October 22 sees Simple Things return to the streets and venues of Bristol for a jam-packed weekend of great music, from sunrise till sunset. The urban festival is racing through the popularity ranks and it’s the vibrant and eclectic lineup framed in the city’s most well-known and loved venues that have made it a well-established peak of the annual Bristolian music calendar.
Spreading across the city and a range of genres, Simple Things offers a concoction of artists for even the most niche of tastes. The joint venture from Crack Magazine, Colston Hall and Team Love – the chaps behind Pitch-favourite Love Saves The Day – offers spoonfuls of hip hop, psych-rock, techno, DnB, indie and even Congolese rumba. Venues this year include Bristol stalwarts Colston Hall, Bristol O2 Academy, Lakota, The Station and Island, The Small Horse and the Bierkeller.
If that wasn’t enough, the organisers have added a few extras this year. 2016 sees the debut of Simple Things EXT, a full week of cultural or politically-themed shows and talks. At-Bristol’s planetarium hosts three audio-visual shows including a performance by The British Paraorchestra. All the way on the other side of Bristol, Pithay Studios homes Versum, a week long exhibition from Thom Yorke and Nicolas Jaar collaborator, Tarik Barri – an audio-visual composer and computer programmer.
Round table discussions diving into key issues within the contemporary musical landscape, in association with Arts Council England, are also taking place at Watershed for those looking for a more intellectually stimulating experience before ‘aving a mad one at Kano to keep up appearances.
for those looking for a more intellectually stimulating experience before ‘aving a mad one at Kano to keep up appearances
Also new for 2016, instead of their usual opening party, this year organisers have opted to conclude festivities with a Sunday closing party with a very special guest playing for the first time in the UK. The man behind the soundtracks of Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog; film director, composer and master of horror John Carpenter is taking responsibility for the weekend’s finale at the Colston Hall, following the release of his Lost Themes II.Unlike many multi-venue festivals, who – deliberately or not – tend to stick more closely to one particular genre or style of music, the Simple Things lineup is one of the most diverse we’ve seen, genuinely and successfully offering something for everyone. And while it would take too long to go over everyone on the bill, we’ve picked a few of our highlights. But keep in mind that part of the attraction of Simple Things is the sheer amount of new music going around, so make sure to check out the other venues too.
As huge fans of a certain East London MC, Pitch will always recommend a Kano set. Fresh from the release of his new album Made In The Manor, the grime superstar is playing at SWX on Saturday night – sadly he’s only been given a one-hour set, but you can catch us there from start to finish.Top of the bill for DJs at the weekend is Ben UFO – as the founder of Hessle Audio and a 2015 Breakthrough DJ of the Year nominee, you can expect a packed crowd at Lakota. A four-hour set from the world-class selector, starting at 3AM and finishing in the early hours of a no-doubt hazy Sunday morning are all the ingredients you need for an incredible night and a top finisher. Joining him in our top DJ ranks is DnB legend and Bad Company founder, dBridge at The Small Horse, giving us a run through of his extensive vinyl collection with tunes like The Nine and Planet Dust – classics from the late 90s sound.
starting at 3AM and finishing in the early hours of a no-doubt hazy Sunday morning
Something strange is happening in the Colston Hall Foyer… Charlotte Church is making a much-anticipated appearance, but not as the angel-voiced teenager we remember her as, but as the ‘Grand High Executioner’ of Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon. Yeah, you read that right. Playing some of the greatest tunes that time forgot, and quite possibly some that should have been forgotten, Charlotte’s new show has been going down an absolute storm at ATP Festival and Glasto this summer, and we’re not sure what will be waiting for us in the dark depths of Charlotte Church’s dungeon (wink), but we can’t wait to find out.
The stranger sounds of the night come from anti-corporate, experimental hip hop-ers Death Grips and Congolese musician Kanda Bongo Man, famous for the kwassa kwassa dance rhythm born from his innovative take on soukous music.
Death Grips, who threatened a permanent hiatus in 2014 with, ‘we are not at our best and so Death Grips is over’; describe themselves as a conceptual art exhibition anchored by sound and vision. It’s definitely a good thing that they quickly reneged on their promise, so catch them at Colston Hall, sure to be playing a couple of tracks from their excellent recent album Bottomless Pit.As ever, this year’s Simple Things is bringing fascinating artists from around the world to the streets of Bristol. An event not to be missed by any Bristol music lover, so bring your dancing shoes and don’t be late. And please, please don’t just get pissed at home and turn up for the headliners – Simple Things is an experience from start to finish.
Simple Things takes place across Bristol from 2pm-7am on October 22-23. Ticket have sold out. For more information and set times visit simplethingsfestival.co.uk.