As the Free For All festival enters its final week, we say farewell and thank you to those who have made so much music available to the appreciative masses this month via that excellent enterprise. And with that spirit at the forefront of the mind, what better moment than to issue a hearty ‘All hail!’ to Independent Venue Week?

As a leading UK city for independent venues, what a week it has been for Bristol, to see the government ensure that the Agent of Change Bill would pass into law and make it the developers’ responsibility to accommodate for existing venues when they build new housing through adequate soundproofing. That said, you wouldn’t catch me moaning about having a venue close by. Having a great music hub more or less on my doorstep has been a wishful daydream of mine for years.

Thursday 25th January

Wand

Wand + East Sister – Louisiana

LA psych-rock quintet, Wand hit the Louisiana on the third night of their European tour this week. Their album, Plum, was a frequently-nominated ‘under the radar’ hit in several 2017 end-of-year ‘Top 50’ lists. Incidentally, both ‘plum’ and ‘wand’ are cracking insults to hurl at somebody you don’t like.  More here…

Friday 26th January

Poisonous Birds

Poisonous Birds + Springbreak + SCALPING + Regolith + Sean Addicott – Mothers’ Ruin

Launching their new EP, Big Water, Bristol’s own Poisonous Birds bring a further evolution to their sound in 2018. There’s barely a guitar to be heard. It’s only a tiny step short of post-rock, with its pent-up, looming presence keeping dramatic tension at a maximum. If the Earth could make a protest record the injustice mankind inflicts on it, this is what it would sound like. More here…

Oh, The Guilt + Oranj Son + The Hot Freaks + A Standard Model – Café Kino

Let’s hope you’ve had time to get over the Christmas guilt of mainlining on the quality and quantity of confectionery you’d never consider consuming if peace on Earth and good will to all mankind didn’t depend on it. Let’s hope that by Saturday morning, your conscience will be clear and your consciousness will be full of new-grunge Bristolians, Oh, The Guilt. Anyone name-checking an early Nirvana 7” has to be worth a listen, in my book. More here…

Saturday 28th January

Elder Island

Elder Island – Thekla

If you’re one of those people who tend to break out into dance without realising it, your inner earworm plays you something that has you inadvertently vogue-ing in front of a display of Super Noodles at Aldi, then Bristol’s Elder Island may be a hazardous influence to subject yourself to. Electronica is rarely quite this infectious. More here…

Lead Shot Hazard + 6 Foot 7 + Hell Death Fury + Ready 5 – Chelsea Inn

Lead Shot Hazard hail from That London. Punk and ska (in that order) are their offering to life’s musical skirmish. You can imagine how much of a chill-out one of their shows isn’t. Check out their 2016 EP, War and Pieces for a sense of the merciless ear bashing you can expect. More here…

Muncle + Our Nameless Boy + Jemima Coulter – Crofters Rights

Mike Griffiths, AKA Muncle, launches his new EP, On at The Crofters Rights. Not only can you enhance your Saturday night with his childlike wonder, but you can also make someone else’s day better by bringing a contribution for the North Bristol Foodbank. You’ll get a bit of money off your ticket. In so many ways, the world will be a better place. More here…

Vulgarians + Heavy Lungs + Repo Man – Hy-Brasil

Hull has only just finished being the UK’s City of Culture for 2017, and yet it is still the gift that keeps on giving, as it has given us Vulgarians. “Sleazy as Hell,” they’re most of the things we’d do and say if we thought we could get away with it. If, like me, it is your life’s mission to lower the tone anywhere you go, you could pick up a few good tips here, whilst doing your ears a favour. More here…

Sunday 28th January

Beat The Streets Festival – Thekla

Beat The Streets is a new charity festival in aid of improving the lives of homeless people in Bristol and if you’ve walked even a short distance at the end of a gig at night, you’ll have seen the very real prospect of increasing numbers of people in shop doorways. Daytime (2 til 10) artists on the bill include Rozelle, Harvey Causon (solo set) and China Bowls. The evening (10 til 3, on a separate ticket) has glorious DJ-ed disorder. Even the bar proceeds go to charity, so you can hit the beers whilst feeling like you’re polishing your halo. More here…

Monday 29th January

This Is The Kit

This Is The Kit + Rhain – Crofters Rights

Adrian Utley and Big Jeff have teamed up (as they did on Steve Lamacq’s round table on BBC6 Music) to celebrate Independent Venue Week; they’re bringing This Is The Kit to The Crofters Rights. With their summer-released, wintry-sounding album, Moonshine Freeze still feeling fresh in our ears, Rozi Plain and company will be recreating (in January) some of the scorching spirit of their acclaimed Green Man and Farmfest summer festival slots. You could call this dynamic contrast ‘Hotter Colder’, but they’ve beaten you to it. More here…

A. Savage + Jack Cooper – Louisiana

Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts need only reduce his seemingly innocuous first name down to an initial and he sounds like a wild man. When you hear his solo work on the 2017 album Thawing Dawn, you’re certainly hearing an artist who sounds happy roaming free, following his nose, exploring new solo ground and exploring the turmoil of the human condition in its current wilderness. More here…

Holy Bouncer + wych elm + The Malarkey – Old England

On this Earthly plain, a holy bouncer would surely be an ordained priest, built like Dwayne Johnson, in a dog collar and high-vis tabard, making sure that we’re all behaving like good boys and girls and queueing nicely. Barcelona’s rasping blues-rockers, Holy Bouncer, ought to bring sufficient energy and devilish charm to ensure that we feel like misbehaving somewhat. More here…

Tuesday 30th January

Jamie Cruickshank – Mothers’ Ruin

If it’s home-town indie-folk, tracking Bristolian landmarks, as in his recent single, ‘I Can See Totterdown’ that you’re after, then Jamie Cruickshank’s arrangement of stringed instruments should pull a few of your own strings. His voice, with some of the fragile hues of Nick Drake to it, gives a sense of acute emotion, and yet also a slight sense that a part of him exists in a more ethereal, parallel (and perhaps more magical) world. More here…

Wednesday 31st January

Gigs of the Week
Jesuits

IVW Big Jeff Takeover: Jesuits + Iceman Furniss Quartet + Emily Isherwood – Exchange

If the inside of Big Jeff’s cranium could be rented out for gigs, it would be the finest independent venue you could imagine. Bands would clamour to play there. As it is, the wondrous, joyous grey matter inside of Jeff’s cranium has brought together the eclectic line-up for this fine celebration of acts that have had the opportunity to be seen and heard and grow because of the support of independent venues. More here…

Deer Tick – Fleece

Named after something that can transmit Lyme disease to humans, it’s not entirely surprising that this band can get under your skin. Their 2017 double album showed two distinct sides to their sound, which roams up and down the spectrum between rock and folk. They’re showcasing the acoustic in one half and the electric in the other half, so a double dose of Deer Tick ought to feel pleasantly revitalising. More here…

~

You want more? We’ve got more. Check out our full listings here.

Can’t quite get out of the house? Listen to BLM in Session here.