Best Bristol gigs 2011

28 12 2011

1) Laura Marling, Bristol Cathedral. October 26.
Still only 21 years of age but with songs and a voice that bely her youth, Marling is a true star and in these awesome surroundings, her star was truly able to shine. The poor sightlines in the cathedral and bottom-crampingly uncomfortable seats could be forgiven, for this was without doubt one of the very best and most special gigs Bristol has seen for a very long time.

2) Anna Calvi, Trinity. October 31.
The Mercury-nominated singer songwriter played the Trinity as a parade of ghouls and ghosts staggered around Bristol on the night of Halloween. Guitar solos and haunting vocals were her speciality, all the while as she stood rigid, stage left, with her red flamenco-style ruffled shirt, slicked back blonde hair and bright red lipstick.

3) Janelle Monae, Academy. February 24.
Confetti canon explosions, a dancing brass section, capes, hoods, fake noses, balloons, tuxedos, more glitter. Janelle Monáe’s album The ArchAndroid from last year was incredible enough, but nothing prepared you for such an astonishingly vitalic show, with so much happening on stage that it was often difficult to know where to look.

4) Kid Carpet, Cube. July 9.
Not a typical gig for me, but then becoming a father in February means that this year has not been typical for me either. This was my daughter Mersina’s first ever gig and it was brilliant. From the opening salvo of g-g-g-gorilla, Kid Carpet had both children and parents enthralled, helped by his trademark plastic instruments and videos.

5) Unthanks, Arnolfini. March 22.
This was a treat at a venue not known for live music. Rachel and Becky Unthank smiled and whispered to each other on a stage, singing in a lilting north east accent with gorgeous harmonies. This was bewitching concert from an immensely likeable band in a venue that it would be great to see host more live music.


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