Just before touring season goes off the scale in late January and early February, we bring you our second more homespun Gigs of the Week of 2018, featuring a predominance of Bristolian bands. We also bid a fond farewell to the institution that is New Year/New Noise. What new noise will take its place? What new noise will you treat your ears to this week?

Thursday 11th January

Phoxjaw

Phoxjaw + Esuna + OGives – Mothers Ruin
There’s many a free gig every week in Bristol, but for there to be a whole Free For All Festival at The Mothers Ruin throughout January is a huge asset to the city’s thriving cultural scene. Let’s hope a few unsuspecting and enthusiastic tourists from afar spot the festival and pop in to sample Phoxjaw. Because one answer to what Bristol has to offer is their bristling, energetic, post-grunge sombremosh. They’re the sort of band where you either stand well back, or stick your head in the speaker.

Rainmaker + Wych Elm + School Disco – Louisiana
In business, a rainmaker is someone who manages to drum up new business out of seemingly nowhere. In the realm of kiddies’ toys, a rainmaker is a soporific thing that can elicit narcolepsy in already-knackered parents. The Rainmaker is a film adaptation of the John Grisham novel – a satisfying legal drama, but crap if you’re on a date (so I discovered many years ago). In musical terms, Rainmaker is a blinding post-punk/shoegaze band on the equally splendid Quit Yr Job Records, gracing the Louisiana on Thursday night.

Arxx – Canteen
As well as what people say when they get the pronunciation of “ask” wrong, Arxx is a powerful duo from Brighton, comprising of Hannah Pidduck on vocals and guitar, and Clara Townsend on drums. They further the popular ‘less is more’ contemporary maxim, where you don’t need an army of instrumentalists to make a mightily fine racket. Garage rock meets gospel, with sounds that can smack you, smelt you, or smooth out your tense, millennial furrows.

Friday 12th January

Three Kings High

Three Kings High – Mothers Ruin
Yet another excellent Bristol band! If you’re unfamiliar with Donut Records’ Three Kings High, check out their 2017 album, They Think They’re People. You’ll hear well-observed lyrics. You’ll hear psych-infused rock, with Joe Eden’s stately but ominous vocals drawing you further into temptation. You’ll hear the track, ‘Nowhere Fast’ indicating quite clearly where they’re not going. Did I get the negatives right? There are nothing but positives about the notion of a Friday night luxuriating in the regal splendour of Three Kings High.

New Year/New Noise – Brunswick 12/1, 13/1 & 14/1
Why so many farewells recently? Howling Owl declared on their website recently, “A self-declared era comes to an end. Let’s end this proper.” The fifth and final NYNN shifts to the Brunswick from its spiritual home, the Arnolfini, due to the gallery having its funding cut. It will still champion sound, vision and thought, with bands, films and discussion panels. Catch EBU, Elvin Brandhi, Obsidian Teeth and Daniela Dyson, then end it proper with Giant Swan, Vessels, Moor Mother, S4U, Nervous Conditions, Harrga, EMEI and Hack Mystic. New Year, New Noise – we salute you.

Shame – Rough Trade
Shame have so much talent and potential that they could easily make you insanely jealous. I’m listening to ‘Tasteless’ as I type this and I’m desperately trying to knock it, just because I’m old and bitter, and that noisy young man, Charlie Steen, is shouting “I like you better when you’re not around” a lot. But the more his caustic bellow rattles my cage, the fresher I feel. They play this in-store at Rough Trade on the day their new album, Songs of Praise, is released. That said, it looks like BBC1 is screening it at 4.30 on Sunday afternoon. Unless I’m mistaken.

Saturday 13th January

Snails – Cube
With influences that clearly include Bowie, The Kinks and Syd Barrett, as well as a distinct flavour of Belle and Sebastian, they’ve been called “effortlessly charming” by the great and the good (i.e. not me). As much as Dan Weltman and Anna Kissell’s lazy Sunday afternoon vocals combine in easy, snoozy symbiosis, it’s clear, once you listen, how much effort does go into their subtly-layered songwriting. They’ll be reprising material from their recent album, Safe in Silence and proving that slow and steady wins the race.

Sunday 14th January

Spunking Octochoke + One Last Score + Civil War Ghost – Mothers Ruin
More Free For All goodness, with everybody’s favourite mollusc/plant/discharge-related combo, Spunking Octochoke. They saw Roll for the Soul out in style in December, now they are due to see out the weekend with their searing punk. Add the rock & roll of One Last Score and the noise-rock of Civil War Ghost and The Mothers Ruin will be positively quivering and vibrating with rock. It’s what Sundays are for.

Monday 15th January

David Ramirez

David Ramirez – Louisiana
The most distant and exotic place so far this week to provide us with a band for our list has been either Brighton or South London. Praise be, therefore, for David Ramirez and his blend of folk pop. He’s based in Austin, Texas, but he’s coming over Europe to sample some proper big cities such as Bristol, naming the tour ironically after his recent album title, We’re Not Going Anywhere. That title reflects his American/Mexican heritage and stands up to the current anti-Hispanic crapola peddled by the Trump regime.

Gravy Train Presents: Gang + Inevitable Daydream + Radiators + Jesuits (DJ set) – Hy-Brasil
If their video to the song, ‘Dead’ is anything to go by, this Brighton three-piece have already been bumped off in a church and replaced by a set of green look- and soundalikes named Doppelgang. There’s a definite sense of being in a parallel universe when listening to Gang’s psych-soaked, sludgy grunge. Tracks like ‘Messiah’ and ‘Skinny Dipper’ from their debut album, 925 ‘Til I Die, will give your heaviest cheese dream a run for its money.

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