Rusty Shackle at Thekla, Bristol: Passport to delight!

A ticket can be seen as a passport to a cool and groovy experience. So it was for me and two friends last night! Read on…

Late last August, a close friend and I went to the Towersey Festival, near Oxford, for a day. Wonderful, it was, and our experiences are covered in greater detail in a previous post: (

One of the acts we particularly liked was Rusty Shackle, an Indie-Folk band from Wales. Something about their energy was really appealing. I loved their music – and the combination of instruments – which includes fiddle and trumpet – was refreshingly different and very effective.

About a month ago, I saw on line that they were coming to Thekla in Bristol. Thrilled to pieces by this welcome news, I contacted my Towersey Pal and another friend, ordered three tickets and then waited, with increasing excitement and impatience, for the day to dawn.

Now, Thekla, for those unfamiliar with Bristol, is THE place to go for live music, if you are part of the Happening Crowd, that is – and, as I gathered from my son, a very cool club for the Younger Generation. My boy was diplomatically silent on the likely reaction to three representatives from the Over Twenties (and the rest!!!) Brigade.

Last night, full of vim, vigour and, in my case, vino, we sauntered coolly (or as close an approximation to that much-to-be-desired state as we could manage) into the bowels of the ship, just in time to see Rusty Shackle emerging from Stygian gloom and, in a welter of noise and colour, erupting upon the stage.

A fantastic hour and a half followed. The crowd – a reassuringly diverse group chronologically! – gyrated and jived, whooped and waved, danced and dived, buzzing, the whole time, like a colony of honey-high bees.

Some of the numbers my friend and I thought we recognised from last August; others were new to all of us – but the vibe was amazing, the mood elevated and the band combined excellent musicianship with huge charisma and boyish good looks. Put it this way, had I been thirty years younger…

At the end, the three of us tottered over to the merchandise table, behind which members of the band were waiting to sign CDs. I confess I didn’t dither for long – and, like a homing vulture, went straight for a Rusty Shackle t-shirt. My two male companions approved – and one of them was, I think, briefly tempted to get his own!

I then had what I can only describe as a Teenage Fan Moment (or possibly a rush to the head caused by three glasses of red!) – and, taking my ticket in an awe-struck paw, I asked the band to autograph it.

This they did, most willingly and cheerfully. They seemed like genuinely nice, down-to-earth guys, musicians without side, fun people.

I was so pleased to have these two souvenirs.

Once it was all over, we three made our way to a Burger Boat (like you do!) – and, over our meal, chatted and laughed and made much banter about the evening specifically and life generally.

Cool? Yes, I think we were! Defying age, convention and all that tedious bollocks, we behaved like students and showed the world, and ourselves, that there is still plenty of life and musical passion in these two old dogs and, dare I say it, one old bitch!

As for Rusty Shackle, if they ever appear anywhere near you, do get along there and see them! They are superb!


Ali in Teenage Fan Moment Mode!


4 thoughts on “Rusty Shackle at Thekla, Bristol: Passport to delight!

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