Written for B24/7.
A handpicked selection of Bristol’s best music venues, and what to expect inside
Do not be fooled, Fresher: there is more than meets your naïve eye when it comes to a good Bristolian boogie. Look beyond the SU events page, SWX and the mediocre clubs of the Triangle. They can do the job, but don’t limit yourself during this fleeting, precious period. Instead, uncover the diverse array of venues which underpin the South West’s biggest music scene.
The Island // The Old Crown Courts
Once a police station, now an art space; this venue is an unorthodox but esteemed location for Bristolian music lovers. The gritty industrial complex, hardly untouched its terms of its previous use, now provides a unique backdrop for events. Whether it be ambient techno from Timedance or a groove-ridden night curated by Dropout Disco, the venue itself is enough excuse to immerse yourself musically amongst the souls of past convicts.
The Love Inn
Managed by the wonderful team responsible for Loves Saves the Day, The Love Inn provides a refreshingly intimate setting for impassionate techno lovers and more. With resident DJs from Livity Sound being the forerunners in the current scene, routinely securing slots alongside huge names like Midland, and on NTS Radio, Thursday nights especially are not to be missed. Be sure to get there early, though, it fills up fast.
Don’t miss: Late Night Tales with Bill Brewster @ The Love Inn, 27/09
The Crofters Rights
Across from The Love Inn, you’ll find The Crofters Rights, a cosy bar and gig space. Local produce characterises the venue in both its bookings and cider selections, with gig promoters such as Gravy Train and NNTS regularly bringing the country’s rawest alternative and indie sounds to Stokes Croft. If you’re looking for grungy guitars, a good pint, and possibly the odd disco night, Crofters is your go-to.
The Marble Factory
The lesser-known venue next to Bristol’s mammoth club Motion resides the Marble Factory; a smaller events space, but with audio and visual quality equal to its overarching counterpart. Unlike Motion, The Marble Factory cultivates a rare closeness between performer and audience for a venue with such sophisticated spec, and thus remains a trusted dwelling for U.K dates of reputable artists across varying genres. But don’t let this lead you to think the drinks will be any cheaper than its neighbour.
Don’t miss: BADBADNOTGOOD @ The Marble Factory, 15/10
Known most widely in the 90s, Lakota’s vast, dingy warehouse remains a hotspot for genres varying from Jungle to Acid Trance, enabling weekly ravers the opportunity to skank into the early hours. The space itself can be a maze to intoxicated newcomers, but its intriguing layout is accompanied by a constant revision of hypnotic décor, the best of which can be seen at Lakota’s monthly Tribe of Frog – an event worthy of regular attendance.
Like a younger sibling of Lakota: Blue Mountain is an obligatory weekly stop for Drum and Bass fans, with Tuesdays playing host to popular night, Dazed. Restricted in size and capacity, but with impressive indoor visuals, Blue Mountain is a workable insight for those attracted to this scene.
If any venue is to be championed as a hub for new music, it’s within the family-run walls of The Louisiana. In a snug, carpeted room above this humble harbour-side pub, The Louisiana frequently introduces new and noteworthy names to Bristol while also promoting local talent. If an artist unbeknown to you sells out here – get to know them – quickly.
Don’t miss: Savoy Motel @ The Louisiana, 19/10