By Bethany Marris, Deputy Digital Editor
Musician, vocalist and producer Tom Misch played the first of five consecutive open-air concerts branded 'Bristol Sounds' last week.
Grouped as ‘Bristol Sounds’, last week saw series of open air concerts at the Harbourside. Beneath the grand facade of Lloyd’s bank, the Amphitheatre proved spacious enough to deliver a ‘good-vibes’ festival spirit, with food stalls and outdoor bars lining the perimeter; a happy compromise for all of us who didn’t quite make it to Glastonbury this weekend. Kicking off the series on Wednesday night was London-based, singer-songwriter-producer Tom Misch, best known for his distinct blend of nu jazz and classic funk. Misch, who began carving his career uploading to SoundCloud at just 16 years old has collaborated with a wealth of artists. From Goldlink to Jordan Rakei and Barney Artist, Misch’s fluid beats lend a feel-good-foundation to rappers and soul singers alike.
The responsibility of opening the show was given to jazz-percussionist Yussef Dayes; one half of the jazz-funk duo Yussef Kamaal and a pioneer of the UK’s contemporary jazz scene. Where support-acts are often left playing to a chatty, dithering crowd, Yussef attracted a keen mass early on, also turning heads with his audaciously vibrant two piece suit.
Taken from his latest album Geography, Misch eased into his headlining set with ‘It Runs Through Me’. Laced with uplifting, silky rifts, the track sparked a sea of bopping bucket hats and Thatchers cans. Tom’s set promised ‘special guests’, and while there was no sight of the opener’s contributors De La Soul , South-London based saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi was ushered onto the stage only a handful of songs in. Akinnibi’s appearance was suitably timed, and brought a fresh, luxurious depth to Misch’s borderline coffee-house rhythms. Far more to the crowd’s excitement, however, was an appearance from British Hip-Hop sweetheart Loyle Carner. In the broader context of rap artists, Carner is about as un-crude as they come, yet the way in which his seamless flow and mildly gritty rhymes elevated the audience’s energy was marked.
The evening’s pre-encore closing also came with a surprise; an appearance from Zak Abel, the soulful vocalist behind ‘Beautiful Escape’. Under a glistening disco ball as darkness set in, the party climaxed. Indeed, Wednesday’s show was unquestionably elevated by Misch’s carefully curated line-up, yet in this we must celebrate the artist’s capacity for collaboration. Moreover, with chords and compositions inspired by music as old as their grandparents, the way in which Misch’s brand of gateway Jazz has enthralled such a youthful audience also shouldn’t go ignored.