Ray-Ban Envision Tour: Theme Park
West Country Boxing Club, Bristol, Saturday, May 22
Ray Ban had set up a competition enabling a lucky few to attend private gigs after they had submitted their ‘Vision’ onto the competition website. Whilst my friend bothered and entered the competition, after noticing Theme Park had mentioned on Facebook that they had a few spare tickets, I was lucky enough to nab some through a gushy email to the band themselves. After the train journey in, we reached Bristol and hopped off. Knowing exactly where we were heading, we followed the gatherings heading into the city for the Dot To Dot Festival. A rowdy bunch of woman clutched Fosters' cans whilst posing in their wellies, unfortunately it seemed that they weren't aware that the festival itself, isn't your typical muddy field festival, instead they would spend the day crammed into small music venues and pubs across the city, whilst being sandwiched between sweaty men, regretting their choice of rubber booties.
Anyhow, we reached St Thomas Street, and after storming around the street and the area, we found no sign of a 'West Country Boxing Club'. We got desperate, and after approaching four people, we soon discovered that actually there happened to be two St Thomas Street's in Bristol. Typical. Feeling like a complete plank for being so confident with my day-plan, we caught a taxi and trekked over to the opposite side of the city. It soon became apparent that this cheap day out with a free gig, was actually turning out to be rather stressful and unfortunately pretty damn expensive, for a penniless me. Feeling as though someone had thrown me into a sea of relief, we FINALLY arrived and trundled inside the post-church, present boxing club.
After stepping inside, I noticed it wasn’t at all what I expected, but then again, I don’t really know what I expected. Mooching into a room filled with Ray-Ban stickers and plastered with posters, I almost forget this was a boxing gym, until I turned to face a stripy punching bag (is that what you call them?). We were then greeted by two over-friendly brand promoters, who flaunted a bright red Smeg fridge. Inside laid a variety of the company’s produce; glasses differing in colour, shape and size. The female of the two persuaded us to select a pair each, to wear for photos. My friend gladly accepted, picking out a tortoiseshell pair complete with round lenses, whilst I stood aside, muttering about my oddly shaped head. The lady chose to assist and pulled out a humongous set of black glasses. I plonked them onto my face and within a second transformed into a bug. Unfortunately they were way, way too big for my face and this resulted in my appearance becoming rather fly like, instead of the super-fly sunglasses model that I would of preferred. We posed in front of the brands backdrop whilst the (worldly) male promoter took horrific insect photos of us on my shitberry.
After all the fuss, it turned out that we had to participate in over an hour of standing around until, even the support band performed. We ventured into the second room which was styled so that the boxing ring was pushed to the wall and had adapted to a stage format, whilst a dj booth sat at the back, along with strobe lights, which let’s be honest was a little uncalled for giving that it had only just hit 3 o’clock in the afternoon (I sound like such an old grouch). Having the room fashioned this way kind of killed my dream of having the ring in the centre, whilst the fans squished around the edge, a different member of the band facing in a different direction. However, it turned out that there can’t have been more than 25 people there in total (including staff, shocking), so it looked like there wouldn't be any crazy dance-action happening.
The Portillo Moment were the support band; made up of three men (who covered drums and guitars) and a female vocalist/bassist. I'm not 100% sure where they were from, or who they are, but I'd take a guess and say that they were fairly local to the Bristol area and were aged late teens/early twenties. I'd probably class their sound as folk-grunge or pop-rock, but who knows? The girl had a very distinct voice and the songs were a mix of quietly-relaxing tunes and heavier, dreamy beats. After a pleasurable set, they left the stage and joined the humble audience and wait for the 'headliners.'
Theme Park waddled into the ring and placed themselves into position to embark on the show. They bounced through tracks from the album, whirling the bodies below the boxing ring into a cheerful, tropical adventure. Highlights came from the newish single Tonight, old track Milk and Wax. Their chilled, summer-groove lightened up the cold, damp day, that was fo'sure. The band finished their delightful set and escaped out. We finished up the event by spray-painting and customising some t-shirts, relating to the day's theme of 'Impact Resistant.'
I must admit after being a fan of all the past EP’s, Theme Park’s album was a slight disappointment. However, after hearing all the tracks live, you have a complete different perspective; maybe their next album should be a live album? Rough and unhampered.