31st January | Exchange
Independent Venue Week returns for another year, supporting the bricks-and-mortar venues that are fiercely spirited and boldly self-sufficient in these increasingly stretched times. The event runs through the week, venturing through the country as they not only shine a light on the venues that are keeping live music thriving in the UK, but also the exciting bands that are local, home-grown and are creatively individual.
This year, the event is being sponsored by Attitude Is Everything, a charity set out on improving access to venues across the UK for disabled and deaf audiences, and the show on Wednesday in particular will provide and promote information. Independent Venue Week’s Bristol leg is being held by one of the city’s stoutly progressive and inclusive venues, The Exchange. Joining them in conducting proceedings and curating the event is a certified Bristol icon and ambassador for Independent Venue Week, Jeff Johns. Alongside his choice acts for this years show, the man himself will DJ, providing one of the more eclectic and encompassing sets you more than likely won’t have heard previously.
Headlining are Jesuits, the evocative trio whom you honestly can’t put a finger on in terms of categorisation. Combining industrial percussion and drums with swirling synth and guitar, the group share a penchant for the more esoteric, while honing something invitingly melodic under the layers of squalling distortion.
The Iceman Furniss Quartet are equally unique, improvisational and engaging. If you don’t believe us, simply hunt down their recorded output – five equally distinctive recordings of some of their previous live shows. It’s spine-tingling, the way a steady thrum of ambient sound layers amongst the hustle and bustle of a busy night in the city.
Opening the event, Emily Isherwood welcomes a full band for what will no doubt be an exceptional performance of brazen frankness and arresting musicianship. The songs that make up Demos are anything but fundamental, and live Isherwood is engrossed in the very delicacies of its foundations. Their set at Art Is Hard’s birthday back in August was a subtle highlight that lingered stunningly for the rest of the day.
It’s testament not only to the curation of this bill, but the creativity that’s always on offer in the city that Independent Venue Week can present such an alluring, hand-crafted event. Step out, invest in your local venues and be rewarded with some of the most intriguing music you can hear live.