Live Music Scene’s Sixth Birthday Bash | Live Review

Words: April Donnelly
Photos: Louise Brady

Trucking on down to Old Market on 28 April, this was my first time at The Exchange and I was really impressed with the venue. With two stages and a third bar the atmosphere is earthy and raw as soon as you walk through the door. The perfect place to celebrate six years of guiding Bristol fans through a plethora of gigs to find the bands they want to listen to. Live Music Scene put on mighty fistful of acts to celebrate their sixth birthday.

Bristol continues to deliver an increasingly rich new music scene but in the last six years our disposable cash has been hit hard by the recession and the rising cost of living in the city. Music fans have to be more discerning about whom they pay to see these days. LMS has become a trusted source of advice for fans across Bristol. Their sixth birthday gig was always going to be a great night and well worth the £5/6 entry fee to see the 10-band line-up. Plus it’s the little details that make all the difference – they’d even thought about the afternoon start time set to run into the night and had organized discounted food – veg chili and rice from the fab Stag & Hounds next for a bargain £3 for those with a wristband.

Black Elephant were loud and low. There were only a few people watching when they started up but the room soon filled up as the singer belted out a powerful vocal – for an average sized guy his voice packs a punch that takes you by surprise but also has a nice melodic quality that nicely balanced their dark rhythms and booming sound.

They built up to a big crescendo and things got quite heated with much crashing about and feet being stamped into the pedals – by the end of the set my ears were ringing and my pulse racing.

The next band were Empire, playing on the upstairs stage. These five guys have only been together for a year but already they are causing a small storm. Apparently they don’t like to label their music but describe themselves as rock ‘n’ roll that smells clean and tastes fresh – well their singer definitely fits the fresh description! He drew the audience in straightaway with jokes about anglerfish and not getting back with your ex. He teased the crowd for assuming that he was gay because of his voice and manner and then jumped into the crowd for a song about fit girls that come to their gigs. His small size and feminine voice did nothing to diminish his ability to deliver massive screams in between their crashing riffs.

Next I saw Cars on Fire who have a great reputation and the downstairs stage was packed to the rafters by the time they started. These are a storming band with a beautiful ability to ricochet between full and frenzied, all out rock, then dropping into heartbreakingly beautiful choruses that will haunt you for a long time afterwards. They’ve a new album out called ‘Black Hearts and Bloody Hands’ which I will definitely be buying.

I went back upstairs to watch the last two bands of the night – Cavorts and The Wires.

The Cavorts are from Barnsley and recently have been playing some very large venues but they still turn up at smaller gigs every now and again – I guess they like getting a bit closer to the crowd. The Wires were another visiting band, this time from London, with a pretty impressive history including opening for Paul Weller. Both of these bands were superb and definitely worth a watch but in the only downside of the night the numbers of people watching had nosedived at this point. This was a real shame as those that left early missed out on some great tracks – however maybe this was not surprising as by this time is was getting pretty late for a school night.

Maybe for their next birthday they should make like her Maj’ and move their ‘official’ birthday to land on the Bank Holiday – the more people that get the chance to go to a quality gig like this the better. See the LMS event for the full line up of bands on both stages from the night.