Friday July 21 saw The Outlook Orchestra take Bristol through a nostalgia-soaked trip through the history of soundsystem music – plus some newer faces from the scene – for Colston Hall’s 150th anniversary. The Lloyd’s Amphitheatre hosted the 20-piece orchestra to celebrate the soundsystem culture that was cultivated through these years and brought along an absolutely insane lineup of artists with them. A great follow-up to 2015’s hugely successful orchestral event from Goldie and the Heritage Orchestra in the same location.
Kicking things off with Roots Manuva, the Bristol crowd took a bit of warming up. The rain held off but a lacklustre performance meant that stand out track Witness The Fitness was relied upon to get things really moving. Alongside his hype-man, Roots Manuva’s set felt a tad underwhelming – it was almost drowned out from the chatter from the crowd.
But it was the collaboration between some of the UK’s most well-known musicians, coming from far and wide, that the crowd were really waiting for; led by the award-winning composer, Tommy Evans, of Submotion Orchestra and Gentlemen’s Dub Club fame.
Live effects and dub mixing from Mad Professor and Adrian Sherwood provided a perfect backdrop to the sounds of Horace Andy, Dawn Penn, Newham Generals, Foreign Beggars, Flowdan and Jenna G. There were way too many to mention – this is only a snapshot of the talent on show.
Tracks such as Roni Size’s classic Brown Paper Bag, Monch’s Simon Says, Newham General’s Hard and Flowdan’s Skeng were milestones in the crowd’s continued amazement and recognition of tunes as the night went on.
milestones in the crowd’s continued amazement and recognition of tunes as the night went on
Isn’t Bristol bloody wicked? Whilst it could be said that the whole thing felt a bit rushed – each artist was only on stage for what felt like a criminally short time – it was a testament to Bristol’s musical heritage and the people at Colston Hall who managed to get such a sheer amount of huge names in one place for the Outlook Orchestra’s single UK appearance outside of London as they warm up to perform at Outlook Festival’s 10 year anniversary this September, the momentous event which brought this herd of musical legends together in the first place.
All photos by Dominika Scheibinger/DSK Photography