Whatever futile resolution you’ve disappointingly annihilated already, please tell me you’re sticking to the one that involves checking out more live music in 2018. The benefits are pretty obvious, but don’t forget the aerobic ‘new you’ fitness benefits of dancing on the spot (bollocks to joining a gym) without having to dress in lurid, unflattering garb and listen to some wretched chart mix (predominantly the bass thereof) over the imposing speakers.
January’s first Gigs of the Week features some excellent local acts and smaller local venues, as well as some more established heavyweights from further afield. Happy New Year to you all. May your ears be portals to great joy in 2018.

Thursday 4th January

Ruth Royall

Ruth Royall – Gallimaufry
Bristol meets Berlin in Ruth Royall. She came from here, cut her teeth in the clubs there, and then we got her back, founding The Bristol Sessions for good measure. Lounge jazz meets electronica, whilst R&B and trip-hop loiter in the background, as if ready to photobomb. If you’ve not encountered Ruth Royall, then you’ve not heard her majestic voice first-hand. This existential shortcoming is easy to resolve.

Junior – Louisiana
If you’re envisaging a 2018 comeback of the early-80s British R&B singer, Junior, then you’re slightly off-radar on this one. If you’re thinking South Walian three-piece pop-punk, with a lead singer/bassist who doubles as a WWE wrestler in the US, then you’re on it. If you need any persuasion to get motivated again after New Year’s blow-outs, let Junior twist your arm.

Hypophora – Mothers Ruin
Hypophora is the rhetorical device of asking a question, so that you can deliberately set yourself up to answer it and wield your cleverness. Why am I telling you this? Because Hypophora make highly intelligent and very, very noisy music, blending post-hardcore with alt- and math-rock. After the efforts of Alex Parks and Fisherman’s Friends, it could be the year when Hypophora finally put Cornwall on the musical map.

Hypophora, Photo: Craig Taylor-Broad

Friday 5th January

The Hunna – O2 Academy
The Hunna take their name from their slang pronunciation of ‘hundred,’ referring to what percentage of effort they put into their rock. It’s also the percentage of the O2 Academy they’ll be filling, as it’s a sell-out. It may also be the percentage to which the volume will be set. If you’re celebrating surviving Christmas, then ‘Alive’ and ‘Still Got Blood’ ought to resonate.

Toodles & The Hectic Pity – Mothers Ruin
Anyone who releases an EP entitled Call in Sick is always going to tap into the common consciousness somewhat. Indeed, you will have had time by Friday 5th to put on ‘that pathetic voice,’ phone your employer and fabricate some ailment about which they won’t wish to converse any further. If you’ve spent Friday in your pants on a skiver watching Cake Boss, make sure you ‘recover’ in time for a dose of folk-punk in the evening.

Why We Love – Louisiana
While the welfare state is picked apart by stealth, brick by brick, let’s not only fight to preserve it with every last breath, but let’s also imagine a nation where the Wellfair state was also an integral part of our mental and physical health. Joe and Rachel Wellfair’s glittering harmonies and spangly jangle spread infectious delight. That’s why we love Why We Love.

Taco Hell – Hydra Bookshop
If you’ve ever ended up talking on the porcelain telephone after a night of post-taco hell, then fear not these piquant, crunchy indie-punk raconteurs. You’ll get a splendid sweat going, but they won’t leave you feeling empty. This Nottingham four-piece are touring their first, and last, album, Bad at Being Average before they go their separate ways. They’ll serve you up ‘Cheesy Chips’ while they’re at it.

Saturday 6th January

Twin Arrow – Louisiana
Originally formed in North Devon, Twin Arrow are now firmly based in Bristol and well-established as a force of melodic alt-rock. They can do moody and atmospheric, but they can also give you an upbeat groove. Imagine Cupid shooting you with those two twin arrows. It’s not unfeasible to think that you’d fall for them.

Alpha Male Tea Party

Alpha Male Tea Party – Mothers Ruin
If you hadn’t noticed already, there’s opposition between the concept of an ‘alpha male,’ brash, competitive and objectionable, and a ‘tea party,’ genteel, sociable, with triangulated sandwiches (the pinnacle of good taste) and your best crockery. They are, as they describe themselves, “fucking loud,” but underneath the rock onslaught, there is subtle humour and delicacy.

Sunday 7th January

Brook Tate – Canteen
It’s ideal music for late Sunday afternoon, to which you can eat, drink and be decidedly merry. Singer-songwriter, Brook Tate brings his acutely-observed lyrics and his quiet, genial intensity to The Canteen for a poetic, philosophical ear-stroking to kick off your year.

Monday 8th January

In Her Own Words – Louisiana
Los Angeles meets Louisiana, as In Her Own Words bring their pop-punk to tour the UK. They’ll have been in Bridgwater the night before, so if they’ve got out of there in one piece, you’re in for effervescent aural pleasures. If you’re not enlightened in all matters IHOW, get onto 2016’s Unfamiliar. Why not start this minute with ‘Right Now’?

Tuesday 9th January

Claire Ji

Twelve Months of Summer feat. Claire Ji – Canteen
Going to see Claire Ji guarantees jazz-inflected vocals, with a shimmering substrata of pathos-laden soul. She and her band have been busy recently at Cellar Tapes Studios locally, recording their video for ‘Morocco.’ Let’s hope it’s the start of twelve months of something glorious for these life-affirming lovelies.

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You want more? We’ve got more. Check out our full listings here.

Can’t quite get out of the house? Listen to BLM in Session here.