Bristol welcomed Haze Sessions back to The Passenger Shed on May 6 for another mini festival – a one-nighter of live performances by some serious up-and-coming talent, washed down with a bit of cider.

The event’s lineup was hand-picked by Boomtown’s head of music, Kaptin Barrett, and while the music on show couldn’t have been further away from Boomtown’s headline artist sounds, the artists picked were chosen because of the waves they’ve been making in recent months. The four acts that took to the stage were Harry & The Gondolas, Eva Lazarus & The Afronauts, Elder Island and Little Comets.

A one-nighter of live performances by some serious up-and-coming talent, washed down with a bit of cider

Originally put off by the commercial angle of Haze Sessions, the Pitch team donned coats and wandered down to The Passenger Shed on Saturday evening. Being sponsored by Thatchers, in honour of their cloudy cider Haze, the festival’s drink choices were limited. Let’s just say that if you’re not a fan of cider (though fairly rare in Bristol), then you’d have been bang out of luck. Although I’m sure even the biggest hater of cider could have forced down the two free ciders each ticket came with.

The Pitch team were there for two main reasons: Eva Lazarus and Elder Island.

Singer, songwriter and MC, Eva Lazarus has been active on the Bristol scene for a few years now; making her name originally as the frontwoman for Dub Mafia, before branching out on her own as a solo act; more recently forming her own band The Afronauts, who supported her on the evening along with DJ Snareophobe.

Eva Lazarus

Showcasing some serious drum and bass beats, thrown in a melting pot with Afro vibes, big bass and soulful backing vocals from The Afronauts – who were dressed in matching ‘Konichi-Wah-Gwan’ tees to honour Eva’s mixtape of the same name. While there were times that DJ Snareophobe reverted to sounding like a deejay from a school disco, they certainly got the room moving (or was that the cider?).

Elder Island

Elder Island, the Bristol trio we were hugely looking forward to did not disappoint. Emanating Bonobo, Mt. Kimbie and Caribou-like sounds, the band – fresh from their recent Seeds In Sand EP launch  – took to the stage incredibly comfortably, cello and other instruments in hand, plus a scary amount of wires, dials and buttons.

At points the set turned into some kind of experimental jam session, but with the powerful voice of Katy Sargent – soaked in R&B and soul notes – and the skillful looping from all three, but in   particular David Havard and Luke Thornton, Elder Island’s sound certainly wasn’t lacking any substance.

Overall, Haze Sessions, although proving a tad too commercial for die-hard festival fans, proved itself to be right on the mark with fresh talent once again. While the sound was a bit echo-ey in the cavernous Passenger Shed – something at odds with the festival’s strapline of “what music’s supposed to sound like”, the mini-festival is certainly worth checking out next year. Keep an eye on this one.