Last Wednesday not only marked the hottest day in June for over 40 years, but also the start of our new and pimped Summer Series, rebranded this year under the name Bristol Sounds.
Located on our beautiful waterfront from Wednesday through to Saturday, each night welcomed a rare Bristol performance from some of the UK’s biggest artists.
Taking the stage on the opening night was Brighton-born DJ and producer Bonobo. With a string of incredible album releases since the turn of the millennium and a huge following of music lovers of all ages, there was no surprise that the event sold out way in advance.
After a scorching day, we couldn’t think of a better location than the open air Lloyd’s Amphitheatre on Harbourside to listen to Simon Green’s uniquely uplifting yet melancholy electronic melodies. From Wapping Wharf to the bottom of Park Street, town was heaving with ticketed and ticketless parties looking to enjoy some wonderful music and vibes – regardless of how close they were to the actual stage. After a couple of cans in the sun outside the Arnolfini, we headed over to Lloyd’s Amphitheatre.
From Wapping Wharf to the bottom of Park Street, town was heaving with ticketed and ticketless parties looking to enjoy some wonderful music and vibes – regardless of how close they were to the actual stage
Supporting Bonobo was Jens Kurross. With a strong background in jazz, Jens take on indie/alternative music actually creates an unusual blend of heart-felt melodies and soulful male vocals that are, dare I say, a bit like Radiohead’s.
As this was a mid-week event, most people arrived slightly late, having probably nipped home to get changed out of their sweaty work clothes, before returning to the city centre. This meant that a lot of people missed Jens, but I’m pretty sure most people paid the ticket price purely to see our main man Simon.
He stepped onto the stage with the most perfect live band set up and almost therapeutic stage visuals. Simon started touring with a live band for his Black Sands album tour back in 2010 and since then his live shows have become infamous around the world.
he didn’t really play anything prior to Black Sands, so die hard fans might have missed one of their old faves
Having releasing his greatly anticipated sixth album Migration this January, Simon is about to embark on a huge world tour and so his set list was far more tailored to promoting his new album, rather than what you might expect from a typical festival appearance, where you’re almost guaranteed a few classics. In fact, he didn’t really play anything prior to Black Sands, so die hard fans might have missed one of their old faves.
That being said, hearing some of his new tunes like Break Apart, Bambro Koyo Ganda and Surface with an extremely talented live band gave me a lot more respect for his newest venture – and the crowd bloody loved it.
hearing some of his new tunes like Break Apart, Bambro Koyo Ganda and Surface with an extremely talented live band gave me a lot more respect for his newest venture
Every so often his band would leave Simon alone on stage, so he could jam out some of his slightly heavier electronic beats, and other times we were joined by their wonderful studio singer Szjerdene Mulcare. Their entire performance was immaculate and the sound around the entire amphitheatre was magnificent. The alluring sounds drifting over the water behind the stage as hordes of ticketless onlookers enjoyed their performance from afar.
As the evening came to an end, we could not stop thinking what a perfect Wednesday evening this had been. As we left through the city centre, it was clear the many shared our enthusiasm, as what felt like hundreds of people danced in the water features and to the Harbourside buskers.
Thank you Bristol Sounds, thank you Bonobo and thank you Bristol for being such an incredible city full of absolute legends! We had a top night.
Words by Jodie Guichard
Photos by Paul Box