One of the New Generation of festivals to germinate with decent people and splendid toilets sprouted up last year and flowered. The gig tonight at Clockwork in Bristol was a slight whiff of what to expect from this year’s Bloom Festival in the delightful West Country.
The less said about Clockwork’s toilets the better but everyone from the door staff, to the security guards to the punters, were absolutely lovely. Tonight’s event stays close to its roots by providing us with a bill of pleasingly eclectic electronica. The eccentric Mara Carlyle and the excellent Bonobo both feature – but the main pull is Jamie Lidell.
Though mainstream appeal has always been a step away for Lidell, people who have seen him generally get obsessed with him. Unlike, say, 90% of electronica obsessions it’s not just a man thing either, there’s equally the same amount of women at this gig. This is partly because since the admirable but cerebral Super Collider and the solo album that followed in its wake, Lidell’s journey has been to the centre of soul. This admittedly has been via some admirable beat box show stoppers but nevertheless – everyone loves soul sung well.
The reason for this is clear. Whatever Lidell does, he does with ease. Unlike many who descend into the world of gizmos because they’re lacking in other departments, this simply isn’t true of Lidell. He is a consummate showman. And I’m sure his natty dress sense and rough cut good looks help too. Before we walked back inside I chatted to one girl who mentioned when she last saw him he wore a suit made out of CDs.
I’m quietly happy when Lidell comes on stage that he’s wearing a casual suit jacket and NHS style glasses. He has stepped away from his showman ego and let his newly full size band, among their number Mocky and Chile Gonzalez, add their considerable talents too. Tonight’s set is the only UK live push outside London for his third studio album – modestly named just Jim – and as such, most of the set list is from it. It’s a setup that works extremely well with current single ‘Little Bit Of Feel Good’ getting the gig crowd boogieing. Of course Lidell does become more playful with his desk of gizmos at the side of the table and his beat box segment inevitably gets the biggest cheer. The rest of the band leaves the stage allowing Lidell to unleash all manner of driving techno and funky house with the power of his voice. After an encore he finishes with a evangelical version of Multiply which descends into a funk soul finale replete with stage bows.
We don’t bother with the rest of the night. For us Lidell has absolutely stormed it. We grab a Bloom flyer on the way out. Sadly Lidell isn’t on it this year but we heartedly recommend the festival for this great atmosphere. And if you spot Lidell on any line-ups just go. He’s worth the gate price alone.