Drive-By Truckers marked 20 years of being together with their newest and most politically charged album, American Band, with songs that tell stories about race and discrimination.
The audience was a diverse mix of all age groups; from the old rockers who had followed the band from it’s inception, to the teenage student curious to witness the band’s capabilities. They opened with Filthy and Fried from their newest album, which was followed by a mix of old and new songs.
The album, American Band, was recorded and produced in Nashville’s historic South Emporium with the support of long-time producer David Barbe. Their sound of alternative country and Southern rock lifted the Anson Rooms with songs such as Kinky Hypocrite along with Surrender Under Protest and Ever South.
The band ended the concert with their single What It Means, a track which described the racial violence in America. The song serves as a heart-to-heart protest of the stereotypes and discrimination between the social classes in America.
Though the songs were political, Drive-by Truckers can sing their protests in a way that made them approachable and warm; we were treated to a concert that was loud, rocking and authentic - all things present in the Drive-By Trucker’s DNA.
Julia Holter showcased her new album ‘Have You in My Wilderness’ bringing a raw and warm atmosphere to the Anson Rooms crowd.
Julia Holter was on tour with her new album that Rolling Stone magazine described as a “Bjork-ian fractal of voices, strings and harpsichord shards” with sounds from French 17th century classical music to jazz-infused rock.
This did not come as a surprise as Julia Holter is renowned for her unique avant garde style of music that tends to mix different music genres such as pop, classical, electronic and jazz - creating music that cannot be categorised as anything other than Julia Holter’s own.
The ability to use different genres of music to create her own style in music was manifested in the Anson Rooms. She mesmerized the crowd with songs that were written from the heart and aimed to explore love, trust and power in Human Relationships.
This hybrid of sounds has ranked ‘Have You In My Wilderness’ as the best album of 2015 by Mojo Magazine, which she proved in her performance that included songs such as Vasquez, Betsy on the Roof and Sea Calls me Home. All songs that with their own characteristic and sound transported The Anson Rooms to a warm breezy night in Los Angeles allowing us into Julia Holter’s mysterious and heartfelt world.
Agnes Obel is a globally-renowned artist that has won many of her listener’s hearts with music that balances an abstract surreal soundscape whilst connecting with her broad audience.
Based in Berlin but originally from Copenhagen, Agnes Obel played centrestage, performing classical folk music on a keyboard and her all-female ensemble playing two cellos and an electric drum kit.
The first part of the concert was dedicated to her latest album ‘Citizen of Glass’ with her light and minimalistic sound evoking a proper Scandinavian vibe throughout her performance. After the first half, the set list consisted of songs from her two first albums and the long-anticipated Riverside and The Curse.
The simplicity and darkness in her music also shined through in Agnes Obel’s performance. Her appearance resembled a simple silhouette performing on stage with her company of multi-instrumental musicians, which created a collective of talent and finesse. All of this together gave the performance an almost supernatural atmosphere, with songs such as Philharmonics, Fuel to the Fire and her best-known song Riverside taking the audience into another universe, only consisting of tones, harmonies and melodies.
It was an old friend that came to visit when Anson Rooms veterans Teenage Fanclub made an appearance in Bristol.
Although Teenage Fanclub are close to celebrating their 30-year anniversary as band, the band’s popularity still seems as great as when the band started in the mid-eighties. Tickets had sold out quickly and people had travelled from afar to see the band perform in the Bristol venue, some from as close as Wales and some from as far as Canada.
The rock ambience was vivid as the band performed for an eager crowd, with a sound that echoes back to the sounds of the Beach Boys and The Byrds, Teenage Fanclub delivered a performance with a mix of their newest songs and old favourites.
The band opened the concert with their 1997’s Start Again followed by the dreamy Sometimes I Don’t Need To Believe In Anything . The band also played songs from their newest album Here among others was Hold on that showed how Teenage Fanclub’s new album has elements of lightness with their warm duelling guitar lines combines with their perfectly timed harmonies.
It was joyous to see Teenage Fanclub’s strong and lively performance. Along with the enthusiastic crowd, Teenage Fanclub’s performance showed that The Anson Rooms is the home of their Bristol fanbase.
Midlake performed a completely sold out show at The Anson Rooms on the 25th of February, 2014.
The Texan sextet mainly were showcasing their fourth studio album Antiphon on the Southwestern leg of their tour in the UK, soon to be playing in Manchester and London by the end of the month. Despite the recent shift in the band's structure (backing vocalist Eric Pulido recently having to take the reigns in place of Tim Smith) the act carried themselves strong through the 90 minutes performance.
Not at all phased by having to perform to a male-dominated audience they still gave the crowd their whole-hearted rapport and played their set with their hearts on their sleeves throughout.
Playing tried and tested songs "Roscoe", "Young Bride" and finishing the set with their most recent song "The Old and The Young", although they certainly don't overtake the stage with their presence I found myself completely immersed in their dark, spectral sounds.
As always, if you can spot Big Jeff and his bouncy hair bobbing amongst the crowd, you know that you're in for a cracking performance.
Opening as support for Leon Bridges was soul singer Grace, although not very well known here she's a big name in Australia. She opened the set with a series of engaging original numbers and closed with a rendition of "Valerie".
Leon graced the stage dressed in suave attire, suited, booted and looking the part to take us through a soulful setlist. You could see that despite his initial shyness he could not stop smiling at the completely packed-out venue.
He commanded the respect of not only the audience but his band as well, every time the musician would burst into song it seemed as if they played out of the highest admiration to Bridge's pure and unwavering voice, tying the band together in one brilliantly orchestrated performance, completely authentic of Northern Soul.
Despite calls to finish with his song "Shine", he closed with the comment and following track: “I wrote that song about my mother… but her favourite is still ‘Coming Home'”.