Bristol, Live, music, Reviews

St Vincent @ The O2 21/8/2014

Went to see St Vincent a couple weeks ago for BLM. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a huge amount. Her fanbase has slowly but surely slipped into the more middle-aged category, and I was worried that her show would be catering more for them than for me. So shoot me, I’m selfish. I needn’t have worried, mind– her show would have appealed to anyone from five to one hundred and five. There’s nothing quite like having your expectations shattered by a celestial being wearing a sparkly dress covered in bloody eyeballs. I would go to see her again ten times over.

Read my full review here (she poured water on the floor and writhed in it): http://www.bristollivemagazine.com/st-vincent-live-review-o2-academy-bristol-21-08-14/

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Live, music, Reviews, Swansea

Personal Best @ Mozarts, Swansea 30/7/2014

Peronal Best at Mozarts Swansea

Jeez louise, I really need to work out how to take a better picture. Mine always suck so, so much. I’m cringing here. I could definitely submit a few smears of what used to be pictures to this quiz.

In other news, I fled back to my homeland of Swansea  couple of weeks ago to cover Personal Best, a band who have captured my heart with riffs pulled straight from my awkward teens. It was the most fun I’ve had in an age (apart from going to White’s in Uplands which is swanky now. Stop gentrifying my youth, businesses on the up).

I wrote very excitingly wrote this up for Crack who are wonderful. Click here to check it out, and click here to listen to all of PB’s EP.

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Bristol, Live, music, opinion, Reviews

Bristol: A Venue Guide

I wrote a bit of a venue guide for Rife, a new online platform for young people. Obviously, I didn’t think about quite how young the audience might be and managed to riddle my original version with lots of references to alcohol and none to how old you might have to be to get in the venues. I am a silly sausage. So, now you can choose from the Rife one (click here to have a look) or the spicier version for 18+s below. Enjoy.

What Bristol lacks in an arena it more than makes up for in its many quirky music venues. This guide aims to inform you on where to get your ears on the best of Bristol’s music scene (and get a cheap pint into the bargain).

The Birdcage

Look up ‘twee’ in the dictionary and you’ll find vintage-lover’s delight, The Birdcage. These guys are serious about coffee, know how to put a salad plate together and own more bone china than your nan. They also know how to put on a jolly good show on their mini-stage. Particularly partial to acoustic gigs, this is the place to get to know your Earl Grey from your gunpowder tea while soaking in some vintage vibes. They even have an in-house vintage shop for you to riffle through between sets.

Colston Hall

Colston Hall is a whopper of a venue that thankfully doesn’t shy away from an eclectic programme. Rock, pop, jazz and funk has all found a home here, and the new addition of the medium-sized (and medium-priced) Lantern space means even more acts and audiences can get involved in the good times. The Bath Ales bar and kitchen downstairs has also had a recent revamp, meaning you can get a half of Gem down you in style, or, take on some tapas with Gordito, the Barcelona –inspired restaurant out back you swanky bugger you.

Exchange

Run by the people who brought the much-missed Croft to life, Exchange is the phoenix from the flames. Set in at the town-end of Old Market, it’s grungey, tough and full of the same energy that inspired so much Croftian love. They’re serious about their line-ups and cater to an audience who are similarly inspired by the noisier side of the coin. The girl’s toilets are pretty rad— any reports on the male ones are welcome.

The Fleece

The Fleece is way down in Temple Meads so it’s perfect if you’re coming down to Bristol for some short-term kicks. Despite the massive pillars in the way, you can always depend on a show sounding great here (even if you can’t quite see it). Recently the venue has been threatened by stupid housing planners who are trying to jam in flats within hearing distance of the venue, which is just plain silly. The amount of support behind #savethefleece (including from George Ferguson, our beloved leader) shows how close to Bristol’s knarled bosom this venue really is. Sign here if you haven’t already.

Big Chill Bristol

All manner of DJs flock to this cool as ice bar venue, but be warned: these DJs do not take requests. There’s an all-day menu on offer, but this place really comes alive at night with lots of cocktails to whet your whistle (reportedly the Wray and Nephew will send you particularly psychotic). Careful of the bouncers too as they tend to be picky, especially if you’re a load of blokes out on a single-sex drinking mission.

Start the Bus

Peace up, A-town down, or whatever the cool kids say these days. STB is part of a very trendy chain of bars that span the UK, but unlike your usual chain, they actually wear their chaininess well. There’s very nice (if slightly over-priced) beers on tap and lots of good American diner inspired food on the menu. Steps give a good view of one of the best sounding stages in Bristol, and room seems to shrink or expand to fit any sized band. Fairy lights add to the cosy feel whatever the all-embracing programme lines up. The only let-down is the location which tends to lend to the influx of drunk Saturday night alcos who don’t really know why they’re there.

Trinity Centre

The Trinity Centre is a re-purposed church-turned-community arts centre. They have really good music things in motion for young people at the moment: checking out their website for more information on free stuff that could get you on the track to a career in the arts is a great idea. As well as playing cool older sibling to the community, they’re also unafraid of having talks, workshops and club nights as part of their wonderful musical agenda. Everything they put on is top drawer and sounds great.

The Golden Lion

Up Stoke’s Croft, then up some more, you’ll find Bishopston’s big ol’ lovely pub, The Golden Lion. It’s rough and ready, but what it loses out on smart, it makes up for in charm. Great for a pint and a chance to catch some of Bristol’s smaller bands before they do an Ezra and end up all over the place.

The O2 Academy

It’s corporate, it’s soulless, it’s full of over-priced drinks and way too many people, but at least we’ve got it. These Academy places are every-flipping-where, and unfortunately Bristol’s is the only place big enough to house larger bands wanting to visit the South-West. Boring and expensive, but just about fit for purpose.

The Anson Rooms

This place attracts lots of students as its part of the University of Bristol’s Student Union and is always roomy enough to have a rave down the front or back. Unfortunately, it has the worst sounding bass ever. You might be forgiven for thinking that you were repeatedly being hit in the face with a wet fish or that the sound system was borrowed from a boy racer’s radio. Shockingly enough this place was refurbished not long ago. What went wrong, guys?

The Louisiana

Of course, the main advantage of a pub venue is lots and lots of drinks to choose from—but The Louisiana is even more special than that. Scan the walls and you can feel the prestigious history of the venue through all the posters of bands that have played in years past. It kind of feels like your aunties lounge (and they do a mean roast on a Sunday that your auntie would probably love), but it manages to attract old and young to the two permanent stages based upstairs and down in the basement. The upper room has been soundproofed so much it sounds marvellous in there. The neighbours must appreciate it too.

Thekla

In for refurb up by the Grain Barge for now, Thekla is Bristol’s premier waterborne venue. The balconies are fantastic for views (if you’re quick enough) and the audience there is always up for a good time. Club night Pressure on a Wednesday is an institution for 18 and overs, but you might feel a bit old you’re over 21… Another warning: the drinks queues are always a killer, and the bar staff are always over-worked and snarling by midnight.

Mother’s Ruin

Smelly, dirty and great. Bands are stuffed into the upper room where people stand on chairs to grab a better look. This place is always properly packed to the rafters. Bands love it here: you can go minor celebrity spotting if you have the time or the inclination. The beer is good and the cider is strong! Check out their special shooters if you think you’re ‘ard enough.

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Bristol, Live, music, Reviews

Tune-Yards @ the Trinity Centre 02/7/14

In all honesty, I banged this one out pretty sharp and got a bit worried when I realised I hadn’t actually mentioned the gig a paragraph and a half in but I think it turned out okay in the end.

If you get a chance to catch Tune-Yards live, DO. The energy is infectious, Garbus’ voice is spectacular and real thought has gone into translating the show from record to stage. Feathery backing dancers and a Pieminister shoutout were an unexpectedly winning combination.

Read my full review here: http://www.bristollivemagazine.com/tune-yards-live-review-trinity-centre-bristol-02-07-14/

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music, opinion

Boy’s Club: How the Live Music Scene is Pushing Girls Out

 

Boy's Club

I wrote an opinion piece for Bristol Live Mag about some of the highly frustrating and ignorant attitudes I’ve encountered while out and about at gigs and shows. Some of my experiences around Bristol are included (catcalling Warpaint? Highly un-kosher, bro).

Here it is! The link takes you straight to my bit:

http://issuu.com/bristollivemagazine/docs/july2014/27?e=8635849/8400806

Let me know what you think! I’d be keen to have a chat around this, most def.

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Festivals, Live, London, music, Reviews

Field Day at Victoria Park, London (6-7/6/2014)

photo 1

“…a million goose bumps raised on a thousand arms were thrown aloft at the main stage. All doubts about them only playing tracks from new LP were swiftly dropkicked into the boating lake.”

Writing this festival diary of the lovely Field Day weekend seems like a year ago. Scribbled in a drug-addled  haze (don’t worryyy, high on LIFE, guys) on the Monday after, it appeared on Bristol Live Mag first.

Hell-boots, a mini-rant about Fat White Family being the most boring band to start a riot ever, and an ode to a burrito van all make an appearance. Oh, burrito van. How do I heart thee? Let me count the ways.

Start with solar-powered Warpaint on Saturday… finish with the grandeur of Pixies (!!!) on Sunday.

photo 2

“…burrito van.”

 

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Bristol, Live, music, Reviews

White Denim at the Anson Rooms (29/5/2014)

White Denim at the Anson Rooms

I write things for Bristol Live Magazine because they’re cool as. I went to see White Denim for them on the 29th, and unfortunately it disappointed me no end. I had to try hard to keep the phrase ‘wanky bastards’ out of the piece, quite frankly.

Here it is.

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