FREESTYLE BRISTOL

REVIEW: Jacob Collier & James, Bristol Sounds, Harbourside

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Bristol Sounds for the second year in a row,  to capture two days of incredible music from the likes of Jacob Collier, James, and the amazing support acts before them both.

Words & Images: Libby Smith, @myfavouritedays

Shamelessly, I did not recognise Jacob Collier before I was asked to photograph him, however when I told friends of the gig, I was met with wide eyes and open mouths. It wasn’t until I looked him up that I realized that I did in fact know him, and he was in an endless amount of collaborations with artists such as Coldplay, Lizzy McAlpine and John Mayer, as well as having an incredible discography that displayed his insane skills.

Jacob Collier

His set didn’t fail to hypnotize me, and an audience of thousands, as he played a multitude of instruments throughout, including using the audience themselves to create the most beautiful moments where we all sang together. 

Collier takes us all on a journey of tempos, genres and skills whilst we danced in the sunshine, and it’s not something that I will forget anytime soon. An amazing stage presence combined with his crowd involvement made for a truly great gig, and some equally great photos!

Louis Cole

This made the first night hard to beat, not to mention Colliers’ support, Louis Cole, who had hyped the crowd up with his high energy that sparked people’s interest. His intense genre switch ups throughout his set made it hard to predict in the best way, and encouraged everyone to just let loose in the beautiful weather and get ready for Jacobs’ beautiful performance.

Emily Breeze

The headliners of the following night, James, needed no introduction, as they had built a huge name for themselves over the past 40 years with anthems such as Laid and Sit Down, and it was clear from the sea of fans wearing their merch that they were highly anticipated. 

The audience on this night was noticeably bigger and more excited, and the support acts, The Kairos and Emily Breeze, do a great job at keeping the energy flowing throughout the evening. I thoroughly enjoy The Kairos opening with their summery indie rock songs, followed by Breeze playing on the more passionate, introspective side of the genre, which I think when combined, perfectly encapsulates what James is about.

The Kairos (L), James (R)

Looking at the audience from the pit, it was hard to see a single gap when James made their way on stage, and a sea of smiles lit up the amphitheater for their entire set. Lead singer, Tim Booth, effortlessly keeps everyone’s attention with his glowing stage presence, faultless voice and upbeat dancing, and the entire band show that they still had the same amazing talent that they did when they first became big in the 80s.

James

It was truly heartwarming to see that all ages were there to enjoy the performance and sing along to each and every song that James played, and it’s easy to see from the images of the audience that everyone was having the time of their lives.

Both of these gigs were certainly memorable in their own ways, and it really reminded me of how wonderful it is to dance in the sunshine no matter the genre. Once again, Bristol Sounds created a beautiful atmosphere that was not only a lot of fun, but made everyone feel connected through the music.

Libby Smith is a freelance photographer & writer with the Freestyle Bristol team and the in-house photographer for @justbehq You can find more of her work on TikTok & Instagram