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Review: Katy J Pearson at Thekla, Bristol

Moored in the Mud Dock area of Bristol’s Floating Harbour, is a curious place where young bands arrive one-by-one to cut their teeth in the city’s talent-rich indie music scene. Many acts have walked trembling through its doors and shortly thereafter, exited as braver beings- a testament to the impact of the humble independent venue’s inviting atmosphere.

This melting pot is Thekla, the South-West’s static cruise ship that has the power to change the tides for a profusion of local talent. On the bill in this chilly January mist are Quade, Honeyglaze and Katy J Pearson; an eclectic trio that promises a night of janky poetic Art-Rock, lucid Indie, and upbeat Folk respectively.

Appearing out of the boat’s underbelly first is Bristol’s own Quade. Their left-field violin-soaked Shoegaze is a cerebral watch, opening the show with a stark presence that evolves willingly into a chatty cadence. Bringing a near medieval melody to the room, their experimental Art-Rock ripples and pulls the crowd into its lull- garnering an intense concentration from the buzzing audience.

Tamed and lassoed by the loose rhythms of Quade, London’s Honeyglaze float onto the stage; offering us a slice of something more structured, intense and visceral. Having recently announced their debut album, there is a subterranean fanfare as they appear. Dishing out the serene Soft-Rock aplenty, tied in a neat bow by vocalist Anouska Sokolow’s colloquial lines and candid delivery, their latest single ‘Shadows’, garners an understandable murmur but ‘Burglar’ tops the show off with it’s sly, relatable Indie allure.

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Hailing from the West-Country herself, Cirencester’s Katy J Pearson takes a triumphant walk to the stage with her band in tow. The glittering set is peppered with unreleased tracks, and a youthful exuberance highlighting releases from her 2020 record: ‘Return’. Mid-set we were greeted by a joyous rendition of ‘Howl’ with the effervescent Orlando Weeks (formerly of The Maccabees), performing a buoyant running man on stage as the mic danced around his restless lips. A lot can be said for the band too; tight, engaging and willing to improvise when the opportunity arose, decorating each track with an assortment of cowbells, tambourines and horns.

It is evident that Katy J Pearson is both an individual, and a transgressive collective. United in the groove of affable Folk roots, and reliant on the talent of its members to deliver their fresh Folk-Rock. Thekla is a known playground for these new ideas to explore and flourish, but here in her domain, Katy blossoms.

Photos by Will Benson

The new issue of So Young is out now. In Issue Thirty-Five we speak to Yard Act, Just Mustard, Warmduscher, Surfbort, VLURE, Pozi, Henry Carlyle, M(h)aol, Porchlight, Automotion and Los Bitchos. Order your copy here or read the digital edition below.