The announcement of the BLOC festival earlier this year was one of the most striking and ambitious of 2012. It takes place over Friday and Saturday in the London Pleasure Gardens, a new custom-built, hi-spec venue in Royal Victoria Docks that makes it sound unlike any other festival in the UK (some stages will be floating on water and we are promised spectacular audio-visual effects).
It offers uniqueness and exclusivity both in location and line-up. It has a dizzyingly good line up of acts, predominantly electronic in nature but with some additional wildcard entries. Flying Lotus, Orbital, Richie Hawtin, Snoop Dogg, Steve Reich, Gary Numan, Nicolas Jaar, Squarepusher, Four Tet, Actress and Battles are the names that initially spring from the page. You can get full details here; our full preview will appear soon.
In terms of gigs the highlight undoubtedly takes place at the Royal Albert Hall where Regina Spektor plays her first UK show in several years. Sixth album What We Saw From The Cheap Seats saw her continue with the quirky, beautiful songs that have been a feature of her recent albums. The grandeur of the Royal Albert Hall should suit her and you can catch her there on Monday.
Later in the week on Friday Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys plays a show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall where he will play all of Hotel Shampoo. Meanwhile, M. Ward is also in London this week, promoting latest album A Wasteland Companion at a show at KOKO on Monday (read about his show from earlier this year here). The following evening sees Tallest Man On Earth appear at Hackney Empire, playing from latest offering There’s No Leaving Now. Shepherd’s Bush has a trio of gigs this week also. Metric play tracks from new album Synthetica on Monday, The Wailers appear on Wednesday fresh from supporting The Stone Roses at their Manchester shows and Gossip make their London live return on Thursday (read our review of latest album A Joyful Noise here).
There’s a selection of smaller, yet no less enticing shows also happening this week. Echo Lake experienced tragic news earlier this month with the death of their drummer Pete Hayes, just before the release of debut album Wild Peace. They appear at the Lexington on Wednesday in what is sure to be an emotional evening. Up in Camden, Twin Shadow plays a date at Dingwalls on Wednesday whilst singer-songwriter Mara Carlyle plays a show at the Green Note on Thursday. On the same night meanwhile, Gaggle promote current album From The Mouth Of The Cave at Village Underground.
Also taking place this week:
Japanther – Birthdays
This Is The Kit – Green Note
Active Child – Village Underground
Bleeding Heart Narrative – Shacklewell Arms
Fred Frith – Cafe Oto
Fred Frith – Cafe Oto
Laura Marling – Royal Albert Hall
Lower Dens – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen – 16th August
Howlin’ Rain & Sleepy Sun – Garage – 12th September
The Beach Boys – Royal Albert Hall – 27th September
Aphex Twin & The Heritage Orchestra – Barbican – 10th October
Hot Chip – Brixton Academy – 18th October
Tim Burgess – Union Chapel – 24th October
World Party – Royal Albert Hall – 1st November
Damien Dempsey – Electric Ballroom – 1st November
∆ (Alt-J) – Electric Ballroom – 5th November
Swans & Sir Richard Bishop – KOKO – 15th November
Alabama Shakes – Coronet – 16th November
Supersilent & John Paul Jones – Village Underground – 18th November
Hundred Reasons – Coronet – 22nd November