February 13th – Various venues
When the line up for 6 music festival was announced, the first thing I wonder was “where are all the young, interesting, Bristol bands?” It was great and all, but I couldn’t see many on there who really represented Bristol music today. Luckily though, BBC Fringe festival swooped in to save the day, with many of our best venues opening their doors wide open to waves upon waves of Bristol talent. If the festival line up had asked some questions, the fringe line-up answered them well enough.
It only seemed right to make the most of the day and cram in as much as possible, starting over at the Stag and Hounds pub to see Towers. As light streamed into a packed upstairs of the pub, the band, played a perfect set of their powerful, harmony laden indie. In such an intimate setting, their delicate harmonies and melodic guitar lines filled the space, making a distinct difference from the riff laden carnage that the Stag and Hounds is used to.
After that, I dashed over to a packed Louisiana. It was rammed full, with the venue cramming a stage onto all three of its floors. I went straight upstairs to catch the end of The Amazon’s riotous brand of rock’n’roll.
Next up was Bad Sounds, a favourite of BBC Introducing Bristol. For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of listening to the band before, they’ve made a name for big indie-pop bangers, with a tight Jamiroquai-like funk, and they didn’t disappoint. With two electrically energetic singers (one sporting the kind of tracksuit Jay Kay himself would enjoy), it was hard to not be sucked in by the fun. I wouldn’t expect them to be playing venues like the Louisiana for much longer, and rightly so; their songs would sound massive on any stage.
Downstairs, Tamu Massif, one of a few artists that played the Louisiana that day represented by Bristol’s Chiveren, hypnotised the room with his blend of folk, electronica and hip-hop beats. Recreating his intricate songs live is no easy feat, but he managed it, playing his guitar and triggering beats with his feet. Seeing him live highlights the depth and beauty of his voice, and it’s hard to look away.
Another act that I don’t expect to be confined to Bristol much longer is Stevie Parker. Her powerful vocals stunned the upstairs of the Louisiana, whilst her backing band created an atmospheric backdrop. The songs are pure pop at heart, and whilst currently only got one song up on SoundCloud, but by the end of the set everyone in the crowd could probably sing every single one.
Following another dash across town, I found myself at the front of the Stag and Hounds again, this time for Bristol’s grunge outfit The Karma Repair Kit. You know those gigs that are so loud, so much fun, that you just kind of lose you mind? That was Karma Repair Kit. After about 15 minutes of perfectly formed grunge bangers, the lead singer/guitarist Jamie Thomas ended up in the crowd, a rogue audience member on his guitar and yet another on a tambourine.
After the carnage had ended, lead singer Jamie had to explain that, actually, the band still had a song left. The crowd, not wanting to disappoint, upped their game as well, which is what lead me to being onstage with the tambourine and Jamie sat in the drum kit. You don’t get that kind of fun in Colston Hall for £40 a pop do you?
Check out The Karma Repair Kit’s ‘Drown Out’ right here: