Simple Things 2015
Now entering its fifth year, multi-venue festival Simple Things returns to the West Country for a weekend of cutting-edge live and electronic music spread across ten stages in Bristol. From the elegant heights of Colston Hall to Stokes Croft nightclub Lakota’s murky depths, there’s a fitting venue for every act on, what is, a titillating roster of leftfield bands and underground DJs. Prepare for a spectacular 24 hours of music.
As anyone who attended his bizarre production at the ICA last year can confirm, Dean Blunt is something of a charlatan when it comes to performing. Aside from playing Kevin Hart DVDs to a dark room of baffled onlookers, Blunt’s unconventional performance art has seen him engulfing crowds in smoke machine-fuelled fog during compelling recitals from his melancholic “dub opera”. Plucking traits from across jazz, krautrock, indie and R&B to form his own satirical strain of lo-fi art-pop, Inga Copeland’s former Hype Williams-cohort is expected to deliver a show as enigmatic as his recent Black Metal LP, and will undoubtedly be a talking-point of the festival.
If chaotic crowds and headline acts aren’t on your agenda, there’s low-key musical mastery to be found via R&S-signing Matt Cutler. While the Nottingham-born beat-maker might not have caught the attention of mega-buck club promoters, Cutler’s homegrown blend of glittering house and weighty hip-hop has caught the attention of UK bass stalwarts Kode9 and Rustie, as well as Werkdiscs-boss Actress. Judging by the recent reissue of his 2008 debut, there’ll be forgotten treasures pulled out of the bag for the lucky few to witness, as well as newer cuts from the ethereal, synth-laden Reality Testing. Fans of Fly-Lo, Boards and Dilla: you’re in for a real treat.
Whilst heartfelt gestures may not scream “rock’n’roll”, Massachusetts indie-rockers Speedy Ortiz’s recent anti-harassment hotline has scored them serious brownie points from their gig-goers, enabling fans to witness their cacophonous shows in a safe, non-discriminatory space. Offering rugged riffs, razor-sharp lyricism and guitar-solos galore from ex-Grass Is Green guitarist Devin McKnight, Sadie Dupuis and the gang’s live sets are never anything less than thrilling. Head to the front to hear the grittiest cuts from this year's excellent long-player, plus material from 2013's acclaimed debut Major Arcana.