— All Bristol's electronic & dance music listings.
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Bristol’s best club nights
Dance music dominates Bristol’s musical landscape with the city’s electronic music producers and DJs considered some of Bristol’s finest exports. Outsiders and bloggers frequently fail to understand Bristol’s dance music, using resorting to sweeping statements about dubstep, disco or house music or cringe-inducing references to the ‘Bristol Sound’. The truth is that Bristol’s musical integrity is a direct result of sheer variety and the passion of individuals working in the music scene today.
Like Manchester’s Warehouse Project, Motion is the first nightclub many visitors to Bristol will be introduced to. While Headfirst is generally focused around the city’s smaller nights and event, the value Motion adds to Bristol’s musical culture in undeniable. The ability to book DJ’s like Ricardo Villalobos and Laurent Garnier or live acts like Moderat, inspires the next generation of promoters that will bring their own talent to venues like Blue Mountain and Lakota.
Motorcity - Motown, Soul, Funk, Disco & Rock 'n' Roll
Buy club tickets
Since 2016 clubbers have been able to buy tickets for events at venues like Coroner’s Court, Lakota and The Small Horse here on Headfirst. We work directly with the club promoters providing an ethical and independent place to buy your club tickets. Headfirst provides barcode-based club night tickets which are scanned by staff outside nightclubs and venues in Bristol on a nightly basis.
DJ Culture & Nightlife
Stokes Croft’s Idle Hands record shop has earned international recognition from both international and Bristol DJs and is frequently listed alongside Rush Hour Records and Public Possession as one of Europe’s best sources of electronic music. The rise of house music (and with it disco) has seen the club focus begin to shift from headline producers to experienced djs and record collectors. Where true DJ bookings were once the domain of small niche nightclubs like Cosies and Take 5 Cafe, recently promoters like Odo and Boogie Nights have brought international dance music purveyors to larger venues like Bristol’s Old Crown Courts and The Island’s prison cells. Clubbers rush to buy Dropout Disco tickets before the full line-up is announced while Dirty Talk and Alfresco Disco’s innovative approach to the typical ‘nightclub venue’ sells out on the promoter’s reputation alone.
Flitting between high-speed acid jams, dark techno pieces and lo-fi electro cuts, Legowelt Music’s live shows are defined by his affinity for the imperfect, crafting off-kilter, oddball breaks that continue to bewilder hardware nerds and ravers alike. Pushing the boundaries of experimental electronics, Danny’s no stranger to synthesis, building his own ‘sentient Star Shepherd’ from scratch.
Catch the electro wizard live in The Loco Klub's cavernous tunnels alongside local talent DJ October and Gallegos for one of French Kiss's most boundary-pushing line-ups yet.
🎫 Final Tickets: hdfst.uk/E50425
Nebula invite breakbeat-house poster boy The Burrell Connection to The Crofters Rights on January 30th.
Underground favourites of La Cheetah Club, Craigie Knowes and the wider Glasgow scene, their twisted Analog-driven cuts are full of raw energy, emotive pads, 808 basslines and huge breaks.
🎫 Tickets: hdfst.uk/E50626
Hodge and Mor Elian play their second back to back session at The Black Swan this month, following an explosive first encounter in London last November. A pioneer of the ‘Bristol sound’ that’s taken techno by storm, Hodge returns home after his latest release for Livity Sound with Laurel Halo. A staggering showcase of high-speed, rolling techno, the EP’s trippy synths flicker against backdrops of dubby, washed-out textures and grating industrial rhythms.
Like her counterpart, Israeli-born selector Mor Elian wears her influences on her sleeve, fusing electro, rave and acid influences. Sparks will fly when these these two experimental talents collide at Method LAB on 25th Jan with Metrist and Akiko Haruna in support.
🎫 Tickets: hdfst.uk/E50251
Parisian selector Raphael Top-Secret brings a packed bag of dancefloor obscurities to Lakota - Bristol for the first of Deep Discs’ 2019 Spring Series. A close affiliate of Music From Memory boss Jamie Tiller, the selector’s oddball sensibilities saw him enlisted to co-curate the label’s 2017’s Uneven Paths compilation, whilst his afro edit ‘Owhaaou!’ made a star appearance on Hunee’s seminal Hunchin All Night comp in 2018.
Drawing from an extensive pool of wide-reaching influences, Raphael’s DJ sets inject a dose of summer sunshine to the darkest of winter nights, spanning from lilting lover’s rock to pumping disco cuts, balearic warmers and unknown 80s house gems.
🎫 Tickets: hdfst.uk/E50344
Experimental dance music and boundary-pushing techno will always be found in Bristol’s smaller club venues. The Island’s cells space for example, continues to provide opportunities for new promoters that have vision beyond simply booking a DJ and running a publicity campaign. With no permanent sound system or DJ equipment, the old prison cells is blank canvas club - at it’s very best when an innovative event organiser puts in the time to transform the whole dancefloor space.
New Years Eve at the Swan is all about heavy-sub cross-genre niceness from the Psyched collective, pulling together local dub and steppas outlets Hold Tight Records and Dub From Above with DnB/Neurofunk firestarters Suck My Donk and the ruthless kicks, snares and bass of Kurrupt Recordings' Falling Abyss
Click the link for full lineup and maybe some £10 tickets if you're quick:
🎫 TICKETS: hdfst.uk/E50462
All 3 rooms of the Swan will be running things into the red with 3 heavyweight sounds; RC1, NSL Sound Void and Firmly Rooted. It's a family thing, at Bristol most notorious venue celebrating the best of Bristols underground music culture with the promise of 3 secret headliners still to be announced.
TEACHINGS FROM THE DUB MASTERS: CHANNEL ONE
There's many lessons to be learnt at Trinity Centre on Friday from survivors of UK reggae Channel One Sound System. 30 years holding ground at Notting Hill with a box of dubplates to match, this sound brings the name of Kingston's legendary Channel One Records into new decades and new scenes.
Far from 'just a roots/dub' sound system: Channel One nights are a journey - running the full gauntlet through steppas and onto harder sounds. Their Dub to Dubstep and Dub to Jungle tours paired them with RSD, Kromestar and Congo Natty (as well as beating Metalheadz and Boy Better Know and the Red Bull Culture Clash). So it's a dream partnership to see them hosted by Teachings in Dub, whose close ties with everything dubstep in Bristol has let to infamous dub crossover nights with Bandulu and Deep Medi.
Your masters of ceremony are innovators and icons in their own right, Mikey Dread & Ras KAYLEB.
🎫 Tickets: hdfst.uk/E50058
Also Known As light up your Monday night with an overdue homecoming headline from Young Echo's resident finger on the dials: Ishan Sound. Operating somewhere high up in murky post-dubstep ground of low-end, steppas influenced grime and dancehall takes on 140, Ishan's registered thundering anthems on Peng Sound and TectonicRecordings that stand shoulders above many Stokes Croft imitators.
Known best for his live desk dub mixes and thunderous vocal cuts with fellow Young Echo man-on-mic Rider Shafique, Ishan is Bristol through and through. Recent 12" takes on Hotline Recordings and Sector 7 Sounds hint at new developments to his signature sound - those making roads to The Crofters Rights on Monday will be rewarded in full.
🎫 Tickets: hdfst.uk/E49935
Driven by the notion that raves should be places of dark and dizzying eccentricity, upsammy favours trippy, oddball soundscapes over floor-ready dance cuts. Though upsammy's sets shift slowly from psychedelic, washed-out ambience to slamming electro cuts and fierce drum and bass, she crafts her signature sound through a commitment to the unheimlich.
Behind the controls at De School, this Amsterdammer has taken the time and space to develop into one of today’s most defiant and intriguing selectors. And if that wasn't enough...Housework still have the highest calibre residents in the BS-postcode (take a bow Shanti Celeste, Gramrcy, Daisy Moon and Golesworthy).
🎫 Tickets: hdfst.uk/E48905
We're back for ROUND 2, bringing with us some of the top selectas to entertain and educate the people.
Alternative Spaces and New Club Venues
One of the main strengths to Bristol's club scene is it's relentless dynamism, every year enthusiastic new promoters bring new experiences to the table. Unlike raves of the previous decades, new events shirk the crusty, rebellious connotations of free party culture in favour of organised, party-centric events in interesting locations.