elbow ⋅ seasick steve de la soul ⋅ soul ii soul groove ⋅ seasick steve de la soul ⋅ soul...
Post on 09-Feb-2018
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Elbow Seasick SteveDe La Soul Soul II Soul
Groove ArmadaRoni SizeAnd David Rodigan The Districts Keir Mike SkinnerMad Professor Bristol Hi-Fi
We werent really sure what we were going to do next when the Massive Attack show finished in September 2016. It was a strange mixture of feelings months of pre-planning and stress had passed for us and all our crew to make the show happen. And then, all of a sudden, it was over. As we wandered back towards the site at mid-night, soaked to the bone from helping get people on their way home, we felt a strange combination of calm, release and achievement, the weight lifted after producing a homecoming show for Bristols favourite sons. It was tempered slightly with disappointment in the weather and the issues the bars had with handling the huge numbers people arriving at once. But mostly we wondered what on earth we were going to do follow it.
We regrouped, discussed what we wanted to achieve with a follow-up and what Bristol needed from the event. We knew we needed a combination of classic artists, covering both the guitar and the dancefloor. So we began the search and found Elbow, one of the countrys biggest bands, and part of a select few that can deliver a show to warrant the scale of The Downs Festival Bristol. De La Soul and Soul II Soul came next, two artists that ticked all the boxes for what we want this festival to represent. Their albums helped form the musical fabric of an entire generation and helped shape the outlook of what we do as an organisation.
Then theres Seasick Steve, a big favourite of ours. With Groove Armada and Roni Size, were celebrating iconic album territory, heading up our second stage alongside David Rodigan, Mike Skinner of The Streets and local heroes Bristol Hifi. Were thrilled to be offering Bristol a party befitting of its pioneering soundsystem roots.
Weve also been working hard on developing the Information Stage. Last year this focused on the refugee crisis and included some mind blowing talks and performances. Its an exciting prospect for us offering a platform for forward-facing discussion and boundary-pushing performance. In Akala, weve found a headliner who perfectly aligns with that mission.
Above all, this feels like a line up that makes sense. Its full of musical pioneers and inspirational speakers capturing a spirit of celebration and creativity. We hope were offering a great day out for the people of the city. See you on The Downs!
WelcomeWelcomeThe Downs Festival Bristol The Downs Festival Bristol
ElbowChoose LovePage 6
Groove ArmadaBack To The RootsPage 10
Roni SizeTwenty YearsOf New FormsPage 12
Full LineUpPage 16
Bristol FoodPage 18
Charity& SustainabilityPage 20
Kids AreaPage 22
The InformationWith AkalaPage 24
The Downs Festival BristolProgramme
Produced especially for The Downs Festival Bristol by Crack Magazine.Editor: Theo Kotz. Art Director: Manu Rodriguez. Executive Editor: Thomas Frost. Editorial Assistant: Liam Curran. Editorial & Creative Input: Team Love. Design & Production: Crack Magazine.Special Thanks: Ben Price, Tom Paine, David Harvey, Becci Abbott, Lewis Jamieson, Joe Philip, Matt Learmouth,Anna Tehabsim, Louise Brailey, Jake Applebee, Thomas Frost and everyone else involved.
Photograph by Phil Watson
The Downs Festival Bristol
ElbowFrontman Guy Garvey perfectly encapsulates this duplicity. With his show on BBC 6 Music now ten years old, his voice has become as fa-
miliar as that of Jarvis Cocker or John Peel in the homes of many. His lyrics touch on a universal sentimentality and yet on stage, his large frame and northern patter imbue him with the kind of presence reserved for the frontmen of legend. Then again, his voice is so familiar that its slightly surreal talking to him on the phone, like chatting to an old friend whose life you know nothing about.
Hes in good spirits, hanging around on the set of the new series of Detectorists, the BBC comedy featuring his wife, Rachel Stirling. Their son is asleep in the next room and hes clearly relishing this slice of (slightly showbiz) domesticity. In getting older, you might assume the life of constant recording and touring would become a drag, especially with a young family, but Garvey is careful to find time for the important things. Combined with the actual day-to-day reality of being in Elbow, 25 years doesnt seem such a long time.
I think its because weve always looked after each other. Garvey says of their longevity. Ultimately I love the guys I play with: its based on having a right laugh. You wake up in these towns and a couple of thousand people have come to see you on the other side of the world. You hang around all day, maybe change the set and do a couple of hours
work, and then get back on your bunk. An amazing life. Writing is a joy as well: I can write at two in the morning, with a bottle of wine, in my pants; or I can make notes on a tube train.
Still, those 25 years hav-ent passed without incident. Elbows latest album Little Fictions is their first since Richard Jupp left the band, having been drummer since they formed in 1990 as Mr Soft. Initially it was sad, he concedes. Wed never made a record without Jupp before. On songs like Head For Supplies and Kindling I think musically you can hear it. We used the original recordings from Scotland on both of those songs and theres a sense of us blinking out into the world.
Confidence would return though and as Garvey points out: Craig [Potter] and Jupp always wrote the beats together. We lost half of our groove machine when he left, not all of it. The result is probably the most groove-driven El-bow record to date. Garveys current favourite song on the album is Trust the Sun, a par-ticularly rhythmic track. Its very up-tempo, very celebra-tory. It exorcises something in Pottsky (Mark Potter) he brought a big spiritual energy to the tune. Then Craig (Pot-ter) got hold of it and made it inkier and dubbier. Of all the Elbow records actually, this is the one Ive had least to do with musically. I wrote the string parts but, by and large, I was handed the music fully formed. It was a nice departure.
The lyrics are still Gar-veys concern. One track in particular which has garnered interest in this sense is All Disco, particularly when he sings: What does it prove if you die for a tune / Its really all disco. The actual term its all disco came from an interview I did with
A band like no other, Elbow tap into the romance inherent in everyone to bring soaring joy to the great swathes who come to their shows and send a quiver through the stiffest of upper lips. With over 25 years under their belts, seven studio albums and a back catalogue full of anthems, they are one the most consistently brilliant bands in recent memory, somehow retaining the air of local boys come good while attracting packed crowds to some of the worlds biggest stages.
Of all the Elbow records actuallythis is the one Ive had least to do withmusically. It was a nice departure.
Like anyone with a love of Manchester or in-deed music, the news of the attack at Ariana Grandes concert at the Manchester Arena hit the band hard. Garveys thoughts on the matter though are characterised by hope. Elbow have played there so many times, and Ive had so many occasions of joy there. The entrance isnt round the corner from Victoria station, its in the station, which is the gateway to the city when youre from north of Manchester as I am. Itll always have that attached to it now, but Manchester has a history of remembering its victims; those people wont be forgotten. Tony Walsh put it best when he said: choose love Manches-ter. And in my experience it always has.
Our conversation turns to another city. Its been more than eight years since the band last played in Bristol, though Garvey played his solo record at the 6 Music Festival in 2016. But it does hold a place in their hearts.
Weve always had a good time in Bristol. I collaborated with Massive Attack on three or maybe more songs from Heligoland. So to me its the Massive boys, and of course musically we love everything that came out in the late 90s. Its a lovely city.
Its fitting that The Downs Festival Bristol will host them after so many years, Elbow being one of few bands in the country that have the tunes to match a stage and crowd of this size. That said, they werent always festival naturals. The more anthemic tunes were written after we experienced big crowds for the first time. Says Garvey. Theres nothing of that nature on our first album but we started putting them in because we thought: why waste a choir that size? Its a lovely thing. The Downs is pretty much the last festival were doing for a while, so were going to give it our best performance this summer.
Black Francis of Pixies. He explains. But I wrote the tune because I heard a young musician died who I very much admired. I dont know the details of the death but I suspect its standing too close to the work. Ive always found it really macabre when people talk about the 27 club and things like that. I think its really sick. The song is a way of saying: put everything into it but dont let it cost your life. Youve only got one.
Mostly Little Fictions is decidedly joyous work. If anything weve had to curb it in the past. Garvey answers, when asked if it was hard to inject this cheer. For the first time we felt like what was required of us was some positivity, because of just how fucking bleak things are at the moment. We all agreed the best thing we could do was write songs about love and togetherness. Along the way too,
there were s