The abandoned police cells in the bowels of Bristol’s The Island at Bridewell arts complex again provide the subterranean domain for an evening of utterly uncompromising live/club music actions, with a line-up worth doing time for. Featuring an ultra-rare, intense and intimate Bristol appearance by Shackleton, undisputed mind-altering master in the realm of dancefloor dark arts; a hometown live showing by Vessel to toast the scuzzed-out wonders of his new album Punish, Honey: the righteous return of BUNKER resident Container after his anvil drop of a set last time round alongside Cut Hands and Blood Music, plus rhythmic noise detonations from local juvenile offenders Giant Swan.
Berlin-based Brit Sam Shackleton arrived at dubstep’s mid-noughties tipping point into lunkhead sub-woofer oblivion, and pushed it deep down his own darkened well of viral low-end infection, sinuous percussion and alien sonics till its form was but a shrouded ghost in the murk. The utterly singular productions, remixes and on-point collaborations he has consistently fired out over the past ten years, be it via his seminal Skull Disko imprint, his later vehicle Woe To The Septic Heart or a host of other choice platforms including Honest Jons and Mordant, have built up the kind of unstoppable, imperious momentum in UK bass music culture that King Tubby did in seventies dub…all delivered, like his devastatingly propulsive live shows, with a quiet militancy that betrays the Lancashire milltown boy reared on The Stooges, Can, Throbbing Gristle and Faust.
Vessel is producer and Young Echo collective co-founder Seb Gainsborough, and this trip to the cells is the pitch-perfect backdrop to present Bristol, the zone he calls home, with the mutant live form of ‘Punish, Honey’, his scabrous, toxic-hearted second full-length release, greeting the world via Tri-Angle in September.
It feels like the music of Container, the stripped-down, beat-oriented electronic vehicle of Providence, RI’s Ren Schofield, was custom-designed to bounce fiercely around the narrow sonic prism of the Bunker dancefloor, piercing a couple of hundred crania along the way, and that’s why he’s coming him back for more.
Giant Swan is the errant sibling of Bristol psych miscreants The Naturals, and involves the guitar half of said band nurturing industrial techno, passages of heavy, blissed out drone and a shared love of repetition.
Bunker II is an uneasy alliance between Qu Junktions and Howling Owl