Hello, dear TAPE readers. Apologies for the low frequency of posts going on here at the moment, but rest assured we're busy preparing for our first big party at Native this Friday for Axel Bartsch. It promises to be a good one, and if you're in the mood for party-hopping, then Stephan Bodzin is playing our dear friends' Cuisine night next door. A veritable electronic treat if you're down in Bristol this weekend!
Anyway, I've got to tell you about one of the best independent music festivals around that takes place in our fair city - the wondrous Venn Festival, which takes place this year from May 31st to the 3rd of June. It all started back in 2003 when the local heads came together and decided to offer up a veritable treat of cultural goodies for us Bristolians. It's always taken place at various venues around the city (The Cube being the epicentre of activity), and this year will be focused around the aforementioned Cube (a lovely little cinema with a quality selection of Cider and Polish beer), Arnolfini (a beautiful harbourside arts centre), The Tube (which used to be Massive Attack's private members only club), Thekla (is it a boat or is it a club?), and Clockwork (Bristol's newly refurbished and Funktion One'd mega-venue) amongst a few other places.
Our very own Mr Soft wrote a review of last year's Venn for FACT Magazine here, so check that out for a vague idea of what to expect. This year's going to be bigger and better, so you'd better be ready for those expectations to be smashed as you pogo happily round Bristol in the inevitably blazing sun. The line-up's looking better than ever as well, with countless acts playing through the four days (Thursday to Sunday), and well... me and Puffin Jack are on the bill so that's reason enough to come, surely?!
Joking aside, there are some extremely hot electronic bookings this year. Friday sees Sasu Ripatti play two sets, one earlier in the day as Vladislav Delay (this one's at the Arnolfini), and the other in his Luomo guise. The latter will be at the Tube alongside the Normalise DJs (including, of course, our very own Puffin Jack), who I'm sure you've heard us mention before on these pages. The programme tells us to 'imagine the heady aroma of abandonment, no way home, and an overwhelming urge to get down', and I'm not one to argue with that! On the same day we're hosting Bill Brewster down at the Arc Bar for Mutant Pop, so you're pretty much spoiled for choice! As if that wasn't enough, krautrock legends Faust will be performing a rare live set (alongside Nurse With Wound's key collaborator, Colin Potter) at the Arnolfini from 7pm onwards, so make sure you don't miss out on that. Faust or Vladislay Delay... now that's certainly a bit of a quandry!
Saturday's the busiest day of the festival, and has acts jam packed through six of the city's venues. There's all sorts of weird and wonderful live acts throughout the day, but its the evening's proceedings that I'm most excited about. First off its drum'n'bass/synth pop/guitar noise duo Spring Heel Jack at the Arnolfini, who are collaborating with Spiritualized's Jason Pierce for this special performance, and then its off the Clockwork for a seriously sickening line-up. Lo-fi electronicists Bronnt Industries Kapital (who have apparently now taken a direction that 'marries thundering krautrock epiphanies to the disco-funk of the catacombs'!) start things off at 10pm upstairs (unfortunately the same time as Spring Heel Jack) which I'm sure will be fantastic, and then it's all about the downstairs from then til the end. Wonky house merchant Safety Scissors kicks things off with a DJ set (his live performance takes place on the Friday on the Thekla), and then its down to local boys Vexkiddy (who I'm still yet to hear) to keep things going with their brand of 'Victorian time travel acid house' (their words!). Should be interesting, if anything!
The performance that I'm most excited about all weekend is the DJ set from Dial records head honcho Lawrence, who'll be blissing us all out with his lush techno tones and textures. If you see someone gurning with their eyes closed and their hands in the air, that'll probably be me. Tom Ellis and Leif (who've released on labels like Moon Harbour and Morris Audio Citysport) close proceedings with their live Trimsound project, which throws together elements of live bass, DJing, and loop sequencing to create an organic techno show that'll get you deep into the freak zone. Also, Monkey Steak (check his track on Peverelist's Punch Drunk records - the Pinch remix is especially good) and that chump Richard Carnage will be DJing between the acts downstairs - I'm sure that seals the deal for you!
I've skated through most of the stuff that I'm going to endeavour to check out, but the great thing about Venn is that you can wonder round finding out about so many great acts that you wouldn't have heard about otherwise. Check the timetable and artist info pages on the Venn Festival site for more info. The guys organising it have really gone all out this year, and they deserve your attendance!
Here are some links so you can check things out for yourself:
In the meantime, have a good weekend, and we'll see all you Mutant Poppers on Friday!