Six acts to catch at Outer Town 2024

crowdsurfer at Outer Town festival in Bristol
@photosbylyds

Another month, another day festival for the city of Bristol to put in their ever-growing calendar. 

Having only opened its doors for the first time in 2022, Outer Town has rapidly become a highlight of the year for Bristolians itching to see some of the most hotly-tipped acts in the country play on their doorstep. Utilising some of the city’s more slept-on venues as their hub for the day as well as many long-running institutions, the festival takes over a large portion of the famous Old Market neighbourhood from the splendour of Trinity Centre to cosy throwback boozers like Elmer’s Arms.

With a rather congested schedule spanning eight venues in just one afternoon, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight just why the following six acts should be among your ‘must-sees’ of the day if you were even remotely considering attending (which you should)…

Getdown Services
Forever on the road and forever hell-bent on bringing the party with them, the Bristol/Manchester duo return for the third year running with their frankly ridiculous amalgamation of dance-punk, new wave and slacker anthems. The brainchild of Josh Law and Ben Sadler can often stray close to the vulgar and puerile, but their natural gift for humour frequently eclipses the material of many seasoned standups. Expect sudden shirtlessness, relentless pisstaking and a righteous vitriol towards late capitalism – this one’s about to go down in Trinity Centre folklore as one of the rowdiest sets they’re likely to ever see. 

Snapped Ankles
For all the time that Getdown Services are likely to spend underdressed, headliners Snapped Ankles are likely to counter that by being the most overdressed act of the day. Their onstage garb has changed a lot over the years (current vibe: Ent with a job in Screwfix), but their dedication to generating a stir with their krautrock-tinged insanity has never deviated far from when they first started out. The stage is set to be adorned with lots of modular synths masquerading as forest debris, and having not released a new album since 2021, it can be expected that there will be plenty of new material to get lost in.

Flip Top Head
Dubbing themselves as ‘orchestral cult rock’, this Brightonian seven piece have been hard to pin down since they began releasing via Blitzcat Records in early 2023. Flexing their proficiency in jazz, punk and cinematic experimentalism, Flip Top Head have a knack for leaving their audiences quaking in fear that armageddon is on the horizon with their apocalyptic soundscapes. Doomsday might not actually arrive after their show, but you can guarantee they’ll have a good go of blowing the roof off at the very least.

Sunglasz Vendor
Bristol has recently proven itself to be a fertile ground for splicing the DNA of various bands, especially those of a slight avant-garde persuasion, and the latest protoplasm to crawl from the genre genepool is Sunglasz Vendor. Made from members of Bingo Fury’s live band, Ex Agent and Grandchild, the trio specialise in fusing together sprawling slowcore and jittery art rock to accompany frontman Rafi Cohen’s verbose storytelling, and while the band are only in their infancy, there’s something fascinating about the way they deliver these knotty ideas in such a raw and uncompromising fashion.

Alien Chicks
Running from one wild trio into another, it’s very much worth sticking around for Alien Chicks who are likely to deliver around five different sets for the price of one. The South London band are chaotic to a fault, and encompass a range of styles you probably would never have imagined cited in the same sentence, let alone coherently performed in one song. Sure, it all comes back around with a slightly punkish edge to it, but to see them attempt and succeed at latin, country and ska flavours in the leadup to that is what’s truly fascinating. Not only will Alien Chicks grab your attention, they’ll do it several times over.

Vanity Fairy
Too much punkish anger in this selection? Maybe your nightcap before heading home (or to the afterparty, your call) ought to be in the psychedelic disco of Vanity Fairy, where fantasy and glamour all convene for one big bash. The artist herself is known for parading around as a human mirrorball, and you feel as though if more venues had light-up dancefloors she’d make excellent use of them, but in lieu of that you can guarantee she’ll utilise every millimetre of the room as her stage. If you fancy bopping about to some Kylie-esque bangers and watching a pub landlord freak out as a crazed silver woman walks along the bartop, then your night probably won’t get any better than this.

Are these not floating your boat? Here’s another five suggestions that might take your fancy…

Eve Appleton Band – rising folk star of the city who draws comparisons to Joanna Newsom and Vashti Bunyan

Ugly – gloriously ambitious prog-pop group with choral/folk influences and a penchant for multi-part songs

Opus Kink – Brighton’s other cavalcade of weirdos making discomfiting art rock on the lineup

Workfriends – with every single, the disjointed twang of the Sheffield band intensifies – and for the better

Flat Party possibly the first band since Suede to make writing glammed-up indie look this easy

featured image: @photosbylyds

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