. Visceral tunes, with thoughtful lyrics, listening to Rews is like having a good clear-out of the crap from your head – seriously sandblasting your consciousness.
Saturday 2nd December
Oro Swimming Hour – Roll For The Soul
If we have to say a fond farewell to Roll For The Soul, then shows like this are the finest possible send-off. Formed by renowned Bristol soloist, Oliver Wilde and London-based Nicholas Stevenson, there’s an elemental simplicity to the sound of Oro Swimming Hour on their recent LP, Penrose Winoa. It’s a swimming hour, in a bike café. All it needs is some runners for the full triathlon. Quick – someone call Dexy’s.
Mothers Ruin 10th Birthday: Frauds + The Dead Royalties + Then Cannons + Frequency Cowboy – Mothers Ruin
Many kids out there will have a tenth birthday party that is bloody noisy, but not even a legion of giddy kiddies off their bonces on Haribo can replicate the frenzy with which the Mothers Ruin will honour its big day. Post-hardcore duo, Frauds will no doubt give a tantalising taster of their album, With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice, due 8th of December, including the distinctly party-themed new release, ‘Sandwiches’.
The Electric Russian Winter: The Beamz vs Dot Product – All Hallows Hall, Easton
The Beamz played a sold-out Colston Hall three nights in a row in 2014, as part of the Russian Winter events. Their 2017 return sees them in collaboration with fellow Bristolians, Dot Product. This gig marks the release of their joint EP, on which they remix each other’s songs. You get much more than musical architecture from this lot. There’ll be a specially-designed lighting show and Russian Winter-inspired projections. Sensory satisfaction by the shedload.
Sunday 3rd December
Tuskens: EP launch – The Lanes
Hung Up on Everything is the name of the new seven-track EP from Bristol’s punk-pop quintet, Tuskens. With Coast to Coast, High Tides, Summoned by Ash and Seven Stories High, this Sunday Funday, courtesy of Fat Lip UK is likely to measure up to the title of Tuskens’ latest track, and be ‘Seismic’.
Monday 4th December
DakhaBrakha + Yama Warashi – The Lanes
The last time Ukranian folk received so much excitement in this country, it was 1989 and The Wedding Present were being experimental. Just before you start pulling every nightmarish Eurovision stereotype out of your bag of idle thoughts, take a listen to ‘Monakh’ and tell me they haven’t picked every musical pocket around the globe and assembled a magpie’s trove of shiny riches. And Yama Warashi are supporting. You lucky people.
Tuesday 5th December
Pumarosa – Thekla
In 2016, Pumarosa played the Louisiana and they supported Kate Tempest at her sold-out O2 Academy gig. Another year on, they’re playing Thekla, just before heading to Italy and Spain to support Depeche Mode. You might say they’re going up in the world, a phrase that chimes well with the soaring vocals of Isabel Munoz-Newsome. Their debut 2017 album, The Witch, carries a moody tint of sinister synths.
Abattoir Blues – Crofters Rights
Voted most alarming band by WhatCow? Magazine several years in a row now, Abattoir Blues are fortunately beloved by many a human. So – what to expect from a name like that? Something Nick Cavey? A bit of Blind Lemon Jefferson or Howlin’ Wolf? Nah. There’s more of the abattoir about their guitar maelstrom and Harry Waugh’s abrasive yowl. You could successfully render a one-tonne quadruped with sound like this. It’d be one hell of a way to go.
Wednesday 6th November
Pictish Trail – Crofters Rights
Johnny Lynch, aka Pictish Trail, resides on the Hebridean island of Eigg. He has an esteemed history at the helm of Fence Records, many fine recordings in his back pocket, and an outstanding array of jumpers and woolly hats. His songs have the feel of the wide-open spaces that he inhabits in real life, yet they can also capture the enclosure we feel when preoccupied in our own difficult thoughts, such as on the woozily beautiful, ‘Far Gone (Don’t Leave)’.
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