Getting Close and Intimate: Bristol’s Music Scene
One of my current favourite music venues in Bristol is Mr Wolf’s on St Nicholas Street, where I’ve discovered some amazing, independent artists. You even get the chance to shake theirhand after their set and buy them a pint – because what’s cooler than that…
What I love about Bristol is that there’s so many venues where the stage is set up in either a bar or club so that you’re basically face to face with the musicians; no barriers and no bodyguards. Just you and the music. The sensation of a live band being that close is amazing – it’s creates a real intimacy and love for the band you’re watching. It also creates a wonderful sense of community with others around you, bringing likeminded people together through the love of supporting independent music.
First to be on stage that night was a duo band called Leisure Tank, who describe themselves as ‘raw, minimalistic, analogue rock with unpredictable song structures and heavy, danceable grooves’. They compare themselves to PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi and Leslie Feist - PJ Harvey being one my biggest music inspirations growing up! The singer/songwriter, guitarist K.C. and Budi on drums, moved from Berlin, Germany in order to form the rock band and pursue their career in music. She approached the stage with this gorgeous bright red rock n’ roll guitar, contrasting with her elegant, floral dress; with her hair in a tight blonde bun. There was something untimely yet exciting in her appearance – refreshing to see in a modern-day artist.
There was a moment just before Leisure Tank had taken the stage, I had drunkenly turned around from the bar and bumped and spilt my drink into this man, to which I quickly apologised and smiled. Moments later, when I found my spot in the crowd and look amongst the band, I realised the man I had bumped into was the drummer of the band – typical me. Their sounds were soothing and ambient, enticing you with their deep lyrics and her seductive voice.
The main act to perform was Psychadelephant, a psychedelic and Heavy Soul four-piece funk band. A laid back, bohemian tribe of artists who were bursting with energy as they approached the stage with beer in their hands. I still don’t understand how artists can drink and sing, my talking voice sounds disgusting when I’ve had a drink, let alone singing... Lead singer, Grace, began by taking her shoes off, and then opened up the set with this beautiful, deep voice that we weren’t expecting. It was effortless yet fun - you could really feel the funk and soul, especially when they finished their set with a cover of Deeper by Jamiroquai. They absolutely smashed it - they had the whole venue dancing!
After some artist research, I found out that Psychadelephant had planned to perform at an Extinction Rebellion in London, which then sadly got cancelled due to the police confiscating all the equipment and then closing the Marble Arch stage, but as they said “ it’s an important reminder that this is not a festival this is a rebellion and unfortunately that means anything can change at any time.”
A few weeks earlier over Easter, me and my friends popped in Mr Wolf’s on a night out and discovered girl band Boulevard Soul, Bristol based Soul, Funk, & Pop Function band. Lead by the leading female singers, they sang an array of pop and old-time classic covers; absolutely killing the venue. It was one of the best nights out I’ve had, where I was practically dancing on the stage (you can see the video of us on their FB page) - combining artist and audience.
I love intimate, live gigs, more than I love clubbing or going to any stadium show. It’s probably an age thing, where as you get older, you prefer tamer and more personal things as pleasures. I’m very grateful to be able to see bands like these, especially as getting into the venue was completely free and open until 4:00am. Similar venues to Mr Wolf’s in Bristol are: Hy-Brasil, The Fleece, Thekla and The Old Juke - where they combine the best live music and casual night culture.
Always remember to support upcoming bands on social media. You can follow the artists at: https://www.facebook.com/psychadelephant/, https://www.facebook.com/boulevardsoulbristol/ and https://www.instagram.com/leisuretank/.
Follow Mr Wolf’s Bristol for upcoming band dates: https://www.facebook.com/MrWolfs/.