Having just watched Lou Rhodes’ in-store set at Rise Records a moist 30 minute dash across the City got us to The Passenger Shed in time for most of Sofii Negus’ warm up set. A new name to me but her mix of originals and covers was played with a confidence that can’t have been easy in a bustling bar. Bonus points for a lovely cover of Streets of London too.
In case you’ve not been to The Passenger Shed it’s a ruddy big building next to Bristol Temple Meads station that I’m guessing once housed steam trains back in the day. Divided by a curtain, swept away Wizard of Oz style to reveal the main stage, the rest of the evening saw six acts play, including a couple of delightful female indie-folk singer songwriters from Cambridge (there must be something in the water), Melody Causton and Rachel Clarke, both of whom had the kind of easy going charm and natural talent to keep the increasingly ‘cidered up’ crowd engaged.
On to the bands and Keston Cobblers Club’s funky pop folk went down a storm. Their set had a bit of a bounce up and down and hug yer mates at a festival kind of vibe capped off by a magnificent tuba turbocharged cover of Fleetwood Macs The Chain that’s just screaming to be released as a single.
London four piece Anteros reminded me a little of the much lamented Doll & The Kicks (still got no idea why they didn’t make it). At their best on the bouncy indie punk pop of tracks like recent single Breakfast lead singer Laura did a fine job of bopping around the stage in the heat and it’s not hard to imagine them making the leap to Ellie Goulding levels of success (yep, that’s an official measure of success these days. Who says? Me.).
On to the last two bands and local duo The Showhawk Duo almost tore the roof off the place with their acoustic guitar versions of dance anthems. It’s clever stuff brilliantly done, retaining the euphoria of the originals but adding that human element that’s lost when you’re just watching some bloke ‘avin it large on the ones and twos. The biggest reaction of the set was reserved for their cover of Bohemian Rhapsody though which saw several dozen members of the audience belting out the words (not necessarily the right words or in the right order but 10 out of 10 for effort) and punching the air like they’d just necked several pints of Thatchers Haze...which I’m guessing they had.
Last up and time for a bit of a skank with By The Rivers who mashed up soul, reggae and ska into a revitalising musical cocktail that kept the Passenger Shed (well my bit of it at least) bouncing right to the end.
Given the heat and booze this was no mean feat...
Thanks to all the bands and the good folk at Thatchers Cider for a cracking night.
PS: As the night was promoting Thatchers Haze cider (as well as the bands) it’d be unfair not to give my...ahem...expert view on it. As the name implies it’s a little cloudier than most of the established sparkling cider brands, Thatchers Gold for instance. It's got a bit more of a natural taste too and if it encourages drinkers to try what I’d call ‘proper’ cider (still, cloudy as a British summer’s day and strong enough to floor a buffalo...see Thatchers Cheddar Valley) then that’s a very, very good thing indeed.