Simple Things Festival – Bristol, 6/5/2012
May 12, 2012 by Tshepo Mokoena
For a two-year old, Simple Things is probably one of the coolest I know. The Bristol festival was a myriad of snaking queues and mega-hipster revelry in its first year and on this May Bank Holiday weekend it flexed its musical muscle once more. Although the epic queues from last year were less of an issue (made easier, perhaps, by our all-access crew wristbands), some diverse and impressive acts took to the stages over that one long day of live music. Let’s walk you through the best bits.
Checking in at festival hub Start The Bus, we made our way over to Still Corners at the O2 Academy. The dream pop five-piece didnt disappoint, playing a set washed with reverb and delivering singer Tessa Murray’s vocal through a gauzy haze. Given the time constraints and distance betwen venues we stuck around in the area before much-anticipated Grimes hit the main stage. With her synths balanced on a pink ironing board and drowning in the layers of oversized layered t-shirts and a maxi skirt, she launched into her set.
Highlights came from ‘Genesis’, ‘Be A Body’ and of course ‘Oblivion’, whose opening synth bloops the crowd responded to with a roaring cheer. Overall Claire Boucher’s physicality was engaging but her vocal performance teetered on whisperingly weak and the thuds of bass samples became the crutch on which the gig leaned.
Over at Lakota, Redinho played an electro-funk set that felt too early for its given time slot but still had groups bopping and hair-swaying to their best ability. We headed back to the Academy to catch some of Planningtorock‘s genre-bending set and were reminded of Janine Rostron’s musical and performance prowess. As was to be the case throughout the night, the bustling crowd gave her plenty of energy to feed off.
Back at Lakota Lunice treated an increasingly inebriated crowd to a dirty bass set of hip hop and booty rap. Every person we spoke to near the front seemed to have no idea who he was, but the beams on their sweaty faces implied it really didn’t matter: he got people dancing. We joined him onstage for a boogie too, and took in the sight of him bouncing from one point to the next like his own hype man. It was impressive. Factory Floor tore party boat Thekla a new one with their angular and brutal brand of electronica, before it was onto Squarepusher at the Academy.
He left people reeling, with a frantic and explosive set played to an eye-popping visual show. In rare quiet moments we heard the ‘how old do you think he is under that helmet? 40?’ questions ripple through the crowd before all was forgotten as he’d launch into the next song. Finally, we rounded things off with Caribou‘s DJ set at the moist sweat pit also known as Timbuk2. The tiny room was crammed with bodies and pulled off having more atmosphere than most of the venues we checked out throughout the day.
All in all, even though some venues felt half-full and were a bit of a trek from each other, Simple Things pulled off another successful run. We can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for 2013.