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Who to see at Simple Things according to the UK’s music critics

13 October 2017, 11:15

Writers and editors from DIY, London In Stereo, Dork, Bristol Live, and more have shared their picks for must-sees at this year's Simple Things Festival.

Simple Things kicks off in just a week's time with sets from major names such as Wild Beasts (their final Bristol show), Leftfield (performing Leftism in full), and Daphni (who plays a monster four hour set), but to help you navigate the rest of the bill we've asked a few pals to share their tips.


We put Gaika on the cover of our magazine last year because we like him that much. Somewhat brooding and somewhat mysterious with his fiercely intelligent lyrics, his music is impacting, attention-grabbing, and unusual. It all sounds quite serious though, doesn’t it? That’s what we thought, so when we headed to his show at Field Day this year we didn’t know quite what to expect. Was it going to be high energy or something a little more avant-garde? Something complex or uplifting? Well, what we got was a full-on dance-'til-you-forget-where-you-are party. Gaika is an exhilarating performer and his show will leave a lasting impression on your day and your mood like you didn’t think possible. So make sure you see for yourself how he brings these already fascinating and brilliant tracks to life, it’s a wild ride and we can’t wait to witness it again.

Jess Partridge; London In Stereo

John Maus

John Maus fills a peculiar and beautiful role in the silly world of pop music. He’s at his best when unearthing sequences of chords and melodies which haven’t been aired in thousands of years. That’s why the 2011 album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves graced us with such unknown medieval beauty. Bringing together taut Joy Division baselines with rhythms that felt so forward thinking but were actually verging on archaic, it was a record of sheer intelligence. He’s an artist who plays his cards close to his chest and rarely hits the road let alone in the UK; a factor which makes for a surreal chance to see the Minnesotan giant at Simple Things.

Rhys Buchanan; Rise Bristol, NME, Time Out, Bristol Live


"Do not worship false idols." This commandment from the bible has been passed on from generation to generation. Luckily for everyone attending Simple Things this weekend, Idles happen to be one band that prove themselves as unmistakably the real deal.

Fresh from supporting Foo Fighters at London’s O2 Arena, the Bristol punks are hot to trot. It’s easy to see why. Debut album Brutalism, released earlier this year, is a tour de force of storming riffs, pissed-off power statements, whimsical commentaries, and rallying energy that’s pushed the group from strength to strength - and far though they’ve come, they only seem set to go up from here.

If you like your punk as blistering as it is balls-out brazen (sometimes almost literally: guitarist Mark Bowen has an affinity for performing in nothing but his Y-Fronts), then Idles are the band you didn’t realise you’d spent your whole life waiting for.

Jess Goodman; Dork, Upset

Diet Cig

Ever since early single "Harvard", Diet Cig have been one of the bubbliest, most exciting pop-punk bands in the US, their live shows crowned by vocalist Alex Luciano's high kicks and insatiable energy. This year's debut album Swear I'm Good At This took all the promise of the band's early singles and fully delivered. Half an hour of fun, silly but also brilliantly socially conscious pop, the album is a breath of brilliantly catchy fresh air that everyone needed this year.

Will Richards; DIY

Pink Kink

They may only have one single under their belt, but I’m pretty confident any set from Liverpudlian punk crew Pink Kink is bound to be an electrifying experience. The five-piece’s bonkers debut cut “Bubblebutt” is - in their own words - a “completely unhinged” response to being unwillingly objectified by the male gaze. In 2017, there couldn’t be a more appropriate cause for punk to champion, and it’s a hair-raising listen; clocking in at just under two minutes of hectic guitars and deranged riot-grrl vocals.

If Liverpudlian feminist punks remade The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it would probably sound something like this. In short, the only thing more ridiculous than their set is likely to be, would be missing it.

Pip Williams; The Line Of Best Fit

This year we're back at Simple Things to host the Colston Hall Foyer Stage, with sets from the likes of Omar Souleyman, Japanese Breakfast, Ó, HMLTD, Diet Cig, and XL Recordings head honcho Richard Russell. Find out the full details and come say hi!

The seventh edition of Simple Things Festival takes place in some of Bristol's best live venues between 20-21 October 2017. Tickets are on sale now; RSVP on Facebook.
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