by Oscar Ross, Music Editor
I hate Halloween weekend. If I open my door to find one more banana-costumed rugby boy pissing on my doorstep I might have to give up on the holiday altogether. However, I managed to escape the dressed-up crowds at the wonderful Part Time Models’ E.P launch at The Louisiana.
Celebrating the launch of their new E.P: A LOT TO SAY ABOUT NOTHING, Bristol’s Part Time Models hosted a night of dance, chants and overall celebration of local talent. The “party” half of these release events usually goes by the wayside, however the integration of the talent with the audience, on and off of stage, gave the night a tight-knit, community vibe.
Sitting alone on stage with a classical guitar and two mics, Luna Kali kicked off the night with her set of acoustic, r&b fuelled tunes. While acts such as these can sometimes seem to lack energy when placed alongside full band acts, Kali’s versatile vocals and skilful guitar elevated her stripped-back set to something else. Kali’s singing shifted from percussive, rap-like flows to smooth, ethereal melodies at the drop of a hat, showing off her full range on her cover of Jesse J’s ‘Do it like a Dude’.
Mostly playing her own songs, Kali’s writing spanned from the catchy pop-sounds of ‘Glorious’ and ‘Divine Femininity’ to jazzier tones on her encore, ‘Yellow Mellow’. Kali’s whole set seemed to be coming from a far-off place, yet also gave the intimate feel, as is you were the only one in the room hearing her play. Having moved to Bristol from Lisbon only last year, there's more to be heard from Luna Kali in the Bristol scene, so look out.
Arriving on stage dressed in attire ranging from full-on swimsuits to sundresses, together with face paint and snorkels to match, Long Tonic strutted on stage at The Louisiana for a set of carefree, punchy headbangers. Long Tonic has to be one of the most charismatic and energetic acts I have seen in my time in Bristol, bringing a communal feel to their set, which is fuelled by laughing, dancing and chanting on both sides of the stage.
Driven by drawling, indie-rock vocals, continuously grooving drums and bass lines, irresistibly jazzy guitar and tied together by screaming trumpet playing, Long Tonic give an almost Thin Lizzy-esque atmosphere of dark and mysterious tunes to make you forget where and who you are. They have a headline show at the SouthBank Club on Friday 4th of November, so get your tickets here:
The first time I saw Part Time Models was a tiny show at the Ill Repute Pub in Old Market last year. Even back then they had the whole pub either silent and pensively listening in their seats, or up on the tables dancing. Their folky energy is infectious, an energy that shines through in their new E.P: A LOT TO SAY ABOUT NOTHING. Ranging from melancholy, sunset-feeling tunes such as the campfire-lit ‘When You’re Gone’ and ‘Can I Stay’, all the way to the jangling and shouting ‘Kia Ora’, the band’s live performances of their E.P are seamless, with their recording capturing their live sound and vice versa.
The special thing about Part Time Models is their incredibly friendly sound. The band themselves met at Swansea university, becoming friends first before forming the band. Their tightly knit feel is both sonic and visual, with the writing and explaining of the songs passing from member to member, as well as actual instruments passing hands throughout the set. While to some this might sound like logistical chaos unfolding on stage before you, the transfer of melody lines and instruments is as natural as if the band were simply talking to one another on stage.
The triple melodies, softly strummed acoustic guitar and ukulele are brought together under the soaring guitar lines of left-handed lead guitarist, Ben. Weaving in and out of the mix with catchy licks and bluesy bends, the lead guitar brings a rocky element to the folk-driven sound of the band. With emotive songwriting all around, the three singers took it in turn to say something about what the songs meant to them, with a personal favourite of mine, ‘Stones and Shells’ calling out to those who lived by the sea. George Crowther, one of the three front-singers of the band, finished off the set with a heavy jump-up unreleased track saying ‘I need you to dance, I’m not asking’ resulting in a hectic and wholesome mix of line dancing and country style dancing.
For me, Part Time Models are a staple of Bristol's independent music scene. As well as this, their support of independent Bristol art themselves is a reason why artists feel that there is a welcoming, interested group of musicians in the city, musicians out to help one another rather than overtake the artists around them. . So, maybe I'm biased because I already loved PTM's E.P. Perhaps I'm biased because I spoke to Luna Kali, Long Tonic and Part Time Models and they were all lovely, open artists, passionate about their craft. Maybe I'm biased as I went drinking out at The Crown with some of the band members after the gig, but this was one brilliant night of music in Bristol. I'm sure you will be hearing much more about these acts very soon...
Listen to Part Time Models and Long Tonic here:
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Photography by Oscar Ross