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Bristol has had its fair share of venue-to-venue festivals lately including the likes of Dot to Dot and Simple Things. Although both of these festivals are located in the heart of the city centre, the venues have always seemed that little bit too far from each other. Thankfully, independent music zine Fear of Fiction appear to have taken this on board and instead, hosted their very first venue-to-venue festival in Stokes Croft. The weekend saw the likes of The Croft, the Motorcycle Showrooms, Cube cinema and the Attic Bar all taking part, so there was plenty of variation with venues and bands alike.

Proceedings kicked off at 12pm, with the Canteen hosting a rather lovely zine, record and vintage fair. It was a great start to the afternoon and the perfect place to grab a coffee with your pals before the day really got going. Heading on over to collect our wristbands at the Motorcycle Showrooms, we were treated to Bristol’s own Spectres. Having already gained huge critical acclaim this year (and winning Artrocker’s New Blood award) they were the perfect candidates to kick things off. Playing their woozy, Bloody Valentine-like indie, it’s no wonder these guys have caught our attention.

Next up were Empty Pools in the Croft. Having only been together for just over a year, this is a band that are already well on their way to creating something really rather special. Playing their youth-fuelled noise rock, singer Leah oozes the kinda cool that makes you want to be her best pal in school, whilst the teen-dream guitar riffs and catchy choruses enable each song to etch into your ear.

Making our way back over to the Motorcycle Showrooms, Howling Owl’s latest darlings Velcro Hooks are proving their worth. This year, all we’ve heard in the music press is that British guitar music is ‘dead.’ Thankfully, these guys silence those critics by portraying authentic indie with enough punk influence to keep you interested. Next up, Bristol favourites Idles play their much-loved set of gritty-indie-pop, with the Joy-Division-inspired ‘26/27’ really shining through as their best tune. The guys have just finished recording their next EP, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

Heading on over to the Cube Cinema, solo artist Oliver Wilde is about to take to the stage with a full band for the first time. After lots of excitable whispers over the past few weeks, this is arguably one of the most anticipated performances of the day. Oliver begins with beautiful projections of flowers and fields providing the backdrop for the set. His songs instantly attack your emotions, as his stunning lyrics and understated accompaniment from the band easily provide the best performance of the day. The Cube Cinema was also the perfect venue for a performance of this calibre; allowing the audience to sit in awe of his Elliott-Smith-inspired skills. With an album coming out next year, Oliver is going to be one of Bristol’s best exports if this performance was anything to go by.

Back in the Motorcycle Showrooms, Islet were caressing the audience with their post-punk offerings. Since forming in Cardiff back in 2009, the band have been gaining plenty of hype and their latest album ‘Illuminated People’ completely solidified them as one of the most exciting bands of the past year. This performance proves that, with the venue packed to the brim and many of the audience enticed by each and every tune. In the Attic Bar, Among Brothers play their folky indie-pop to an average-sized crowd. Their songs are promising, with strong vocals and catchy breakdowns that prove there’s no reason why they don’t deserve the acclaim they’ve been receiving.

The Croft’s headliners Tellison take to the stage around 10pm to a sold-out-sized audience. Providing their delicious slice of indie-pop, the London quintet are the perfect anecdote to a 10pm crowd. Playing classics such as ‘Wasps Nest’ and ‘Gallery’ as well as newer offerings ‘Freud Links the Teeth and the Heart,’ every syllable is lovingly sung back to them. It was the kind of gig you attended aged 15 and raved and ranted about for weeks afterwards.

After supporting Dry the River on their recent tour, Arcane Roots finish things off at The Attic Bar. Sadly, the crowd is not as big as they deserve but they still pull off a stadium-worthy performance with their nods to early Biffy Clyro. For all the dance-music-lovers out there, the festival continues in Lakota with sets from Egyptian Hip Hop, The Kelly Twins and Dan Le Sac.

All in all, this was a huge triumph for a rookie festival. The venues were perfect distances from each other; there was a wide-range of genres, bands and DJs to choose from and what’s more, the atmosphere was as friendly and excitable as you can get. Bring on next year.

Words: Sammy Maine
Photo: Laura Palmer