It’s easy to take the variety and depth of Bristol gigs and venues for granted, but when news breaks like this week’s possible threat to Thekla, it ought to remind us how musically blessed we are in this glorious metropolis. The concept of Gigs of the Week could easily give rise to a War and Peace-style epic every seven days, but below is a snapshot of the awesome week to come. Support your local venues. Happy listening.
Thursday 9th November
Goldfrapp – O2 Academy
That Goldfrapp’s first album came out seventeen years ago ought to make some of us sigh and reach for the Tena pants. Equally, it should baffle youthful listeners that they’ve been around that long. Furthermore, Goldfrapp are proof that fashion is transient, but style lasts. The truth is, they remain golden, not olden.
Ride + Ulrika Spacek – SWX
Returning after twenty years in the wilderness gives you a lot of hype to live up to, but Oxford’s sultans of shoegaze, Ride have added elements of prog and krautrock to their soundscape in making the acclaimed Weather Diaries in 2017. Throw in some Ulrika Spacek for good measure and you have quite an evening to look forward to.
Alex Lahey – Louisiana
Alex Lahey released her debut album, I Love You Like a Brother last month. It was full of energetic, confessional tracks, like ‘I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself.’ ‘Every Day’s the Weekend’ might be a dangerous ethos to buy into on a work night, but she’s worth the risk.
Waved Albatross – Thunderbolt
The ‘hide and seek in IKEA’ social-media jesters from the local news? Oh, yeah – them! Waved Albatross play their debut headline show at The Thunderbolt this week. If all 18000 people who signed up via t’Internet actually turn up, the intimate 150-capacity venue will need to emulate the TARDIS in its inner dimensions.
Friday 10th November
Gravy Train & Jesuits Present: Virtue – Jesuits + LICE + EBU + Silver Waves – Fiddlers
I’m not sure the band Jesuits are what Ignatius Loyola had in mind when he founded the scholarly Society of Jesus in the 1500s. With squalling guitars and relentless drums, they’re much more My Bloody Valentine than the Sacred Heart. They already have a devoted following. Why not take a leap of faith yourself?
Ardyn – Thekla
Ardyn? For free? On the top deck of Thekla? And there’s another free show next month too? According to their moody, recent single – ‘Life Happens.’ It’s up to you to make it happen this Friday. Get on board.
Mr Tea and the Minions – Old Market Assembly
Anyone with a sensitivity to caffeine will have experienced that wired feeling you get from listening to Mr Tea and the Minions. You might have heard their Balkan, gypsy-inspired party tunes at Glastonbury already. Let them bring back the festival feeling this Friday.
Jamz Supernova’s Future Bounce Presents: Jarreau Vandal + Wize + Snøw + Ted Jasper + Beth Sheldrick – Love Inn
1Xtra’s Jamz Supernova brings Future Bounce to Bristol on its UK tour. With a mixture of local and national acts, its aim is to support the local scene while exposing intimate audiences to larger acts. Expect a rowdy night and tunes at 130bpm. A must for those in need of personal remixing.
Saturday 11th November
Kayla Painter – Salt Café
Painter by name, creator of powerful images by nature. She’s not only a compelling visual artist, but she composes rich sonic worlds with compelling beats, that reflect her time as a bass player in previous bands. Will she be wearing the zorb from the video to ‘Revert’? Hope so.
Goat Girl – Crofters Rights
As an animal, the humble goat isn’t known for its restraint. Just as 90s firebrand, Bill Hicks used Goat Boy as a shameless alter ego, Goat Girl will push your boundaries and won’t care if you bleat. If tracks like ‘Country Sleaze’ and ‘Scum’ don’t give you a scuzz buzz, I can’t think what will.
John E Vistic Rock N Roll Soundsystem – Leftbank
A soundsystem can technically play anything, but Bristol’s own John E Vistic’s soundsystem plays rock n roll. Really high-quality, no messing about, rock n roll. Expect the full range of tunes, from heart-melting to face-melting.
Chelou – Hy-Brasil
With recent tracks named ‘Halfway to Nowhere’ and ‘Damned Eye See,’ you’ll detect a strain of existential doubt in Chelou’s work. The name itself means ‘louche’ in French slang, but there’s nothing dubious about his guitar lines, mixed with ambient electronica. And that haunting voice…
Sunday 12th November
Matt Maltese – Louisiana
We’ve all got a mate who’s cheesed off, knows why and wants you to know about it. Matt Maltese is that guy. It’s a good job he’s got plenty of incisive things to say about the current global mess. Like the love child of Father John Misty and Nick Cave (Yes, I did fail Biology), he’ll at least give you an honest commentary, ‘As the World Caves In.’
Tank and the Bangas – Trinity
Formed from a meeting at an open mic club in New Orleans in 2011, Tank and the Bangas honed their funk/soul/hip-hop bounce to a point where they won NPR’s prestigious Tiny Desk Competition this year. Expect things to go with a bang at the Trinity Centre, and not a hint of tanking.
Monday 13th November
Ady Suleiman – Lantern
Gilles Peterson selected singer-songwriter Ady Suleiman as his Breakthrough Act of the Year at the Worldwide Awards in 2013. Melding blues, jazz, hip-hop and RnB, his songs are as timeless as they are fresh.
Tuesday 14th November
Mahalia – SWX
Signing a deal with a major label at thirteen sounds like selling your soul, but Mahalia has taken her time to find her sound. Debut single ‘Sober’ this year was a pissed-text-themed R&B anthem that showed us all her crisp voice and songwriting acumen.
Ghostpoet – Marble Factory
This month’s BLM cover star, Ghostpoet has four albums, two Mercury nominations and one tidy way with words. On one of his earliest releases ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’, he says, “Reading books and takin tests won’t take away the pain in [my] chest.” True dat, but listening to Ghostpoet on a school night will.
Wednesday 15th November
Badbadnotgood – Motion
Bestowed with the honour of Radio 6Music’s album of the year for 2016, this Canadian jazz/hip-hop collective combine beats with the off-beat in a manner that takes the experimental into the mainstream. This can only be touted as goodgoodnotbad.
Ducking Punches + We Bless This Mess – Exchange
On their track, ‘Greedy Bones’, this Norwich quintet claim, “I guess we’re always reaching out for better things.” If self-improvement is your thing, you could do worse than to check out their brand of folk-punk, supported by Portuguese vocalist, lyrical philosopher and guitarist Nelson Graf Reis, aka We Bless This Mess.
Kane Strang – Grain Barge
Kane Strang’s first album, Blue Cheese, was so accomplished that it was hard to believe it was made in his bedroom. His 2017 album, So You’re Off I See, took him into the studio for further sonic splendour. Touring outside New Zealand for the first time this year, catch him at a small venue while you still can.
You can link to our news piece on the threatened closure to Thekla here.
You want more? We’ve got more. Check out our full listings here.