Where exactly did 2017 go?

There may have been times when you’ve been convinced that the world’s gone mad. Hopefully, though, there have been headphone moments, where you’ve shut the craziness out and replaced it with solace, or crazy sounds of your own choosing.

Let’s hope too that you’ve had moments surrounded by humanity’s finest specimens – the gig-goers of Bristol. Here’s our pick of the remaining gigs of December. See you on the other side. Joyeux Noël (Edmonds/Gallagher/Fielding – delete as applicable).

Thursday 14th December

Willie J Healey

Willie J Healey – Louisiana
It’s been a big year for Willie J Healey. Hopefully, you caught onto his debut album, People and their Dogs, in July. You may have heard his 6Music session for Lauren Laverne. Brits love their pets, in the way you would fall for Willie if you were to hear him, or if you saw him at SWX earlier in the year. He’s certainly for life, not just for Christmas.

Johnny Cage and the Voodoogroove – Canteen
Cardiff five-piece, Johnny Cage and the Voodoogroove, were backed strongly by Midge ‘Live Aid was my idea too’ Ure in 2016’s BBC4 contest Britain’s Best Part-Time Band. Full-on arse-kicking rock and roll is inevitable. Get your padded trousers at the ready.

Creatures – The Lanes
Maybe you caught onto Creatures on the recent Temples tour. Perhaps you just heard something of theirs and assumed it was from a Tarantino soundtrack. Early demos alone scored them a slot at Rough Trade’s 40th Anniversary celebrations in Paris, as well as a slot at the End of the Road Festival. They clearly make a good first impression.

Tall Ships Farewell Tour – Thekla
After nine years together, Tall Ships are calling it a day and playing three farewell shows. Considering their nautical moniker, where better to hoist down the sails than at Thekla? Don’t stay at home moping about their demise and have meditations on loss, go and say your goodbyes to the sounds of their recent release, ‘Meditations on Loss’.

Friday 15th December

Mad Apple Circus

Mad Apple Circus – Golden Lion
Bristol’s own horn-fuelled, ska-jazz-hip-hop, nine-piece big band will bring all the sense of the crazed, cider-fuelled hoopla that their name suggests. Calling their distinct sound ‘Bristone,’ they couldn’t speak our language more if they tried.

Spunking Octochoke + EP64 – Roll for the Soul
Punk with a capital ‘s’, local noisemongers, Spunking Octochoke, launch their new album at Roll for the Soul. Apparently, there may be some karaoke thrown in; ask for ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ and see what reaction you get. I’m sure I once ordered Spunking Octochoke in a swanky restaurant. It was surprisingly filling.

Bambooman + Elsa Hewitt – Crofters Rights
Kirk Barley, aka Bambooman, melds diverse influences to craft his electronica. The minute you attempt to categorise, you find it’s meandered meaningfully elsewhere and your label is only partially applicable. His most recent album, Whispers, offers plenty of lively tranquillity for your Friday night.

Saturday 16th December

Specialist Subject and Deadpunk Christmas Party – Exchange
Caves headline, supported by Doe, Personal Best, Grand-Pop, Austeros and, most appropriately, Jesus and his Judgemental Father (but do they mean Joseph, or the big guy with the white beard?) If that’s not enough, after Caves, you can listen to Cheap Good Craic, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band and then you can dance ‘til late. Could get messy.

Nightbus Xmas Party: Goan Dogs + The Desert – Mr Wolf’s
The Nightbus stops one more time at Mr Wolf’s to pick up merry travellers, in search of salvation. Someone’s let the Goan Dogs out. They’ll be wisely bearing gifts of golden tracks, that are frank ‘n’ sensitive, plus occasional myrr-th.

Sunday 17th December

Apologies, I Have None – Exchange
London-based folk-punk quartet, Apologies, I Have None, head for the Exchange to put some zest into your bleak midwinter. Imagine Frank Turner and Billy Bragg in Pulp Fiction, striking people down with great vengeance and furious anger. They’ll offer no remorse. You’ll have no regret.

Monday 18th December

Honeyblood

Honeyblood – Thekla
Our December cover stars, Honeyblood, bring their Honeybloody Christmas spirit to a sold-out Thekla, ready to sandblast any lingering crud of 2017 away. Their acclaimed album, Babes Never Die, is a year old, but feels as fresh as ever. Stina Tweeddale brings the force of a Glasgow kiss under the mistletoe. Cat Myers has just been on tour with Mogwai, but has she turned into a Gremlin yet?

Thursday 21st December

The Twang – O2 Academy
When The Twang played the opening bars of ‘Wide Awake’ ten years ago, they sounded like they were straight outta Madchester. Then Phil Etheridge opened his mouth, like a Brummie Mike Skinner, and their identity was clear. Five albums on, they can still jangle all the way.

Friday 22nd December

Trust Fund + Speed Skater + Pup Tent – Roll for the Soul
Damn, we’ll miss nights like this at Roll for the Soul. Ellis Jones and co. will give us plenty of lyrics that’ll make us question what we value in life and what our place is in this crazy world. With a few sweet, sweet tinges of early-90s Bob Mould/Superchunk, there’s a nostalgic strain that’ll befit the venue well.

London Calling: Joe Strummer Night – Thunderbolt
On the fifteenth anniversary of the death of John Graham Mellor, aka Joe Strummer, The Thunderbolt presents the most eminent UK Clash tribute band, London Calling. Strummer was only fifty when he passed – one of many that have gone too soon, but are never forgotten.

Saturday 23rd December

Milo’s Planes

Breakfast Presents: Christmas with Milo’s Planes – Louisiana
You should spend Christmas with family – your gigging family. Milo’s Planes are your musical Bristolian kindred spirits and you’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder with other like-minded souls. So, stay home or head to the Loui? Parlour games, or post-hardcore and pints? Mince Pies, or Milo’s Planes? Home Alone box-set marathon, anyone? You know what to do.

Friday 29th December

The Travis Waltons – Louisiana
As featured in August’s BLM, The Travis Waltons have new material ready to be unleashed, recorded at Invada Studios this year. If you’ve seen them before, you’ll know the lively irreverence they bring. If you’ve seen the video to ‘Homewrecker,’ you’ll know what Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul thinks of them too.

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