Trust Fund, Personal Best, Adam Todd + Dirtygirl @ The Exchange, 26.01.16.

The format of a gig is usually pretty straight forward. I’m going to assume that you’re pretty clued up on the whole thing, and do not need the format explaining. It works well, it’s efficient. But, barring any high-jinx from the act your going to see, it can be boring. Band followed by band followed by band followed by curfew. A tried and tested method. So when Trust Fund announced their tour would feature a raffle, a stand-up set from a member of Spook School and a “Three Lions Karaoke Sing-along”, I was interested.

Trust Fund aka Ellis Jones, is one of Bristol’s DIY scene’s success stories. After a split EP with Joanna Gruesome a few years ago, Ellis managed to release two albums last year, the fantastic ‘No One’s Coming For Us’ and the even better ‘Seems Unfair’. The question wasn’t whether the albums were some of your favourite of 2015, it was what order you put them in. His brand of punk twinned with incredibly personal lyrics puts you in mind of Los Campesinos! or Courtney Barnett. His hard working ethic, and willingness to think outside the box makes him one of the few artists able to pull off such a bizarrely billed gig.

When I arrived at 8pm the Exchange was already packed. Like, way more packed than I’ve seen a gig for a support band. The band in question DIRTYGIRL, were a perfect mix of Riotgrrl punk and teenage angst, with a set filled with the kinds of choruses you want to shout.

“The question wasn’t whether the albums were some of your favourite of 2015, it was what order you put them in”

As the comedy interlude, the brilliant self depreciating ‘play’ by Spook Schools Adam Todd called “Disappointment” and Bristol’s finest power-pop trio Personal Best, the audience only got bigger. It felt like a festival, with everyone turning up at the beginning and seeing single every band. The crowd was friendly, full of people who knew each other, giving this odd event Trust Fund had created less the feel of a gig, and more of a village fate, albeit one with a loads of ace bands.

When Trust Fund took to the stage, I almost forget it was them I had come to see. But within seconds of their set, I’d very much remembered. Playing a nice balance from both albums, including “Big Asda”, “January” and “Essay to Write”, Ellis was on top form, his fragile voice a great counterpoint to the brash punk guitars and drums from the rest of the band.

“Ellis was on top form, his fragile voice a great counterpoint to the brash punk guitars”

Halfway the set through the aforementioned raffle was announced with the band playing “Hopelessly Devoted” from the Grease soundtrack in the background, with first prize being a selection of luxury meats (well vegan meats). Then my personal highlight, the Three Lions karaoke, which involved Gareth from Los Campesinos and Molly from DIRTYGIRL belting out the Lightning Seeds. Then just as I was beginning to think my night couldn’t get anymore perfect, Trust Fund played “Football”, followed by “Cut Me Out”. By the end I was dazed.

It takes a special kind of artist to make a gig into something more. Not every band could have carried it off. Luckily though, one of the few that can is Trust Fund.

Check out ‘Football’ right here: