Plutonium Baby, Nudes, Headfall - Roll for the Soul, Bristol, 23rd July 2015

Plutonium Baby, Nudes, Headfall – Roll for the Soul, Bristol, 23rd July 2015

11721436_10153345289390804_604735672_nAt Roll for the Soul, you know that for a few quid you’re going to discover at least one band you’ll love. The headliners last night were Rome’s Plutonium Baby. I hope to see them in about a year playing The Fleece. They deserve it more than a tonne of covers bands. The first song made me think of New Young Pony Club as a bar band, a glam stomp that would be suited to a bigger venue. Black Guitarra’s heavily reverbed whoops derive from riot grrl, which makes me wish I could make out the lyrics. Overall, they’re a new wave garage band, all fast, tight bluesy riffs and buzzy electric organ. They sounded a bit constricted tonight. If only for contrast, I’d love to see them in silver glittery capes playing to hundreds of mascara’d teenagers drunk on vodka.

Asthmatic punx in PE kits: pop-punk and emo are fast becoming, to steal Trip Fontaine’s line in The Virgin Suicides, my still point in an ever-turning world. Nudes, the second band of the evening, are so reliable, like a scrappier Dowsing, that they’re irresistible.

While I was scribbling this down, local illustrator Joff Winterhart was live-drawing the gig. It’s that kind of venue: everyone’s around you is doing something creative and you can’t help wanting to join in. Here’s his portrait of me hunched over a notebook.

Best of all, though, were opening band Headfall. These guys get better every time I see them and play so infrequently that each gig is an event. Unusually, they have another gig booked in for next Thursday, this time supporting Young Marble Giants, at a benefit for Cardiff’s creative charity Grassroots. I’m honestly as excited to see Headfall again as I am to see the headliners. They’re shy, funny and my favourite live band in Bristol right now. Roll for the Soul does occasionally break from punk sub-genres to programme vocal post rock bands, but Headfall still stand out. Their minimalist, pulsing guitars remind me of Donna Matthews’ shamefully overlooked Klang. However, Michal’s yelps nag impatiently at this blissful repetition. George’s delicate drumming is exploratory, skipping around the drones which half-bury Lisa’s softly spoken delivery. Every moment feels necessary. The highlight of their set was ‘Nitetime Photography‘, on which they were joined by Sam Jones (The Balky Mule, and contributor to Flying Saucer Attack, among others). His feedback swarmed like furious hornets around the song, pushing the paranoia in Michal’s delivery to screaming. While Nudes were comfortingly familiar and Plutonium Baby thrillingly trashy, Headfall are transcendent.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.