Bristol Theatre News

Bristol Music: Seven Decades of Sound at M Shed Bristol

Bristol Music: Seven Decades of Sound at M Shed Bristol
M Shed

19 May – 30 September 2018

Does Bristol have its own sound? It’s a question you’re asked as you wander around this fantastic new exhibition at M Shed.

Somehow, the installation has perfectly captured the essence of the 90s music scene with its Bearpit Replay Records feel and hazy recollections of the Ashton Court Festival when it was brilliant.

It’s a bit of a rabbit warren of corners, music, with the gritty unpolished feel of Bristol in the years before gentrification and Cabot Circus. The time when any teenager could pick up a crappy guitar, mic and play a gig at The Louisiana – so glad camera phones weren’t around in 1995.

Is there a Bristol sound? It’s more of a Bristol feel.

Bristol Sound is the smell of warm beer on scratchy grass at Ashton Court.
It’s a quiet gig on a Thursday evening at the Grain Barge.
It’s the sweat dripping from the walls at The Fleece.
It’s the smell of dark corners in the Bearpit where Replay used to thrive.
The feel of DMs on sticky carpets and ringing ears at 2am in the city centre.

Bristol Sound was the Bierkeller on a school night echoing Strangelove and Portishead.
The old Thekla with its vibrating toilet doors, quiet that week because Glastonbury was on.
Radio Caroline rebooting and drinking Red Stripe at the Blue Mountain where the bouncers were really precious about grubby seats.

Bristol Sound was stopping at 3am in Stokes Croft to look at new street artist Banksy’s bold statements and buying kebabs at Rita’s.

It was the clouds of cider at the Bristol Regatta with the rich sounds of Wurzels, balloons dotted the sky and crashed into housing estates.

Somehow, with some chipboard, low lighting and record shop layout, M Shed has perfectly captured for us exactly what Bristol Sound is. A culturally rich time which paved the way for some of the biggest names in the music and art world against a backdrop of fag ridden pub air and happy hour lager.

Definitely worth a look.

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