Nightlife / music

Your First Term Definitive Gig Guide

By ella kemp, Tuesday Sep 13, 2016

This year, just as every year, Bristol is bursting with brilliant bookings for the delectation of many a budding music-lover.

There are lots of shows already sold out, and if you’re one of the lucky punters who managed to snag a Massive Attack ticket, for example, or Blossoms at Bierkeller, or James Blake at the O2, or indeed Regina Spektor at Colston Hall… well, we are all very jealous. But for the rest of us, there are abundant opportunities to see some stunning performances over the next four months while we should probably all be studying. Here’s our pick of the best.

The Kills @ Anson Rooms, 5th October
Richmond Building, University of Bristol Students’ Union, 105 Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1LN 

It’s difficult to imagine a stronger guarantee of a great gig than from The Kills. They’ve had over a decade now to sharpen their dagger-sharp indie rock, and with their latest singles “Doing it to Death” and “Heart of Dog”, they have recently been delivering even more of their signature slick, snarling style.

The Duke Spirit @ The Fleece, 9th October

12 St Thomas St, Bristol BS1 6JJ

Their new album has surprised many with its fresh style and crisp production, perhaps a departure from their earlier work as a fairly traditional indie-rock band. They’ve been garnering great live reviews touring dreamier new material from their latest album “Kin”, but with a solid repertoire of much dirtier, distortion-filled LPs behind them, shows are bound to be energetic and varied.

Jagwar Ma @Marble Factory, 23rd October

74-78 Avon St, Bristol BS2 0PX

Daring dance music that could be likened to Animal Collective or Django Django, but in reality stands apart from the rest. Expect a relentlessly upbeat set that will doubtless leave your feet bruised and your heart pumping double-speed.

Daughter @ Colston Hall, 25th October

Colston St, Bristol BS1 5AR

Melodic and melancholic, three-piece Daughter have tiptoed their way into the spotlight over the last few years and filled rooms with delicately put-together compositions of guitar, percussion, ethereal synth lines, and – of course – Elena Tonra’s breath-taking vocals. With two unassuming yet brilliant, cleverly written albums, this music could fill any space (physical or metaphysical).

Khruangbin @ Trinity Centre, 26th October

Trinity Centre, Trinity Rd, Bristol BS2 0NW

If “psychedelic Texan funk” doesn’t appeal (I don’t know why it wouldn’t), then this band perhaps isn’t for you. Khruangbin are about as chilled out as it is realistically possible to be. They combine afro-pop with southern jazz, hints of blues, and disco. The perfect antidote to the chaos of Bristol club nights. Relax and let the colours swirl before your eyes.

Haley Bonar @The Louisiana, 28th October

Wapping Rd, Bathurst Terrace, Bristol BS1 6UA

The Louisiana is a charming venue, proud of its reputation as a great place to find new talent, and this certainly seems apt for the upcoming Haley Bonar show. Bonar is a grungy, dark songwriter with a voice from the same realm as Lykke Li or Lana del Rey. Her latest album “Last War” without a doubt marks her as one to watch for future stardom.

This is the Kit @ Trinity Centre, 30th October

Trinity Centre, Trinity Rd, Bristol BS2 0NW

This is the Kit have quietly beckoned a cult following in recent years, especially around these parts.  Rolling percussion blends with tentative finger-picking and modest string arrangements, “This” is the Kit excel at slow-but-steady, understated song-writing that is deceptively compelling. These 6Music darlings are sure to bash out a good live show.

Local Natives @ Marble Factory, 4th November

74-78 Avon St, Bristol BS2 0PX

Need I say anything, really? Local Natives are well respected in their line of work for the simple reason that they are consistently great both live and in the studio. Atmospheric instrumentation, wistful vocals and a healthy amount of songs that are catchy enough to passionately croon along to, should you feel the desire to do so.

Agnes Obel @ Anson Rooms, 26th November

Richmond Building, University of Bristol Students’ Union, 105 Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1LN

Agnes Obel has a stunning voice, but that’s only the beginning. Layer upon layer of harmonies from every corner of the orchestra: think harps, cellos, floating string sections, and every now and then one of those curiously unidentifiable instruments that seems to mesh together with the rest perfectly. Judging by live recordings, this Danish sorceress will be truly enchanting.

Super Furry Animals @ The O2 Academy. 6th December

1-2, Frogmore St, Bristol BS1 5NA

Scruffy, strange, nonsensical, and absolutely superb, for those who don’t know them the Super Furry Animals can leave your head spinning and your sense of reality severely shaken. For those who do know and love them, there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing the boiler-suit clad Welshmen take to the stage. Embrace the madness, this lot never disappoint.

Other honourable mentions could include The Human League at Colston Hall, Beth Orton at Anson Rooms, Honeyblood, The Wedding Present and Future of the Left at The Fleece, Sunflower Bean and Beans on Toast at Thekla, White Denim at the O2, Wild Beasts and Dinosaur Jr at Marble Factory… I could go on. 

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