Bristol might have been deemed the UK’s most musical city¹, but are you aware of quite how many incredible artists call it home? In this guide we’ll look at Bristol’s best homegrown talent, how they started and where they are now…
Arguably the biggest band to hail from Bristol, Massive Attack have been releasing incredible tracks since 1988. After a hiatus they returned to the music scene in 2016 with an unforgettable gig at Clifton Down.
Andrew ‘Mushroom’ Vowles and Grant ‘Daddy G’ Marshall were DJs who joined up with Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja - a street artist - to form Massive Attack in 1988. The trio had been part of The Wild Bunch, a sound system collective from the St Pauls area of Bristol.
In 2006, claims were made that 3D was the secret artist Banksy, as a journalist discovered a link between when the artwork appears and Massive Attack gigs. 3D denied it, telling the Mail Online: “Rumours of my secret identity are greatly exaggerated. He (Banksy) is a mate as well, he's been to some of the gigs. It's purely a matter of logistics and coincidence”
Today, Daddy D and 3D are a duo, with Mushroom no longer in the line-up. Throughout their long music career, they have released five albums which have sold over 11 million copies.
Often referred to as the pioneers of trip hop music, Portishead formed in Bristol in 1991. They chose their name from the town they grew up in, Portishead, which is eight miles west of Bristol.
Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley have been together ever since, but did have a hiatus between 1999 and 2005. They have released three albums, with the first, Dummy, being a critics favourite. They have played Glastonbury three times, in 1995, 1998 and 2013. Up until 2015, they were performing gigs at festivals worldwide.
Dan Pearce (Eats Everything) is one of the UK’s most popular DJs. It was his 2011 Entrance Song that brought him to the forefront and he has collaborated with the likes of Justin Martin, Worthy and Idiotproof.
When he first started out, he played at Club Loco Bristol before becoming the resident DJ for the Bristol night Ripsnorter. He explained to Bristol Live: “My first big set in Bristol was at Club Loco in Stokes Croft, which has since closed. I won a DJ competition run by a bar on Nelson Street – which is also now shut – and the prize was a set at Loco. If it weren’t for that opportunity I might not be where I am today.”
He might perform worldwide now but he keeps coming back to Bristol to play in unusual venues. He’s played a set in a Bristol chip shop, diner and bakery to raise money for local charities.
With his distinctive voice, George Ezra has taken the world by storm. His musical journey started at the Bristol Institute of Modern Music and he performed on Bristol’s open mic circuit before securing solo gigs at The Gallimaufry.
He might have been born in Hertford, but the city he spent his student days in has his heart. He told ITV back in 2015 “I moved here (Bristol) four or five years ago and I’m looking to move back here one day… I just feel at home here. It’s strange to find it in a town you’ve not grown up in. I really do love this town.”
When he was asked what it is like to play for Bristol audiences he replied: “Bristol audiences are always fun.”
In May 2018, he announced a huge UK tour that would see him perform fourteen dates in thirteen cities, but sadly Bristol wasn’t one of them!
If you’re a huge music fan and haven’t visited Bristol yet, what are you waiting for? It’s a wonderful, vibrant city and you’re bound to fall in love with it, just like George!