— 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.
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.
Next Up is a new dawn for hip-hop in Bristol - recent bookings like JD. Reid and Black Josh Ape stick out from the rent-a-mic verse merchants at your local boozer: this is UK rap, and it's raw.
Just Banco rolls into The Loco Klub for their next missive - baiting UK road police and 'youd do better in America' advice on his latest
Bristol dubwise institution Green King Cuts invites London's mighty King Alpha Sound System back for a community dance at Kuumba Centre, powered by the full stack Green King Soundsystem. For our money, along with King Earthquake and local operators Kai Dub, King Alpha is the best dub producer of the post-Iration Steppas age - these are year 4000 cuts with heavy bass for the militant dancers and righteous movers!
Get down on Saturday for this energetic session with real grounded food from Ital Garden Caribbean Vegan Cafe and fresh cuts for sale from the near-legendary Roots Hitek Muzik record stall.
🎫 Tickets for Saturday: hdfst.uk/E57778
Recognised as one of DJing's last true stylists, Vladimir Ivkovic has ushered in a return of sludgy psychedelics, pitch-bending, downright weirdness and fun (do you remember fun?) to dancefloors. Part of the Salon des Amateurs dynasty of world-conquering DJs (along with Lena Willikens and TOLOUSE LOW TRAX) - expect everything from alien electro, dense murky acid and wrongspeed trance.
On Friday, Phonic Locker welcome Vlad to The Island for an extended set of no-genre eclecticism - resident Sower will bring his own bag of downtempo wobblers to set the tone on warmup duties.
🎫 Tickets: hdfst.uk/E58552
How can you summarise what the Autonomic podcasts did to 00s bass music? After forever widening the parameters of dnb with DBridge, Instra:Mental are back, reunited by the release of the Timelines LP (their first in 8 years). Junglists, downtempo geeks and post-dubstep techno heads lay down your weapons, this Tuff Life session in The Loco Klub tunnels will unite us all.
A huge recommendation for fans of Andy Stott, Actress and Djrum - Boddika and Kid Drama will join Bristol native and Timedance favourite Laksa for widescreen UK bass music at its finest.
🎫 Tickets for November 8th: hdfst.uk/E56867
ANII's Bristol debut and 8 hours of LGBTQ friendly techno
Electronic music In Bristol
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.
Prepare to Make Breakcore Gay Again as Erektronica gathers some of the most ridiculous names in rave, from Pants and Socks to DJ Sucks to TOecUTTER all under one roof. Think Bang Face heights of hedonism without the bleakness of Pontins.
For their biggest party to date they're teaming up with Lemtek to take over The Loco Klub for a suitably weird hardcore party in The Tunnels. More highlights include Salander’s no-holds-bared melodic breakcore and SLIME TIME's interactive neon Slugtopia, along with sets from the Erektronica Allstar founders.
🎫 Tickets for Saturday: hdfst.uk/E57017
After a near-religious Teachings in Dub session last year, vanguards of that Leeds sound Iration Steppas Official return triumphant to Trinity Centre to rattle bones and minds with the heaviest subs to come outta the 90s.
Macky Banton's on the mic this time, he'll be calling for Indica Dubs all night in a huge clash in the original fashion (as the eye-popping poster graphics suggests). The London based system will have their work cut out, whoever wins - the crowd decides.
🎫 Final Release Tickets: hdfst.uk/E57223
Name me another DJ who can play slammers b2b with Ben UFO and drop 2019's dreamiest LP of ambient polyrhythms and cavernous textures on Whities? That's Leif for you though - busy building a cultish following with the heads every year at Freero; and being the deep Welsh house hero we desperately need in between Mood Hut releases.
Morse Audio reel him in to The Crofters Rights for their second party alongside residents Butterfly Effect and Milad.
🎫 Tickets for Tuesday: hdfst.uk/E56587
From dub and disco to donk and 140, Bristol's nightlife is wilder than ever. Broaden your club horizons with 6 of the best this month:
DNB & JUNGLE
Samurai Music x NOISE TEST
Local lad Clarity joins Homemade Weapons and Presha for a night of technoid breaks and rolling industrial drums.
DUB & REGGAE
30 years of Cosies!
Dubkasm / Teachings in Dub's Stryda heads a dancehall and roots takeover to celebrate a true landmark for Bristol's best loved basement.
140 & DUBSTEP
CNCPT Collective x Sub.mission
Trinity Centre will shake when Kahn goes b2b with a real master of 21st century lows-ends: System:Sound label head Vivek.
HOUSE & DISCO
With offbeat productions full of electro bleeps and sci-fi twangs; Rhythm Works welcome one of house's loosest characters back to Bristol.
TECHNO & ELECTRO
Set It Out w/ JD Twitch
An undeniable figurehead of Glasgow's fierce underground, the Optimo (Espacio) boss presents an extended history of bleep techno with Matt Anniss.
WORLD & JAZZ
Worm Disco Club 5th Birthday
After their all-conquering Glasto stage, WDC link with kindred souls of global groove Mr Bongo and Kongo Dia Ntotila to bring in 5 years of the wormhole!
The musical minds behind Boomtown join us for the weekend.
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.