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Simple Things festival review – neo-glam, power punk and the giddy glow of trance

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Various venues, Bristol
From HMLTD and IDLES to Nadine Shah and the British Paraorchestra, festival season wound down with a wildly eclectic lineup – and no need for wellies

With most British festivalgoers having packed the mermaid leggings away for another year, Bristol’s Simple Things gives wristband junkies one final hit by setting up shop across a number of the city’s indoor venues. Like the Great Escape, Tramlines and other similar ventures, national stereotypes about queuing are tested to their limits; on the plus side you don’t have to tape up your feet against welly-chafe.

The foyer of the Colston Hall – soon to be rebranded to exorcise the spectre of the slave trader it is named after – plays host to, in their words, “the most incongruous sight in the history of popular music”: neo-glam troupe HMLTD, who you suspect would rather be playing a Transylvanian castle orgy than a thoroughfare in a medium-sized arts venue. Dressed like Beetlejuice and the Lost Boys doing their Goldsmiths foundation year, they play not so much songs as flounces in sound, as frontman Henry Spychalski constantly beseeches the hipsters in the front rows, who studiously try not to fall in love with him.

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