Field Day seems to bring a wonderfully eclectic, reliably genre-defying selection of artists and bands to east London each year and 2012 upholds this tradition in style. It boasts big-hitting names of alternative music (Beirut, Franz Ferdinand & Liars), populist crowd-pleasers (Metronomy & The Vaccines), cutting-edge contemporary female sounds (Grimes & Julia Holter), the return of semi-forgotten favourites (Tortoise & Mazzy Star), the overlapping worlds of dubstep/electronica (SBTRKT, Rustie, Zomby & Gold Panda) and a customary nod to world music (AfroCubism). And that really is only scratching the surface.
The following day sees the return of the more family-friendly The Apple Cart to Victoria Park for its second year of music, comedy, art, cabaret and magic. From a musical perspective following Field Day can be a tough act but the organisers have done a commendable job. The line up covers diverse musical ground featuring performances from Adam Ant, Billy Bragg, Penguin Café, Lianne La Havas, Scritti Politti, Josh T. Pearson and Marques Tolliver amongst others.
The presence of Field Day and Apple Cart over Saturday/Sunday shouldn’t detract from the quality of gigs taking place earlier in the week, and in particular, gigs that focus on full album shows.
On Monday the Barbican is the setting for a celebration of Big Star‘s culy Third album. Several figures from the world of alternative rock including Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Ira Caplan (Yo La Tengo), Ken Stringfellow & Jon Auer (The Posies) and Alexis Taylot (Hot Chip) amongst others unite with original Big Star drummer Jody Stephens for what should be rather special evening. The album still has a raw emotional power to it (not to mention a quietly devastating beauty) and it’s quite possible you may see men of a certain age wandering the floors of the Barbican in a emotionally-drained, damp-around-the-eyes daze after the gig finishes. You’ll be able to read a review on musicOMH in the days after the show.
Tuesday evening sees yet another classic album performed in full as James Yorkston & The Athletes play Moving Up Country in full at Cecil Sharp House to mark the 10th anniversary of its release. Lastly, Copper Blue by Sugar will be performed in full by Bob Mould at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Friday.
Elsewhere, Thursday sees Giant Sand frontman Howe Gelb play Village Underground, ∆ (Alt-J) promote widely-praised current album An Awesome Wave at Corsica Studios while Miike Snow appear at Brixton Academy.
Meanwhile, Julia Holter plays a show at Café Oto on Friday ahead of her Field Day appearance. Expect to hear selections from her latest offering Ekstasis. Mazzy Star also play their own headline show, this time at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Sunday.
Also taking place this week:
Beach Fossils – Water Rats
Girls – Forum
Walls – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Savages – Shacklewell Arms
Ken Stringfellow & Chris Stamey – Slaughtered Lamb
Holy Other – XOYO
Hundred In The Hands – Madame Jojo’s
Japandroids – Upstairs at the Garage
Kathryn Williams – Union Chapel
Mull Historical Society – Dingwalls
Three Trapped Tigers – Hotel St.
Fixers – Scala
Doldrums – Birthdays
Gary Numan – Forum
Moby – Roundhouse
Soweto Kinch – Ronnie Scott’s
The Men – Shacklewell Arms
The Mars Volta – Forum – 15th July
Joan As Policewoman – QEH – 3rd August
Matmos – QEH – 6th August
Lou Reed – RFH – 10th August
Perfume Genius – Union Chapel – 6th September
Dexys – Barbican – 16th September
James Yorkston – QEH – 24th September
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Forum – 4th November
Ben Folds Five – Brixton Academy – 5th December
Kurt Vile, Lower Dens & Dark Dark Dark – Forum – 6th December
Madness – O2 Arena – 14th December