By Jon Kent
A very casual Olly Lewis takes to the stage in Bermuda shorts and sporting a fine goatee. Perched on a bar stool with acoustic guitar on knee he opens his set with a cover version of Ray Charles’ ‘Hit the road Jack’. He’s at the bluesy/jazzy end of the acoustic pop spectrum and seems more comfortable when performing his own songs, such as ‘Pretty Please’ and ‘Open your eyes’ so it’s a shame when he introduces a second cover version, this time Ed Sheeran’s ’18′. Overall, nothing ground-breaking, nothing new, but if a solid new local talent in the vein of Ben Howard or Jack Johnson (he’s playing on the main stage at the Harbourside Festival on Saturday the 21st at 3pm).
Bristol duo, The Burning Bandits, carry on the acoustic theme but this time more folksy and rhythmical. Three songs into the set and they introduce a Cajon Box Drum. This really brings the sound up a notch. Think Richie Havens opening Woodstock and you wouldn’t be far off the mark. Interesting and one to watch.
Rituals are a four piece outfit with a effects driven guitars and a big, big sound which the Thunderbolt can hardly contain. It wants to get out! It wants to be playing in rain drenched festivals to cider-crazed boys and girls wearing Linkin Park tees.
Vergin Sunset are described as ‘A Bristol Funky Soulful, Surf Fusion outfit’ and are an incredibly young, impossibly talented five piece, Hawaiian shirt-clad band. Covering ‘Miserlou’ by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones (Pulp Fiction) and the surf classic ‘Wipe Out’, with a guitarist who must of been brought up on Hendrix juice, this proves too much funk and not enough soul!
The Dragonflies are a Bristol based four piece with a lot going for them; melodic songwriting with intelligent lyrics and great hair. When following the footsteps of the great English songwriting bands such as the Kinks, The Jam and The Smiths you find yourselves with some pretty hefty shoes to fill. More like Gene than the Smiths, The Dragonflies fall sort by simply trying too hard. But there’s more to the The Dragonflies than clever lyrics; musicly they’re clever too and have a lot to offer. A bluesy twist with a darker flip side, reminiscent to early 70’s rock. they manage the two sounds well, but whether this works to their favour or not remains to be seen. Stand out songs are ‘Moon’ and ‘Forever For Sure’, both of which you can downloaded from their website.