Skip to content

Previews: December Live Music

December looks to be an exciting display of Bristol's ecclectic music scene: there's something for everyone, especially if you're looking to get festive

By Benji ChapmanCo-Deputy Music Editor

Stay out of the cold and take a break from Christmas deadlines with some promising gigs. Starting with some more intimate showings, the month only gets louder and louder before ending with a certain New Year's party you're not going to want to miss

Sundara Karma, 2nd @ Marble Factory

A band which formed in secondary school, Sundara Karma are a long-lasting feat of alternative rock. Now on their twelfth year of activity, the band have proven themselves with an expansive discography: most recently with 2023's Better Luck Next Time. The new record only furthers their reputation as an ever-youthful, cheery indie rock project of love sure to kick off the month of live music off with an energetic start.

For fans of: Sea Girls, Declan McKenna, The Strokes

Bodywork + Mike Shawe + Hank Champagne, 2nd @ The Crofter's Right

A vibrant club night perfect for anyone looking to travel back in time to the 80's, with appropriate electro, boogie and house music. Hank Champagne is returning yet again to one of Crofter's esteemed Bodywork disco events alongside Mike Shawe of Hot Buttered Soul fame. All mixed on original vinyl, the night is set to be a blast from the past with a masterful authenticity only found in Bristol's cult DJ scene.

Brass Band x Symphonic Winds Winter Concert, 3rd @ Victoria Methodist Church

The award-winning Brass Band will be leading the first half of this festive concert with Christmas and brass classics, after which the Symphonic Winds will take the audience into the idyllic soundscapes of Studio Ghibli. If you are keen to nurture your Christmas cheer before the celebrations are in full swing or forget about impending deadlines in the splendour of Joe Hisaishi's prolific compositions, then pick up a student ticket today at only £3. A bargain double bill that isn't one to miss.

Chamber Choir, 4th @ All Saint's Church

Bristol University Music Society are back the next day to beckon in some more Christmas cheer: the chamber choir are returning to All Saint's church for festive celebrations before journeys home for the holidays. Set in the majestic All Saint's Church, expect carols to fill the venue with a serene ambiance from the university's most prestigious choir. Discounted tickets are available for students so bring a group!

Alice Phoebe Lou, 7th @ Trinity Centre

Following the release of this year's Shelter, South African singer-songwriter Alice Phoebe Lou is now touring her new album in full swing. The gentle pace of her album, with its laid-back tempos and soft country-folk aesthetic are set to fill Trinity Centre with lovestruck awe. Back in Bristol for her tour with strongboi in February of next year, catch her at the majestic church setting of Trinity before then- leaving maximum bragging rights and a chance to catch the new album in full beforehand, live.

For fans of: Faye Webster, Weyes Blood, Big Thief

Flute Choir, 8th @ St Paul's Church Clifton

Following their chamber choir performance, BUMS will be back at St Paul's on the 8th for another exemplary show of student talent. The flute choir, renowned for their technical ability, are lined up for a night of classical prowess. Tickets are free of charge: there's no reason to miss this exquisite display of Bristol University's student musicianship.

SCALER, 8th @ Strange Brew

Formerly SCALPING, the freshly named Bristol based SCALER have been particularly active recently in the local techno/electronic rock scene. Gaining notoriety for their aggressive, electronic typicality the band is equal parts noisy and calculated: expect heavy basslines, thumping drums and a danceable glitchiness. Their newest single, featuring Daniel Avery (who will be DJ'ing after the show) showcases a fusion of their energetic rhythm section with the rockier tendencies of spacey guitar lines and ambient synths.

For fans of: Working Men's Club, Nine Inch Nails, PVA

Ashnikko, 9th @ Marble Factory

One of the largest artists playing Bristol this month is Ashnikko: an artist who's genre is difficult to define, but is firmly entrenched in the post-ironic, internet-pop pastiche. Ashnikko's music is not to be written off as comic though, its complexities lie in its impressive production style and stunningly varied influences that intersects several genres- from punk to trap. A zeitgeist who planned on filling her gigs with bubble-gum scented fumes, this incredibly stimulating show is bound to sell out early: grab tickets before they go.

For fans of: Doja Cat, Grimes, Rico Nasty

Blonde Redhead, 10th @ Thekla

If you've ever watched Rick and Morty, you may be unknowingly aware of Blonde Redhead: their piano ballad For the Damaged Coda has been doing the rounds on the internet for years now. Looking past the TikTokification of their catalogue, their sound is one significantly larger and more complex. Now 30 years old, the bands are seasoned veterans in the alt-rock scene. They have a musical catalogue spanning from noise rock to pop and shoegaze, the latter of which features heavily in their beautiful Sit Down For Dinner which was released this year.

For fans of: Stereolab, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo

The Family Rain / Frank & Beans, 15th @ The Crofter's Rights

In addition to Crofter's legendary club nights, a double bill from Bath based garage rockers The Family Rain and fuzz-filled Frank & Beans from Ireland are sure to rock the gig room with their respective sounds. Melding  psychadelic tendencies with a spitting grunginess, each group is set for a night of raucous riffs and blues-based grooving. Bring your friends, bring earplugs and most importantly bring your stank face for the face-melting solos.

For fans of: Queens of the Stone Age, Tribes, The White Stripes

Strange Sunday Xmas Market, 17th @ Strange Brew

Do your last minute Christmas shopping in style: Strange Brew are offering an all day market full of cheer and prolific retail oppurtunities from one of Bristol's best grassroots, creative hotspots. Expect Christmas classics mixed by live DJ's and only the best yuletide films. Eggnog and festive cheer not provided- Grinches will be barred entry.

Punk Fundraiser for Palestine, 19th @ Exchange

So far, three of the names have been announced for what is shaping up to a unprecedentedly gigantic night of grassroots punk solidarity in support of Medical Aid for Palestinians. The gig operates on a NOTAFLOF policy: no-one will be turned away for lack of funds. If you want to catch one of the last punk gigs of the month and show some solidarity for a humanitarian cause, come on down to a breakneck, back-to-back evening of lightning fast punk rock.

For fans of: Idles, Misfits, Orchid

The Allergies, DJ Yoda and Boca 45, 22nd @ Spiegeltent

Playing at the pop-up circus tent, Spiegeltent, this gig is a one off triple bill show from a triumverate of DJ's with impressive mixing skills. From older jockeys like DJ Yoda to the more recent duo The Allergies, this is one of the last opportunities to see some music before things wind down for the Christmas season.

Groove Armada, 31st @ Marble Factory

If there was one killer way to go into 2024, it would be to a DJ set from Groove Armada. Titans in the 90's dance scene, the electronic duo are taking to Motion for a massive night of big-beat funk. With openers yet to be confirmed beyond the first two (Lulah Francs and Hannah Wants), you can't help but wonder who's next. Massive posters have begun to multiply around the city, calling fans like moths to flame towards the sweeping lasers which are sure to fill the night.

For fans of: Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers

Featured Images: Vasso Vu, Charles Billot, Sandra Ebert, David Titlow, (compiled by Cara Hene)

Who are you most excited to see this month?