20th & 21st January | Arnolfini

Bristol’s most anticipated music event of January is about to take place; Howling Owl Records fourth instalment of New Year New Noise at the Arnolfini. January is a pretty dull month but Howling Owl delivered a fantastic line-up with performances from Klein, Agatha, Girl Band, Silver Waves, ASDA and LICE.

Bristol four-piece LICE opened Saturday’s set and pushed the bar high for the rest of the evening,  the DIY band were a last minute replacement for Yama Warashi. These guys are no strangers to Howling Owl having recently played at the label’s fifth birthday boat party. Their sound is a combination of progressive rock and acoustic which worked extremely well in the auditorium of the Arnolfini. An exciting Bristol act to watch in 2017 and a great last minute addition to the line-up.

The second act of the night ASDA were captivating to say the least, but maybe not in a positive way. Two middle aged men one as the topless DJ and the other shouting into a mic, it might work for Sleaford Mods but personally it did not for these guys and judging by the amount of people heading to the bar I would say I wasn’t the only one. But hey, at least they captured the ‘noise’ part…

Using an art gallery as the host to this event really mirrored the community aspect that Howling Owl achieve, it was a friendly and sociable atmosphere that inevitably, during the interval there was a wait on the bar. Massive shout out to the bar team who handled the busy evening with smiley faces and a chilled out attitude – it made the whole night an even more of a rewarding experience.  

The next act on stage was probably my favourite of the evening; Johnsmith. It was the most mesmerizing performance of the night and it was completely unique to anything else the event offered. Gracing the stage in a business suit then instantly beginning to strip off his clothes, the apparent male on the stage was soon revealed as a female! She had the whole audience focused on her as she danced around the room miming to Madonna; her props included razors, gaffa taping plastic bags and an inflatable – it was utterly mad, but the good kind of mad.

Silver Waves was up next to much anticipation. Producer Dylan Mallet shutdown the auditorium with this masterful and often at times harsh electronic sequences. But one thing was for certain, the energy from Mallet was stupendous, throwing everything into his set from equipment to vocals. The rapturous applause at the end was fully deserved.

Drawing the live music to a close were Irish favourites Girl Band who headlined the event and who I was particularly excited to watch, and I wasn’t the only one considering the size of the anticipated crowd. Instant chaos as soon as the band kick off their set, I quickly dash upstairs to watch from the seats, call me boring but I kind of fancied keeping my drink in my glass.

A crowd pleaser was definitely ‘Fucking Butter’ the combination of the crowd shouting the lyrics and the heavy riffs of the guitar, all in all it was pretty damn mental – despite their dominant stage presence their demeanour between songs was very pleasant and polite.

To bring the night to a close there were DJ sets in the cafe bar from Giant Swan and Yeboah. Everyone was in high spirits and safe to say the event was yet another success from the Bristol label. It wasn’t all over for the weekend as panel discussions took place on the Sunday featuring the likes of Noods Radio and BBC Introducing in the West – chatting about the new wave of internet stations changing the way artists react with radio.

Check out highlights from the weekend’s event here. Video shot by James Hankins.