Yetii, The Greenbank Bristol, Thursday 7th July

The weekend started early last week at the The Greenbank in Bristol on Thursday evening. Those familiar with Bristol will know that lots of interesting things happen in the upstairs function room. Visitors may have trouble locating the pub, tucked way in the dense pattern of streets just north of the central area of the city. Quietly cooking away there for a few years now is a trio project that started life as the Alex Veitch Trio, but is now Yetii (we haven’t asked why, so it remains a mystery) which often or not has a co-conspirator for a section of the gig. Thursday last however, it was just the trio.

Pianist Veitch is joined by Ashley John Long on bass and Alex Goodyear on drums and and they have built up a regular audience for their monthly gig routinely selling out the 50 seats they can squash in round the band.

Whether playing a standard, cover of music from an eclectic array of sources (they’ve featured Nick Drake, Bonobo, Joni Mitchell in recent months) or originals, frequently from the pen of Veitch, they’ve evolved a distinctive sound and approach. Firmly stated riffs with open, yearning chords, layers of rhythm apparently casually woven, but tightly locking; then a change of pace or a steadily evolving, unresolved fragment of melody. It’s patient and painterly music making.

Originals cast spells; was that first one called Flying? Spring scatters melodic phrases and lavish chords, a soaring bass solo makes us giddy. A hurtling version of Eleanor Rigby switches the mood, a buoyant odd-meter take on Everything I Love kicks things on, Veitch suddenly spooling out swirling lines, but a ballad is never far away. The trio are perfecting stillness, listening and holding an audience. They wrap up with viscerally grooving account of Abdullah Ibrhaim’s Chisa, this time Goodyear producing a percussion solo over a rocking vamp, hands and elbows making the kit talk.

If Yetii are something of a Bristol secret at the moment, come the Autumn with an album launch and a national tour the word will be out. Meanwhile, they can be found on the usual social media, if you know where to look: Yetii (@__yetii_) • Instagram photos and videos

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