Bearded’s Guide To… Bristol

Joel Morgan reports.

Posted on Feb 8th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Cloudrunner
Bearded’s Guide To… Bristol Bristol has become a pit-stop for touring acts from all over the globe, and some of the standout performances of recent years have come from female band leaders and solo artists, including Nina Nastasia, St. Vincent, EMA – the list goes on. However, the Southwest hub is also a hotbed of home-grown talent and February sees the release of albums by three Bristol based, female fronted outfits, backed-up of course, by live shows.

Rock In Your Pocket preview their Gutterdub (Artscare) release with a free gig at The Mother’s Ruin on Thursday the 9th. Front-woman Charlie Beddoes’ fervid angst will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, whilst the guitars flatten the ones in your ear holes. Though the carousel of drummers keeps turning, it’s always an ultra-slick three-piece that graces the stage and balances invention and anthemia with aplomb. Support will come from Kraul, and wonderfully named The St. Pierre Snake Invasion.

Big Joan, fronted by Annette Berlin, are a scene staple. They’ve been around for over a decade, but still sound fresh – always bringing something new to the table. As part of the Choke collective they’ve always been a popular band, but new record The Long, Slow Death of Big Joan (Blood Red Sounds) has already enhanced that popularity since its digital release back in November. Watch them fully launch the album at the Louisiana on Friday the 10th, in what will be undoubtedly be a riotous, hyper-rhythmic and innovative performance, more than ably supported by Katapulto, and The Liftmen – featuring a collaborator of Berlin’s, Rasha Shaheen.

Alt-rock comes in all sorts of guises, and is almost disguised completely by the euphoric melody lines of Hysterical Injury vocalist Annie Gardiner. As part of their tour for debut LP Dead Wolf Situation (Crystal Fuzz), they play The Green Park Tavern, Bath (11th) and The Cube, Bristol (17th). The Cube’s cinema seating will provide all the comfort necessary for full absorption into the sonic barrage of bass and drums in perfect synchronicity.

There’s plenty in the way of quality female solo artists on the Bristol scene too. Two performances worthy of a mention come from dark folk songstress Jemima Surrender – who supports Mireille Mathlener at The Croft on the 15th – and folk/jazz artist Leonie Evans at The Canteen on the 20th.

So, with the big-guns still rolling into town, it is important to realise that the Bristol live music scene is built on such shows as listed above. Venues and bands alike, please take a bow.