LIVE REVIEW: SIMPLE THINGS FESTIVAL
A multi-venue music and arts festival taking place in Bristol from the 17-19th October.
In their own words, Simple Things is an eclectic mix of music in Bristol’s hip, most popular venues: “Once again the programme will be split across day and night, with the daytime programme taking place in some of Bristol's coolest venues, while the nighttime lineup will play out across Lakota and Coroner's Court Complex. Curated by a selection of its leading promoters, the festival has become a beacon for innovation and risk-taking by giving a platform to some of the underground's leading names and those it believes are worthy of your ears”.
MIINK @ Colston Hall
In a delicate, calm manner, during the interlude of
Small Clan, MIINK states:
"If you could wear your heart on your sleeve, would you wear it?
If you could wear your scars where we could see,
would you bear them?
If we could understand your pain and the reasons
why you pray and the feelings you don’t say,
would we hear it?When we look at you, we see us. We see us."
This is exactly what MIINK brings to his audiences.
Watching this somber and seldom soul makes us reach
within. The light airiness of his voice makes his
audience feel as if they are being pulled into a dream
(or possibly a comforting nightmare). His eerily calm
songs, with the addition of oddly distant and familiar
sounds, are dreamy and inspire contemplative
discussion of life, yet they also make us itch with
movement and a need to dance. MIINK’s music
encapsulates emotions from all the differing corners
of our minds.
This beautiful dichotomy of emotions is what makes
MIINK’s music captivating.
In an interview with CRACK magazine, he said, “for me, making music is a very lonely process. I am always alone when I write. It’s all directly from my head so there’s maybe a dream-like quality to it, too. I want to channel the spirit of slaves, so sometimes my lyrics are about tapping into the spirits of my bloodline. I don’t ever want dozens of songwriters on a track or my music would lose its rawness”.
HOLLY HERNDON @ SWX
Apprehensively, I entered SWX for what was supposedly the biggest act of the festival. The set was extremely orchestrated, with multiple costume changes and songs flowed easily from one to the next. As a concept the entire choir orchestrated set was intriguing. But in reality, after an hour of listening to the same repetitive sounds with occasional variations, it became dull.
OTHA @ Rough Trade
POM POKO @ Sportsman
Photography by Cecilia Hviding.
It was as if I was walking through an audience of scarecrows; not a single, slight movement from side to side. Everyone stood like sticks, hands clasped in front of them, like they were at a classical concert.
There seemed to be a group of dressed up artists singing electronic and ambient choir music onstage. Though I really had no idea what I was supposed to be hearing. Was Holly an entire group of people or one person? From the live show, you wouldn’t be able to tell.
The set was extremely orchestrated, with multiple costume changes and songs flowed easily from one to the next. As a concept the entire choir orchestrated set was intriguing. But in reality, after an hour of listening to the same repetitive sounds with occasional variations, it became dull.
Holly’s music would be better listened to lying on your bed, not at a club. Her cross between ambient electronic and choir music is just simply not engaging enough live.
In a constant sway back and forth, Otha is singing the same lines repetitively:
“I’m biting my nails. This life is such a mess. I don’t want to deal with these people anymore. We better clean up this shit, this place is packed with pricks. This place is packed with pricks”
Through this quick, staccato repetition, Otha invites a kind of fun resonance – she is reminding us all of our younger selves at a house party. Because haven’t we all felt a bit ‘Tired and Sick’?
Her music is honest and anxious. The audience were smiling and swaying with her – we are all suddenly together in a big anxious mess of movement. The monotony of Otha’s music is not boring or dull, but rather works excellently to parody the repetition of daily life.
Pure Norwegian Punky Sweetness.
Playing in the tiny pub, the Sportsman, Pom Poko literally made the ground shake. People were jumping, swaying, pushing, grabbing, twirling shirts, taking their shirts off, and falling onto the stage. You would be stunned to have witnessed the audience.
Even though it was nearing the end of the festival’s day activities, the audience was more energised than ever - perhaps this explains the joyous carnage.
Pom Poko never fails to impress me, I am still surprised. They seem to be able to perform on any stage and whip the audience into a crazy frenzy. The last time I saw them live, they played at a free outdoor festival as the rain poured down in the suburbs of Oslo. Both then and now, they put on a spectacular performance.
Made up of four individuals who met at the Trondheim Music Conservatory, they create music that is quite brilliantly described as ‘noisy and sweet, fun and outgoing’. As their addictive and clattering music fills up your brain, the only question left in your mind is, why the name Pom Poko?
And here you go: “The Pom Poko film captures a lot of what we’d like our concerts to be: high energy, fast pace, lots of stimulus for eyes and ears – and most importantly, really crazy and fun. The movie is basically the time of your life for two hours, and afterwards you’re in some state of exhausted ecstasy. Plus the raccoons in the movie, and raccoons in general, are really badass.”