By Josh Templeman, Co-Deputy Music Editor
It’s hard to believe it’s already nearly May. Warmer months await us, with festival season just around the corner, and yet it feels like just yesterday we welcomed in 2023. As always, Bristol has a stellar selection of gigs you should be getting yourself down to this May. Here, we break down just a few of our picks for the month.
Having refined his unique sound after over a decade of experimentation, Onoe Caponoe has forged a reputation as one of the most exciting yet elusive figures in UK hip-hop. The UK scene can often feel like a conveyor belt of musical clones, with an almost homogenous sound at times, but Onoe Caponoe is the antithesis of this, carving out his own psychedelic brand of hip-hop that is both raw and energetic. He arrives at Crofters this May in celebration of his latest project, Concrete Fantasia.
Hailing from Kyoto, Ichiko Aoba has quickly gathered a passionate international following due to her unique style of folk music and creative songwriting. Aoba shows are incredibly intimate; she often performs solely with a guitar in a manner that makes you feel like she’s performing for you alone. With hypnotisingly gorgeous vocals, this one isn’t to be missed when she touches down at Bristol’s Trinity Centre this May.
Developing their own psychedelic take on folk music, Lankum have gained global acclaim since the release of their debut project, Cold Old Fire, back in 2015. Since then, their trajectory has only been upward, with numerous celebrated albums under their belt. They tour in support of their 2023 effort, False Lankum, in what promises to be their biggest Bristol appearance yet.
Black Country, New Road continue to defy expectations. Their 2022 effort, Ants From Up There, was arguably the most acclaimed project of the year but was met with an air of concern regarding their future, with lead singer Isaac Wood departing the band shortly after its release. That hasn’t stopped BCNR whatsoever though, adapting their sound with the release of their latest project, Live at Bush Hall, to vocally incorporate the rest of the band members in stunning fashion. This is undoubtedly the most exciting gig of the month.
Few people embody the word ‘legendary’ as perfectly as Roy Ayers. A true pioneer in jazz-soul, the vibraphonist has rightfully cemented his place amongst the musical greats, with countless other musical legends citing him as an inspiration. Now aged 80, this will be Roy’s ‘Farewell Tour’. This is perhaps one of your last opportunities to catch him live, so head down the Bristol’s O2 this month to hear ‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’ in all its glory.
Re-scheduled from last December, King Push will finally bring his distinct coke-rap sound to Bristol this May. First building his career as half of the duo Clipse, his solo music has seen the rapper hit new heights, revered for his unique sound and gritty lyricism, which never shies away from his emotional struggles and treacherous experiences whilst drug hustling. Expect crisp bars, raw passion and that trademark Pusha T “YUGHHH”.
Hailing from New Orleans, Hot 8 Brass Band are one of the most innovative funk-style brass bands not only from the city itself but worldwide. With a style that blends contemporary R&B, hip-hop and funk, the group have reached longstanding acclaim, with many of their tracks remixed or sampled by well-known producers and DJs. The band will perform at Bristol’s SWX on May 26th.
Songwriter, producer and singer Caroline Polachek is set to perform at Marble Factory this May following the re-scheduling of her February appearance. A name that needs little introduction, her 2023 project Desire, I Want to Turn Into You has made serious waves and sits as one of the year’s most celebrated albums so far. Fans of art-pop shouldn’t miss this one.
Featured image: Nick Agee, Unsplash
What gigs are you going to this month?