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Music: AW18 gig picks & endangered venues

Since 2012, four of our precious venues have had to close their doors while a further three consider themselves in serious danger. One such endangered venue is The Exchange, whose team – instead of allowing themselves to muddle through and hope for the best – have decided radical action and innovation is necessary. They have recently set up a campaign to become the first venue owned by the people of Bristol, for the people of Bristol, by undertaking a community share issue. Anyone can buy a share with the minimum amount set at £250 and the maximum £2,500 for an individual and £100,000 for an organisation where every share owner has an equal weighting regardless of the amount invested. They’re aiming to raise £300,000 to refurbish the venue to increase revenue and secure a sustainable future. These venues are the lifeblood of Bristol musical scene – necessary for the entire ecosystem to survive – and they need our support. If £250 is a bit too steep and you’re wondering how else to help conserve these endangered species the answer is simple; just go to gigs! Check out the wealth of artists performing in our city from every genre imaginable – there will always be something to tempt you.

And if you need help ferreting out those unmissable nights check out music reporter Syd Bird’s handy guide to upcoming gigs, right here…

Goat Girl – Thekla – 30/10/18

South London’s Goat Girl bring their self-titled debut album to Bristol’s famous boat – which continues to rock this month. Combining cutting social commentary with drawling, self-aware punk, country and goth, their laconic and louche record is mesmerising. One definitely not to miss although unfortunately it has already sold out so hopefully you’ve got your paws on some of these prize tickets.

Bugzy Malone – 02 Academy – 02/11/18 (£20.20)

One of the country’s most exciting grime artists bringing the genre to the mainstream, and at the beginning of November, to Bristol too. Some say grime is the new rock and roll… and there are some striking similarities in the raw energy, expression of disenfranchisement and deeply political themes that feel powerful and fresh in a way rock once did. The first Mancunian grime artist to make commercial success, Malone’s lyrical prowess and ability to capture cultural snapshots and the effects of poverty is staggering; reminiscent of fellow northern lyricist Jarvis Cocker, but without any of the optimism of the Nineties. He even quotes fellow Mancunians Oasis in one of his tracks – there’s a nod of the head to rock without any repetition – just innovation.

Kurt Vile and the Violators – Anson Rooms 08/11/18 (£22)

Vile and the Violators (not all puns are created equal…) are back in Bristol early November playing at the historic Anson Rooms, a stage that has been previously graced by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Radiohead and the one and only David Bowie. Touring his eighth studio album Bottle It In this voracious songwriter will be filling the Rooms with his mix of soothing and drifting Americana rock on 8 November.

Mattiel – The Fleece – 19/11/18 (£13)

Fresh off the back of her powerful eponymous debut, Atlanta’s rising star Mattiel is in full world-conquering tour mode and stopping off in Brizzle. Her producer Jonah Swilley describes her auditory aesthetic as “a fresh mesh of retro and contemporary” clearly influenced by the ’60s folk and pop that she revelled in as an adolescent with the energy and vision of something entirely new – she’d sound very at home on a Tarantino soundtrack. To catch this intriguing and exciting artist head to The Fleece on 19 November.

Nadine Shah – SWX – 03/12/18 (£16.50)

Nadine Shah brings us her political post-punk masterpiece Holiday Destinations. Her Mercury Prize-nominated third album explores identity and heritage alongside the terrifying rise of nationalism globally. Inspired by witnessing the xenophobia of holidaymakers in the Isle of Kos, Shah examines the treatment of refugees and attacks anti-immigration sentiment. In the searing Out The Way Shah, of Norwegian and Pakistani heritage, dissects racist rhetoric, asking; “Where would you have me go? I’m second generation don’t you know.”

A powerful and important voice – well worth a listen.

Miles Kane – 02 Academy – 03/12/18 (£25.85)

And so, we come to what very well may be one of the hardest decisions to make…at least in regards to how you want to spend this Monday evening in early December, that is. Miles Kane or Nadine Shah? We’ve hit upon the all-too-frequent, cruel double booking! Bristol is such a vibrant city that no matter what day of the week it is there is always a veritable feast of music to choose from and hard decisions to be made…

Young Fathers – O2 Academy – 05/12/18 (£23)

The Mercury Prize-winners are rolling back into Bristol this December. They’re pretty much honorary Bristolians now after their collaborations with Massive Attack and heroic performance with them at the first Downs Festival in, quite frankly, biblical conditions. This time they’re showcasing their third album Cocoa Sugar – a twisting, energetic and experimental record and definitely one to be checked out live.

Main image by Annabel Fitzsimons of The Exchange