'No flash photography and if you see any unpleasant behaviour down there then please, mind your own business'
It was certainly a bohemian health and safety announcement having been ushered into a large archway thankfully offering protection from the cold drizzle. We were about to enter the dimly lit former ash pits of the original temple meads train station, the old city, under the new, a deliciously suitable venue to house a collaboration with insight ensemble and invisible circus for "Live orchestral sounds in the tunnels of Loco Klub"( Quote source: headfirstbristol)
A selection of music from insight ensemble Underground Classical March 2017
The event staff wore early 20th century train uniforms, the men having fashioned their facial hair appropriately. As we queued for the event one of the vintage train staffers performed hand trickery with a crystal ball much to the amusement of small children waiting with their parents.
We slowly filtered into the entrance of the dimly lit tunnel while event rules were repeated - 'no flash photography' , 'if you see any bad behaviour...', 'no loud noises, there are less of you now so it is easier to single you out', as the final few of us stepped into the dimly lit tunnel the door was closed and the same voice that had recited all those rules then said 'everything I've just said is a lie'.
It was dark, thick walls trapping so many stories in an intriguing place, all around was that genuine serenity underground places omit. I imagined it was once a place where people endured hard graft and little gratitude, now decorated with artwork that transformed the functional into the magical.
Bizarre and addictive artwork surrounded us in many forms the more memorable looked like a disturbing altar from a twisted belief using a lovely antique cupboard in front of a very normal looking fireplace.
We were funnelled past an old looking couch atop a young man snoozing sharing his place of rest with a young woman holding a torch used to guide us in the direction we should walk while she performed gently hypnotic contemporary dance, she made me think of psirens.
There were several chambers, the floor soft and uneven sometimes gravel crunched underfoot, people were silhouettes as the soft lighting helped navigating around while retaining the desired atmosphere, the occasional phone held aloft to take pictures and record video stealing your attention.
Then lights illuminated what looked a little like an intricate band stand where several musicians stood, a clean and crisp vision from our darkened viewpoints staring into this lit area wide eyed, moths to the lamplight.
This first little performance wasn't long, as they stopped more music began to play behind us, this was going to be way more interesting than standing in one spot.
The music moved from either end and between different sections of the ash pits at one point between them at once in different harmonies, a foreboding trumpet, a collection of flutes and other wind instruments that played a quick jumble of sounds representing mischief and chaos to my ears while the majority of the orchestra played a soothing ensemble for contrast.
There can be something so appealing about classic music, the complexity of the sounds the passion and talent of the musicians and the emotion that can effortlessly generate from within. Standing amongst the musicians and watching their precision the way they would pluck at the strings in perfect unison, shoulders moving so slightly, every move intentional with feeling.
Watching the different musicians, not knowing exactly where or what they would play next, the final ensemble playing the Peer gvnt suite no.1 with such gusto while standing amongst the musicians themselves was superb.
If this were a review then I would simply say go, go to see insight ensemble, go to things run by invisible circus, go to the loco club, go.
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