IDLES Review + Photoset - SWX 7

Tap The Feed’s Gigs Of The Year 2018

IDLES Review + Photoset - SWX 7

Tap The Feed’s Gigs Of The Year 2018

Photo: Phil Watson

We’ve reached the final part of our end of year lists and the best out of the lot – gigs of the year! As our good friends over at Sync Music Blog say, “we’re full to the rafters with gigs reviews” and 2018 has been no different, making this list incredibly hard to narrow down. However, we’ve got there in the end and have collated our top favourite 20 gigs over the last 12 months. Check them out and relive the action once more below.

20. Alvvays – Trinity Centre

“The band take to the stage at the prompt time of 9pm and waste no time kicking things off with the spritely ‘Hey’, from last year’s Antisocialites album. Aided (at least, partially) by continuous projected images, the band admit mid-set that the white backdrop they ordered arrived far too small and moth-bitten to be used for its decided purpose. Instead, the colourful images project onto a black backdrop and singer Molly Rankin’s oversized white sweatshirt, giving the stage an endearingly DIY aesthetic that the band would likely be comfortable in anyway.”

19. Tungz ‘Window Love’ Single Launch – The Canteen

“Then came the pinnacle of the night, a stunning rendition of their latest single ‘Window Love’. A sweet ode demonstrating their ability to write delicate lyrics such as ‘I let these feelings out / when I choose / that I want to’. An all encompassing synth masterpiece, ‘Window Love’ is a touching tune with flourishing outro which was the highlight of the night. A lyrical exchange between Nicky and Jamie followed by a drum fill, the finale being the word ‘life’ being cast into the stratosphere with all four joining in unison. It felt like I’d seen daylight for the very first time.”

18. The Naked and Famous – Trinity Centre

“Morphed from template of early Kate Bush, with a dash of Karen O, main vocalist Alisa Xayalith, shimmered in a kimono-esque crimson dress and a voice that would still Usain Bolt during one of his dashes. Tonight however was about the songs; no drums, just couple of guitars and a pair of synths. Alisa’s trusty foil Thom, all monochrome and one liners, brought out soundscapes from songs such as ‘Punching in a Dream’ and ‘ Young Blood’, that on record are buried deep. His playing throughout (bar a tuning moment) was a masterclass of finesse and style, oft recalling a restrained Edge.”

17. Leon Bridges – O2 Academy Brixton

“Next, the incredibly dressed Leon Bridges stepped on stage. Greeted with an enormous applause and loud cheers, the night began with ‘If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)’. Being one of his more up tempo songs, it certainly was the perfect choice to open a show, even those less familiar with his music were able to sing along to the chorus. Next was one of Bridges’ more iconic tunes ‘Bad Bad News’. Accompanied by some great dance moves surrounded by a simple production, Bridges proved he knows how to own a stage with nothing more than an incredible voice, great songs and powerful stage presence.”

16. Waxahatchee – The Fleece

“Katie announced that this was their final song and entered into acoustic ditty ‘Under A Rock’ – full frontal power, reminiscent of The Corrs meet Courtney Barnett plus some more punk. Naturally this wasn’t their last song as the audience were shouting for an encore and refused to leave unless the people got what they wanted. The silky smooth ‘Swan Dive’ was breathtaking, it was solely Katie on stage with her acoustic, another exquisite example of her observational style of songwriting that clings on, long after the show has ended.”

15. The Malago Ballroom EP Launch – Hydra Bookshop

“A valiant effort at reproducing the EP’s uplifting instrumental interlude leads into probably their biggest anthem of the night, ‘Too Tired to Sleep’, with a huge chorus that I’m definitely going to be singing for days. The penultimate track on the EP, ‘Minds Like Oceans’, is a stunning gradual build through a gorgeously textured loop of ethereal guitar lines – and kudos go to Dave for soldiering on through some undeniably high vocal parts with an obviously sore throat. ‘Together’, the beautifully floaty final track from the EP leaves us all wanting more, and the band deliver with a lively unreleased number ‘Pure Joy’, which does everything it says on the tin, not least thanks to the bonus shaky egg accompaniment.”

14. Car Seat Headrest – SWX

“Many indie singers have transcended their humble, nervous origins to become fully-blown showmen (Alex Turner, Elias Bender-Ronnenfelt), but Toledo’s own brand of personal discomfort is what makes his brutally-honest music so appealing, and perhaps the longevity and credibility of his career hangs on this purity. This does not, however, have any impact on his voice, which is as deep and dynamic live as it is on record (a friend of mine noted how Toledo is like a mix of Joey Ramone and Jarvis Cocker, which is fairly accurate).”

13. Spectres – Rough Trade Bristol

“Spectres announce their presence immediately with ‘Neck’, a beautifully discordant tune from the album Condition. As the feedback subsides, guitar drenched in reverb introduces ‘Sink’, a more post rock sounding track from their debut album Dying. By this time, the audience have well and truly drowned in epic amounts of feedback and white noise bleeding from the guitar amps. ‘Dissolve’ has a more plodding feel to it, but doesn’t shy away from gut-punching everyone in the room with raw noise. Below this noise though, the meat of the songs – stomping, marching drums and repetitive, yet firm bass lines – continually thrust the music forward, which creates an atmosphere of perpetual motion, seemingly unable to stop.”

12. MØ – O2 Academy Bristol

“Accompanied by her band on sound duties, MØ is free to take reins as she explodes into action. Songs ‘Kamikaze’ and ‘Linking With You’ immediate get the party going; the audience singing every word and MØ soaking in all the affection. Classics from the first album ‘Slow Love’, ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Glass’ remind us of why MØ has become such a treasure, even more so when she performs ‘Waste Of Time’ and latest single ‘Nostalgia’ – pushing her unique pop sensibilities into the realms of mainstream.”

11. Lazy Day – 60 Million Postcards

“After a short break of beach-hut exploring and pint pouring, it’s time for the main event.
Headlining ladies’ night and slipping straight into the tender melodies of emotively worded
‘Disappear’, Lazy Day are tight, bright and dreamy. The London locals pump non-stop energy
into the room – causing bodies to sway, heads to bob and before they know it the crowd are
singing along. Frontwoman Tilly Scantlebury styles an orange top to match the vibrant guitar
while her moody vocal tones rest beautifully upon the floating riffs.”

10. Sœur – The Louisiana

“The three to thank for tonight’s show are guitarists/vocalists Anya Pulver & Christina Maynard and former Maybeshewill drummer James Collins. They are obviously popular around Bristol and have had a hugely successful 2017. Seeing them perform live, it’s easy to see why; they’re catchy, punchy, dirty and tighter than anything you’ve ever heard (finish this metaphor) before. But the one thing that elevates them above similar bands is the rare ability to craft good, short, hard rock songs; You can tell there is a wealth of experience behind the songwriting, as structural elements are mature and well thought out. On top of this, Pulver & Maynard captivate you with their independent attitude and weaving vocal harmonies which are just heavenly.”

9. Parquet Courts – SWX

“Tonight’s set leans heavily from this year’s Danger Mouse-produced Wide Awake!, with nine songs that fit seamlessly into the group’s back catalogue, and are received as enthusiastically as the old favourites. Kicking off with the uptempo political punk of ‘Total Football’, the set is interspersed with choice cuts from the band’s previous records, with the triple-attack of Light Up Gold’s ‘Master of My Craft’, ‘Borrowed Time’ and ‘Donuts Only ‘receiving the biggest cheer from the crowd.”

8. Harvey Causon – The Louisiana

“Keeping us in awe before Harvey Causon got on stage, everyone was more than pumped to welcome Bristol’s music hero. Causon and co didn’t hesitate as they immediately launched into their genre-bending soundscapes. Performing songs from EP Murphy’s Hand and then some; the band showcased the full works to date in addition to new material. ‘Branches’, ‘Dose’ and ‘Murphy’s Hand’ all dazzled as Causon and Gifford shifted from guitar strings to sampler waves which flowed effortlessly whilst Toon’s drumming held everything together. This was a group with chemistry and everything just worked for them. The audience was no doubt lively and in good spirits as we celebrated together with Harvey Causon.”

7. Fenne Lily – Thekla 

“Tonight was her homecoming and the final date of her UK tour, with Fenne saying “I’ve been waiting for this bit of the tour since before the tour”. Second tune ‘Car Park’ had an illustrious dream-like riff, with Fenne’s observational and often relatable lyrics truly shining through in lines such as ‘but I’ve done a lot/to prove to those I love that they are good enough’. Fenne said that the inspiration behind the song came from “a boy I met who took me on holiday to a car park”. Her quick wit and charm had us all in stitches, with some audience members even heckling humorous responses. Some gigs can often feel intimidating and static, Fenne, however, has the ability to woo the entire room and break this barrier with her lighthearted and down to earth mannerisms making everyone feel welcome.”

6. Ho99o9 – Exchange

“As the Exchange’s lights dim and a deep bass rumbles, the majority of the crowd pour into the mosh pit area, like water into a glass. The immediate blow of thrashing punk drums, sampled guitars, ominous sub-bass and delay-drenched, aggressive vocals in ‘Street Power’ ignite a violent pit of flailing arms, banging heads and impatient crowd surfers within mere seconds. Due to a few technical difficulties experienced early on, the paused lighting allowed us to glimpse the majestically horrifying outfits (or lack of) that the band members were donning, while simultaneously covered in fake blood and white war paint. So when the music got started again, and lights flashed violent blood-red, it was even more thrilling.”

5. New Year New Noise 5 – The Brunswick Club

“Headlining back in 2014, Bristol’s pivoting act of noise Giant Swan headline the final instalment and what follows next is quite something. Surrounded by connecting pedals and various equipment, the duo hold nothing back as they produce cascading, raucous noise at maximum intensity. An alien-like techno storm propelling wave after wave of noise with everyone feeling and moving as one unit. A sweaty affair throughout the hour-long set.”

4. Elder Island – Thekla

“The boosting stage lights filled with colour and haze complement the pulsating aesthetics on show as everyone sways into the final moments of the set. The band feel the love from the sold-out crowd as Katy, Luke and David truly come together as one. Anticipating an encore, the band remain on stage and finish the set strong with synth-towering ‘Welcome State’ and ‘The Big Unknown’ from their first EP, which holds a special place in many people hearts.”

3. Mitski – Trinity Centre

“‘Washing Machine Heart’ began with a spacey intro, Mitski’s stage presence was nothing shy from a performance art piece. Her movement ebbed and flowed as if encapsulating the song in dance, varied from static arm gestures to pacing the stage back and forth. In this case she opted for some yoga-like poses, the song ended with her covering her eyes. She was mysterious that’s for sure.”


“Singer Joe Talbot remarked that it was weird to be back but that it was also the best feeling in the world. He was largely responsible, due in part to his interjections about the messages behind the songs, for the well meaning atmosphere within the crowd. Punk gigs can often bring out the nihilist in many people creating a war of elbows and toe crushing. IDLES however seem to be becoming the De La Soul of post punk in the way the protest fuelled music cultivates a love filled unity into the organised anarchy which even overflowed into SWX’s flanking mini platforms usually reserved for those who solely nod their heads at gigs.”

1. Young Fathers – Trinity Centre

“From ‘Queen Is Dead’, ‘Rain Or Shine’ and ‘Holy Ghost’ to ‘Dare Me’, ‘In My View’ and ‘Get Up’; we’re struck by sermon-esque freestyles that are twisted, violated and sharp. ‘Get Up’ in particular ignites the chaotic affair as everyone sings and swings around manically to the chart-topping anthem. Everything moving as one as the trio’s coordination remains on point. The crowd soak it all in, no one pulling their phones out but instead appreciating the raging beasts that are in front of them.”