24th May | Loco Klub

Bristol’s music community can always be counted on to show unforced support for one another, bands and supporters consistently their respect and affection for each other’s music. The national spotlight is slowly being shone again on a city which has always had a thriving creative blood in its veins. This seems due to the devout individualism of each and every band that seems to be appearing.

Tonight, under the towering ceilings and amongst the outside-toilets-of-the-social-club-come-public-hall vibe of the Loco Klub, LICE confirm why they are one of the finest examples of Bristol’s vibrant musical identity. With what feels like the whole community in attendance, their double EP launch event will have further awakened the industry from their south London perches to what’s going on outside of the capital.

Haze may seem to be one of the new risers within the current creative anarchy, yet they’ve actually been around long enough to demand more significance and their live show in particular is delivering on such requests. They are a sharp, twisted and tense band, taking their loosely-wringing hooks and bitter sardonicism and rinsing them with distortion. Their latest single ‘Ladz Ladz Ladz,’ is a clear indication of where they intend on heading next, lead man Will Harrison barking with vigour at the crowd whilst retaining a cheeky attitude that really informs their music. It’s darker and more ominous than their previous work, and seems to be where the band are thriving.

EP/64 are one of the most evocative and engaging propositions from the city today. Their set is intense, spiralling and utterly arresting, subverting the whole nature of a standard ‘band set’ for something more continuous, invigorating and abrasive. A project conjured with the intention of simply playing 64 improvisational shows before bowing out, their sets possess constant intrigue, never quite knowing what direction or atmosphere the group will explore.

Tonight, with Dylan of Silver Waves frothing manically over a set of warbling, machinating synths, Dali de Saint Paul is the brooding voice, haunting the crowd with forthright howls and low, murmured drawls as they shift and crash through constantly rotating rhythms. It’s utterly captivating, and another excellent example of the liberating improvisational ideas that have spawning within the city.

So to LICE, directors of cacophonous noise, meticulous musicality and rightfully-incensed perceptions of the modern state of life. They have a knack for instantly whipping up a crowd, which on this occasion is brimming. Playing both It All Worked Out Great EPs in full, the band seem to use this show to give the tracks a joyous send off, rattling the building’s structures with venom and a near-constant sense of exasperation.

You wonder where Alistair Shuttleworth takes a breath, as he spits out words with vivacity, the words scratching against his throat with contempt as he lunges forwards and backwards across the stage. The band’s musicianship is wholly underrated. The underlying rhythms and sudden shifts in direction provide a constantly simmering undertow as Gareth Johnson rings out an ghostly, burning hook through ‘Little John Waynes’ which has the crowd off the floor for the majority.

Yet it’s the new songs that offer the most interesting insight, the group somehow harbouring an even darker, more focused and vigorous display of exaltation that hints that nothing will enhance this band’s progression apart from themselves.