Hundreds of people from Bristol’s live music scene are getting together on Saturday, July 25 to raise funds for a much loved sound engineer who has fallen on hard times. The benefit show, which takes place at Exchange on Old Market, features some of the best bands from the city’s punk, metal and alternative scenes.
You may not know Paul Jocelyn, but if you’re a live music fan in Bristol you’ve probably enjoyed his work. He is the main sound engineer at Exchange – a haven for underground sounds since it opened in 2012 – and before that he had a similar role at The Croft. As the man behind the mixing desk, PJ has saved countless shows from catastrophe, and his ability to stay calm – as singers spill drinks on monitors and guitarists push their amps to unspeakable volumes – is not to be sniffed at.
Right now, though, PJ is out of action, having recently suffered a very severe bout of illness. “I’d been working constantly for a long time”, he explains, “and I think that was a big part of the problem. I was in hospital for three weeks, including two in intensive care. I’ve been told it should have been longer but apparently I’ve made a remarkable recovery.” While Paul’s improving health is fantastic news for all who know him, as a self-employed sound engineer his finances have taken a serious hit. “It will be another couple of weeks before I’m able to do any kind of work,” he explains, “and I had been too ill to work for a while before I went to hospital.”
Everyone in the music scene knows how tough it can be to make a living, and that – along with Paul’s popularity – explains the reaction from musicians, promoters and gig-goers. Paul sounds genuinely overwhelmed. “So many people are coming to the show already, and others who can’t make it have bought tickets anyway,” he says. “It’s amazing really.”
The full list of artists lined up for the benefit show is (deep breath) De Selby Codex, Michael Dennis, Repo Man, Doctor Nut, Pembleton, Warrior Pope, 7 Crowns, The Earth & Me, Idiot Strength, Nietszche Trigger Finger, Bosc Monitor, Olanza, Silver Waves and Zam Zam, and if you’re not familiar with many of those names you probably should be.