Simple Things Festival in Bristol delivers an eclectic cluster of artists to the top venues in the city centre. Showcasing the best underground musicians of the present, the festival brings together a blend of genres for a much anticipated weekend.
For the fifth year running, the 2015 event hosted house, techno, reggae, progressive rock, indie, happy hardcore and grime over a multitude of venues. From the experimental-rock band Battles at Colston Hall to grime legends JME and Skepta at the O2 academy, it was set to be an unmissable music highlight of the year.
Upon my arrival, Bristol was already full of excited music lovers stumbling around the variety of venues. The first act I planned to see was Romare at the unique venue the Old Fire Station. Known for his down-tempo house to frantic footwork, the producer and DJ was awaited by a full and excited crowd after Daniel L Harle in the main room of the station.
Unfortunately for myself and the rest of the crowd, Romare was over half an hour late, which meant his set was disappointedly cut short. Despite this, the room was packed with the audience engaged and dancing throughout the set. However, I couldn’t help but feel gutted at how quickly it was over. This was not an overwhelming start to the festival.
As the evening reached 9 pm, we hurriedly made our way to the O2 Academy, to watch reggae and dub legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. As we entered, the set was already well under way. We fought our way to the front of the crowd to be closer to Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry who was decked in his usual colourful and eccentric attire and accompanied by a full band. Bristol, a city known for pioneering reggae and dub in the U.K brought an expected joyous and appreciative crowd to the O2. Perry put his audience into elation, through his fun and high spirited sounds. The room was bursting with energy and adoration throughout the performance, especially in response to renowned classics such as Disco Devil and Rude Boy.
Finally came the time, for the critically acclaimed headliners Battles. They were the musicians I had been most looking forward to see and they certainly did not fail to live up to expectations. Taking place in the main room at Colston Hall, the three piece were illuminated in a line with drummer John Stanier taking centre stage. Their set was nothing but sensational as the band seemed to be locked into a magical jamming session creating their erratic and quirky rhythms using samples and looping, their impossible sounds filled the room. New tracks from their latest release La Di Da Di were gleefully welcomed by the crowd as well as time-honoured tunes from Mirrored and Gloss Drop.
It had now reached 1pm and I was heading amongst the slightly wobbly festival revellers towards the after-hours venue of Lakota. Usually home to the ravers of Bristol, Lakota and Coroners Court made a suitable host for the contemporary techno to follow.
Amid the sea of red stripes, Bristol’s home-grown techno and dub inspired artist Hodge, filled the smaller top room with a lively crowd and a booming sound system. Hodge was definitely a highlight of the night and if I’m honest, I danced my socks off.
One of the biggest names on the line-up was Japanese-born and Oxford bred Objekt. Also known under the name TJ Hertz, his performance in the main room brought an enthusiastic gathering of techno heads with his innovative techno and dubstep sounds.
Another notable Producer and DJ was Hunee. Straddling techno and disco in Coroners Court, the Berlin resident undoubtedly gave the audience something to dance about.
It was now well past 5am and Simple Things Festival had vigorously shown the music world what Bristol has to offer. After another successful and spectacular year, I was off home to get some well needed rest.
Words: Helen Price
Photography: Lucy Blizco