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Colston Hall in 2014…

It’s that time of year with Christmas round the corner and 2015 just ahead we thought we’d pull together some of Team Colston Hall’s highlights… compiled by our Youth Voice Assistant, Abi Ward. 

23rd February – Bristol New Music – musikFabrik

This was a UK premiere for musikFabrik. Recreating Harry Partch’s delicate instruments that have never visited the UK before and then exactly performing his seminal work “And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma” from the 60s. A spectacular show!

1st March – Bonobo

UK Producer Simon Green went on tour following the release of his fifth studio album as Bonobo “The North Borders”. The show had special guests that featured on the album as well as providing the Hall with visuals and lights it rarely gets to see. He’s currently touring in India so we were lucky to catch him while he’s hot!

2nd April – Atomic Bomb: Who Is William Onyeabor?

Sinkane, Money Mark (Beastie Boys), Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), The Lijadu Sisters, Ghostpoet are all just a few names in the mega performance which only occurred twice in the UK, so we were so lucky to host this once in a lifetime event at the Hall. Onyeabor is the great synth pioneer who self-released eight nearly impossible-to-find albums between 1978 and 1985 in south-eastern Nigeria. He then became a born-again Christian and refused to speak about himself or his music. In 2013 David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label released the compilation, Who Is William Onyeabor?, to great acclaim after a frustrating five-year search to track the musician down. This show celebrated the mystery and genius of the man, playing his music live for the first time ever.

10th April – Psycho live!

The famous Hitchcock film Psycho was performed with the British Sinfonietta  giving a live orchestral accompaniment back in April, which only added to the cinematic experience. It was a surprise to realise how well you recognise the soundtrack but that didn’t detract you from what was on screen, especially when it got to the infamous shower scene in the film! We even saw a few of you dress up for the occasion!

23rd April – Angie Stone (The Lantern)

To present  a neo-soul and R&B legend in our little Lantern would be unimaginable, but you bet ya, we got her there! With a sell out crowd, everyone was singing Angie’s hits right back to her. What a pleasure she was.

9th May – Oliver Wilde (The Lantern)

Oliver Wilde performance

Local Bristol boy Oliver Wilde did a tour earlier this year and brought him and his friends to The Lantern. With all the support he’s had from BBC’s 6 Music and the festival scene, I’m sure it won’t be long until we see him on our big stage!

6th June – Flying Lotus and Thundercat

A show brought to us from those fellas that bring us the great Simple Things festival, a rare outing on the UK shores! This show was a combination of awesome visuals, incredible sound and just made the main Hall look amazing. Flylo himself was sandwiched between two projector screens for our viewing pleasure.

1st/8th August, 6th September – MixRadio Terrace Sessions

This was a series of summer Terrace sessions in combination with MixRadio. Over the three events on our terrace we had Gilles Peterson, Crazy P, Ill Blu and then the last one with a local party with those Pardon My French boys! And for at least two out of three events the great British weather was on our side. Definitely a highlight

16th September – Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra

The Orchestra Symphonique Kimbanguiste and their choir from the Democratic Republic of Congo is miraculous and uplifting. Against the most extraordinary odds, in a country known for its extreme poverty and violence, conductor Armand Diangienda has proved that music can provide hope and inspiration. An orchestra coming to the UK not speaking a word of English and combining with local orchestras to recreate a concert programme of Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Sibelius Finlandia, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 Choral Symphony as well as Traditional Congolese Music. It just went to show, no matter what language you speak, we can all be joined through the power of music!

The Kinshasa musicians worked with our young people on an original score called The Hunt, the result of which can be seen in this short video.

19th September – First Aid Kit

Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit, aka sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg, started songwriting as teenagers, but first came to real prominence in 2008 when their cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Pleasant Song’ went viral on YouTube. After a thrilling summer of festival performances we caught these ladies on their way home, again, similar to a few other artists on this list, this may be the last time you see these girls in a venue of our size!

25th October – Simple Things Festival

The return of Simple Things 2014 was bigger and louder than ever. Performances from Mogwai, Liars, Nightmares On Wax, How To Dress Well, Haxan Cloak to name a few and that was just at our place! Friends O2 Academy over the road had the likes of Death From Above 1979 and Black Lips. As you can imagine it was huge!

You can watch the awesome Mogwai performance again here

8th November – Phillip Glass Ensemble

Over a weekend in conjunction with the Watershed and St George’s we had “Glassfest”. Considering it can be quite challenging to listen to we had a near sell out performance.  He performed his retrospective programme from pre 1984, and by the end had everyone up on their feet. Another pleasure to have at the Hall.

20th November – Tanya Lacey (The Lantern)

A Bristol born singer back in her hometown for another intimate show. Tanya who recently featured on tracks including working with Bondax, Danny Byrd and Labyrinth to name a few, as well as writing his songs for the likes of Rhianna, will.i.am and The Saturdays. She’ll be one to look out for over the next couple of years – expect to hear her own album out and about very soon.

25th November – John Grant with Royal Northern Sinfonia

It’s been an extraordinary journey for John Grant, from a point where he thought he would never make music again, or escape a life of substance abuse, to winning awards and accolades. We welcomed John and the Royal Northern Sinfonia and their amazing production. Staff and the audience went away saying it was the best gig, not that they’ve just seen at Colston Hall, but ever. And they’re probably right, it was quite an experience.

30th November – Jaga Jazzist (The Lantern)

For a production that should have been in our main Hall because of the size of it, Jaga Jazzist was a squeeze, but just about got them in (and all their lights!) It was just two hours of great noise and a pleasure to have such an appreciative audience in. We want more of Jaga.

13th December – Peter and The Wolf and The Snowman

Last but not least, to end our year on something super Christmassy and lovely. We had Sanjeev Bhaskar narrating Peter and the Wolf alongside the Welsh National Opera playing Prokofiev. It was noticed some children were a bit wriggly throughout P&TW but as soon as The Snowman came on screen they were glued! Breathtaking!

Do you agree? What were your highlights of 2014 at Colston Hall? Dont forget you can look through our past shows on our digital archive found here 

We’d like to with you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.