Gig Review: Harry and the Gondolas at 123space 1/3/16
by Polly Hember
Harry and the Gondolas are a Bristol-based nu-folk trio made up of the young and insanely talented Harry Gould, Bubba Erikson and Samuel Snell. On the Beat caught them as they played their first Bristol gig since 2015, having been penning new songs and roaming round oz on their Australian tour. In collaboration with Spire Music, they showcased new songs as Bristol welcomed them back in a warm and intimate gig, filled to burst with friends and family.
Harry and the Gondolas at 123space Stokes Croft. Photography by Sarah Hill.
Their captivating strain of alternative folk found an enjoyable middle ground between tender, sparse acoustics and a fuller, Mumfordian, foot-stomping sound. Erikson’s bass guitar plucked out rhythms which supported Gould’s fast-paced guitar-strumming and folky vocals, spurred on by Snell’s energetic Cajon drumming. The harmonies of their three voices created pleasing and nuanced levels of intensity to each song, resulting in an accomplished yet refreshingly raw performance.
They chose 123space, tucked away in lively Stokes Croft, to showcase their new songs. This was an intimate venue, full of exposed beams and rafters, over which they had draped kaleidoscopically coloured curtains and pinned fairy lights across the walls. A gaggle of people sat on the wooden floor in front of the small stage, whilst others relaxed on sofas and chairs on the edges of the small room. Support came from Emma Shoosmith and Mark Nichols – we were lucky enough to catch Nichols play the last couple of songs of his set. With his finger-picking guitar and hypnotic vocals, he set the relaxed tone of the evening. The informal atmosphere of this hired space with its BYOB policy contributed to a truly relaxed evening, allowing the small but enthusiastic audience to fully appreciate the music being played.
Harry and the Gondolas set was carefully measured, drifting from subdued, tender melodies into slightly more face-paced, rhythmic ones. The sense of support, collaboration and community in their audience was palpable; Bristol musicians Joe Probert and Jack Cookson jumped up from the crowd at separate points throughout the set to contribute percussion, vocals and a lively harmonica solo, respectively. ‘No Country For Old Men’ and a raw rendition of ‘What Would Your Mother Say’ which was performed unplugged were the highlights of the evening, topped only by the upbeat encore which saw them playfully cover Amy Macdonald’s ‘This Is The Life’, which slipped playfully into a folky and fun ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’. Cajoled up off their feet by an excited Erikson, this last song saw everyone on their feet for a last dance.
Harry and the Gondolas are definitely one to catch live; their dynamic harmonies and upbeat on-stage energy made for an enjoyable and relaxed night. Bristol should be very happy to have them back from down under, and its occupants should look out for their next performance.
Have a listen youself to Harry and the Gondolas on Bandcamp and YouTube, and keep tabs on them via facebook and twitter.
Check out the Gondolas' support Emma Shoosmith to catch her next performance in Bristol.
Wonder over to Mark Nichol's soundcloud to check out his dark, finger-picking folk.
Jack Cookson, fantastic-chance-harmonica-player that he is, is pretty good with a guitar as well. Check out his website, soundcloud and YouTube to listen to his music, and keep an eye out for his gigs in Bristol and Plymouth.