Bristol Sounds returned after a two year break for a Saturday night dance fest on the docks.
Words: Delroy Hibbert
The sun is out and like several hundred others I am gathered on Bristol’s Harbourside for the latest episode of this year’s Bristol Sounds. Like many I am trying not to think of the 200,000 souls at Glastonbury as I enter the Lloyd’s Amphitheatre but hey I can always see it on iPlayer and I’m glad to be still out in the sunshine watching live music for the first time since 2019.
Crowd at Bristol Sounds
Image: Paul Box
First up though the support acts. Having been at a football tournament all day I am disappointed to have missed Joel Culpepper but I arrived in time for Ibibio Sound Machine. This London-based, seven piece mix electronic dance and African Hi-Life music organically to create a stunning live show.
Ibibio Sound Machine
Image: Jeremy De Luna
They are fronted by Eno Williams who comes from the Grace Jones school of performance and treats the event like they own it, and own it they do, keeping the crowd on their feet and dancing.
If you haven’t done so before, do check them out.
The next act, Kelly Lee Jones, comes across as a nightclub act in a futuristic sci-fi film.
The Welsh-born and now London-based artist takes to stage alone but it’s a big one and she doesn’t quite fill it. Her sound to me seems more suited for a packed out Motion or Lakota not an early evening outdoor event.
Kelly Lee Jones
Playing a non-stop set of electronica and techno she glides between her instruments offering dreamy vocals, throwing some interesting shapes and occasionally what looks like polite head banging.
Unfortunately the sound isn’t great and most of her vocals are lost in the mix and inaudible. Maybe it’s me not getting it but a large portion of the crowd stand there making small talk so I’m not the only one.
It’s time for Jungle. The duo and lifelong friends, Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom MacFarland have expanded sensibly to seven for the purposes of live performances and come out to a huge cheer from the surprisingly dedicated fans.
Opening with the single Keep Moving, the crowd are almost as loud as the band and sing along through most of the set. They follow this up with a medley of familiar hits and showcase some new ones which keeps the energy flowing.
It’s clear people are up for this and are grabbing the first chance to reacquaint themselves with Jungle with open arms for a non stop disco flavoured party. Like all good things though the show has to end but not before the band gives us an encore including Casio from their second album Forever. The crowd leaves on a high, who needs Glastonbury eh?