last weekend was spent in Bristol. A weekend with a mate of mine who normally comes to the winter ATP festival. We’ve found over the last few years we’ve enjoyed ATP less, or more that the experience has changed. While travel to Mineheads Butlins is much easier and quicker for myself, it also means the whole weekend is to be spent in a place with all the atmosphere of a motorway services. The accommodation might be a bit better but the venues are also much, much bigger and the price has crept up and up too. We’ve probably spent more time on the last two visits drinking and catching up in Minehead and Dunster than we have watching the bands. Its kind of a shame as its a great line up this year. Anyway, we figured we’d just have a cheap weekend away, catch some music and have a few beers somewhere else… and thats just what we did.

We landed a decently priced room at the Radisson Blu Bristol via* which turned out to be pretty nice. Great views of the city, friendly staff and a complimentary soft drink on arrival. Win all round. Only bad points were the two lifts for the whole hotel, one of which had a mind of its own and a lack of choice on the radio stations via the TV – I’ve noticed Travellodge are the same, I do miss my 6Music/BBC7 when I’m away sometimes.

The weather was, well…

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Pretty wet for the most part, but we had a good walk round. Was sorry to see all the record shops gone from Park Street now and also to find out that the Bag o Nails pub is closed these days. But theres still loads going on there, we had hoped to catch Sid Griffins Coal Porters band who were due to play but unfortunately the gig got called off. I had a list of things still that looked worth seeing, one night we saw The Crowns, enjoyable though the venue was pretty empty which lost it some atpmosphere and led to a shortish set I think. In fact the whole town seemed a lot less busy than I remembered things.

After getting soaked all day Friday we dried out in the The Rose of Denmark which is a lot nicer than I remembered it a few years ago and had a lovely roaring fire and a view to rival Spaghetti Junction, thats a good thing to my mind. Sadly there was much discussion of where to put the TVs in the pub the following day so it might have lost some charm by now. We then stopped off at the Grain Barge purely for the novelty of drinking on a boat. We must’ve liked it as we stuck around there all night. Great fun.

Grain Barge, Mardyke Wharf, Bristol

Saturday we had a great breakfast at the Mud Dock cafe which set us up for the day. We were planning a trip to Bath for the day, but, after getting ripped off something rotten buying a drink at Temple Meads from WHSmiths we boarded a train to Western. The sun was out, it was chilly but sunny. I forgot it was the new pier. Heres a photo of it.

Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare

It was mad noisy inside and there was nowhere to stand to take it all in. It was packed though you would stop to look at something and get rammed with a push chair. The pint of novelty ‘Grand Bier’ was a bit grim unfortunately but a pint of ale on a sunny seafront in November is still a pint of ale in the sun.

The Infesticons featuring Mike Ladd and Juice Aleem

Back to Bristol for a will we/won’t we gig at the Croft. I was quite keen as it was Mike Ladd who I remember enjoying a lot at an early ATP (gone full circle there) but it wasn’t cheap and we were a bit late getting there. However the rest of Stokes Croft was pretty busy so we chanced our arms. Boy am I glad we did. The Infesticons featuring Mike Ladd and Juice Aleem completely blew the place apart. There wasn’t a great crowd, there was a big Ninja Tune XX gig in Bristol the same night so a small crowd of us watched in awe as the three Infesticons played one of the most high energy sets I’ve seen in a fair while., it was awesome. There followed a few late night beers and a Sunday train journey home. Which meant a two hour change at Worcesters Shrub Hill station where everything is closed and broken and there is nowhere warm to sit.

All in all was a very enjoyable weekend. So anyway, thats the blog caught up to date. Best get on with some drawing…

*Had the most bizarre series of emails from an ‘SEO’ optimiser/expert working for the holiday company over that link.