The Wild Bunch

dug out club

The Wild Bunch was a sound system based in the St Paul’s district of Bristol, England from 1983 to 1986. The group was renowned for playing sets that drew large crowds from the club scene and had performed shows as far away as London. They performed against other Bristol sound systems in soundclashes, musical competitions where crew members from opposing reggae sound systems pit their skills against each other. The Wild Bunch’s sound incorporated a wide and disparate variety of musical styles – an unusual thing at the time. Their shows included elements of punk, R&B and reggae, with a focus on slower rhythms and ambient electronic atmospheres that would become a cornerstone of the Bristol sound, more popularly known as trip-hop. They were a key member of what became the Bristol underground scene. The first Wild Bunch record was a cover of Burt Bacharach’s ‘The Look of Love,’ featuring Shara Nelson on vocals, and released in 1985.

The Wild Bunch is perhaps best known for having been the first group of several notable British DJs and performers: Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall and Andrew Vowles, went on to form Massive Attack in 1987. Tricky, also a part-time member of the outfit, performed with Massive Attack on their first and second full-length releases, Blue Lines and Protection respectively, before pursuing a successful solo career. Nellee Hooper, who moved to London after the group’s dissolution and worked as a producer and remixer for a number of major artists, including Madonna, U2, No Doubt, Björk and others. Miles Johnson, aka DJ Milo, who subsequently moved to New York and released deep house records as Natureboy.

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