Simple Things Festival
Various Venues, Bristol, May 6
The arteries of the festival season have slowly started pumping party blood around the UK. Who’ll be giving us life this summer? Well, there were seven acts at Bristol’s multi-venue Simple Things Festival who laid down a marker for special times ahead…
Beautiful, Four Tet-esque ripples of melody, rhythms generated from loops, paper scrunches and the click-clack of typewriter keys – and a live video feed splicing all this together into a mesmerising visual backdrop. You can’t help but be impressed by Origamibiro’s audio-visual mechanics. A revelation.
One of the acts on the newly resurgent R&S label that has played such a central role in the post-dubstep melée, Vondelpark could do with reigning in the wailing vocals and letting their sparkling electronic melodies take centre-stage rather than walking the fine line between wonderful and wimpy. But they make a sophisticated noise nonetheless.
Surfing into town on a wave of hype that fills the O2 Academy with sweaty anticipation, Grimes bounces around like an electro-gypsy jack in the box, looking and sounding like Robyn gone electro-goth. As mangled nursery-rhyme melodies and cattle-prod synth stabs tumble out, they are received with swooning adoration by an audience intoxicated with the ‘post-internet’ girl. So incredibly 2012.
Bathed in a wash of red light, they slip effortlessly from monolithic walls of growling guitars (playing several
tracks from seminal late ’90s album ‘The Contino Sessions’) to the shimmering electronic pulse of recent single ‘Your Loft My Acid’. Fucking heavyweight.
With their hoods staunchly up, their heads resolutely down and their ultra-retro visuals stitching a
digital quilt behind them, Factory Floor’s deep, pounding, apocalyptic, industrial rhythms bring
the freewheeling, chaotic spirit of a mid-Wales free party to Bristol’s famous party boat the Thekla. It’s thumping, industrial post-punk techno and they look very serious about it. Horrible, but we like it.
[b]Hudson Mohawke & Rustie[/b]
They don’t play together, but these two are the artists strip-mining rave for its precious jewels and crystal rhythms, which are lapped up like catnip for humans, with people scaling the Lakota’s chrome fittings to get closer to the action. Here is searing, exciting, shape-shifting dance music that shows why these Lucky Me boys are worshipped so. They’ve perfected the art of banging out screwed, sideways, sci-fi hip-hop at a million miles an hour.
[b]Simian Mobile Disco[/b]
Despite producing what should be a party-starting stream of slick electro house, even the mighty SMD find they can’t beat the curse of the all-day-and-all-night urban festival. By 3am their audience is either face down in their own vomit, asleep, or going nuts to Hudson Mohawke somewhere else. Dem’s the breaks.