The Brunswick Club
In recent years, Bristol queer platform Thorny and the Howling Owl record label have both championed outsider art, bringing peripheral music and performance into focus and invigorating Bristol’s creative scene.
A marrying of minds, Thorny and Howling Owl collided to host a night of ‘necessary release’. Entitled COIL, it was hosted at the Brunswick Club, a repurposed working men’s club just off the Stokes Croft area that’s now inhabited by local artist collectives.
There was a sense of dilapidated glamour to the upstairs room that functioned as a performance and party space, while its basement (and bowling alley) was transformed, with the use of some superbly aggressive lighting, into a moody venue. During the first half of the night, gender-fucking performance artist Travis Alabanza and ‘apocalyptic post-drag icon’ David Hoyle held court with ease, with Hoyle ending of his performance with a passionate address to the crowd, encouraging individualism and a rejection of traditional machismo, a sentiment enjoyed by the packed room.
Following the joyfulness expressed upstairs, the contrast of the blinding lights of the basement with the noise oblivion of Klein and Yves Tumor was, even for the open-minded sort, a juxtaposition of brutal proportion. After intense electronics and unusual vocal loops from Klein, a particularly fired-up Yves Tumour punished the ears with music that ranged from noise to techno and something approaching gabber, screaming as he threw himself into the crowd and attacked the basement’s low ceiling.
There was a unique spectacle to COIL that brought a diverse crowd (including, inexplicably, Titanic bad guy and Twin Peaks star Billy Zane) together, uniting them with a sense of joyful chaos. Let’s hope COIL returns for more sensory playtime in the near future.
Words: Jenny Duffy and Thomas Frost