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11 must-see acts performing at Simple Things 2024

After a four year hiatus, the left-field Bristol day festival returns for its tenth edition – here's who to watch


Simple Things festival debuted in 2011 with names such as Jamie XX, Floating Points, Jon Hopkins and a very fresh-faced IDLES gracing the poster. Since then, the Bristol multi-venue event has led the way when it comes to an eclectic approach to programming, giving a stage to everyone from Ata Kak and Kamaal Williams to Kano, Warpaint, Avalon Emerson and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

After a four-year hiatus following its 2019 edition, next weekend the festival returns to Bristol’s gig venues, record shops and even bowling alleys for a suitably assorted day and night programme.

Here are 11 acts simply not to be missed.

Fat Dog

Fat Dog - All The Same (Official Video)

When and where: 23:45, Bridgehouse Stage

This south London band have been on our radar since their debauched, late-night set at The Great Escape festival last year. Our foggy memory musters ska-infused post-punk (as I said, it was a debauched, late night set), but the group’s only two singles on streamers suggest Fat Dog have been barking up a darker, techno-inspired tree lately. This one will be packed, so get there early.

Casisdead

CASISDEAD - Sugar Free (Live) | Vevo ctrl

When and where: 18:45, Beacon Hall

Casisdead is currently enjoying a much deserved renaissance, having released hard-hitting rap cuts with an 80s dark wave aesthetic since the mid 2010s, and finally releasing his debut album last year. Keeping anonymous with a series of masks ranging from nightmarish to the uncanny, the Tottenham-based rapper’s voice is inimitable, spitting clever word play with a nonchalant force.

Maria Uzor

Maria Uzor - Ventolin

When and where: 22:45, Bridgehouse Stage

One half of dance-punk duo Sink Ya Teeth, Norwich-based Maria Uzor’s solo output is also heavy on the groove, with an ominous energy that’s calling for an out-of-body experience. Stick on ‘Prophylactics for Pterodactyls’, shut your eyes, and see for yourself.

L’Rain

L'Rain - Pet Rock (Official Video)

When and where: 16:00, Strange Brew (Room 1)

Since 2017, New York multi-instrumentalist Taja Cheek has been making prog-pop that shape-shifts between samples, experimental instrumentals and scintillating melodic moments. L’Rain‘s 2023 album, I Killed Your Dog, was the finest realisation of this sound yet, following its own curiosity and backed with satisfying psych rock jams.

Antony Szmierek

Antony Szmierek - Dance Better

When and where: 16:30, SWX

Inspired by Real Lies and The Rhythm Method, Manchester’s Antony Szmierek’s spoken word lines are delivered with the bittersweet sentiment of a voice message to an ex, while the club-tinged beats pull you back onto the dancefloor like a supporting hug from a mate.

Viji

Viji - Karaoke (Official Music Video)

When and where: 17:30, Rough Trade

Pairing a 90s grunge aesthetic with poppy choruses, Vanilla Jenner a.k.a Viji is a name music lovers need to have on their radar. Having recently supported Citizen on their UK tour, the Speedy Wonderground signing has plenty of emo-tinged belters of her own.

Borough Council

When and where: 15:30, Rough Trade

Admittedly their name might not sound initially exciting, but this new group from Hastings really do reel you in with their driving and hypnotic kraut-rock style. There are currently only two songs online to go by, but you’ll want to head into town early to see this trio.

Sam Evian

Sam Evian - Rollin' In (Official Video)

When and where: 17:15, Lantern Hall

Returning to the UK from his creative hotspot in the Catskills in upstate New York, polymath producer (Big Thief, Cass McCombs, Blonde Redhead) and folk-rocker Sam Evian is frankly one of the biggest must-sees of the festival. His last LP, Time To Melt, was an exquisitely produced gem made up of groovy psych rock jams, and his upcoming project filled with crunchy 70s Americana is due to release in March.

Jeshi

Jeshi feat. Obongjayar - Protein (Official Video)

When and where: 22:30, Lantern Hall

There’s something infectious about the beats backing London rapper Jeshi, particularly when he collaborates with Obongjayar and Fredwave. But don’t let them lull you away from the sharp, sobering effect of his lyrics that diarise the realities of working class Britain.

HONESTY

When and where: 20:30, Rough Trade

Partisan signees HONESTY are another example of Simple Things’ eclectic and unpredictable acts – their debut EP, WHERE R U, meanders from spoken word-laden post rock (‘MR. SPEAKER’ to bouncy, kaleidoscopic IDM (‘U&I’). The Leeds collective’s have only just begun performing live, so their festival performance is an important landmark.

Cousin Kula

Cousin Kula - Hanging On Your Lips (Official Video)

When and where: 20:15, Bridgehouse Stage

One of Bristol’s own, these smooth operators are trusted to bring a cosmic and dynamic blend of jazz, psych and grooves to the festival stage.


Simple Things takes place across various Bristol venues on Saturday 24 February – limited tickets are available here.