In a year where summer in London has been dominated by the Jubilee celebrations and the run up to the Olympics you couldn’t have blamed the Southbank had they chosen a safe, mainstream choice as curator for this year’s Meltdown festival, capitalising on the mood of national self-satisfaction. Their decision to invite Antony Hegarty to programme the fortnight of music was therefore something of a welcome surprise and has resulted in one of the most interesting and leftfield line ups for several years.
There may not be a show solely featuring Antony & The Johnsons but they do feature as part of a show on Sunday that is part music, part dance also featuring choreographer Yoshito Ohno and tape loops from William Basinski (who will appear in a separate event during the following week). The first week also sees performances on Friday from Joan As Policewoman and Laurie Anderson (the latter presenting her new Dirtday! Show) while Planningtorock opens the festival on Wednesday with a show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Diamandas Galás also makes two appearances – a show at the Royal Fetival Hall on Thursday focusing on her music and an evening on Friday at the Purcell Room involving a lecture and showing of her latest film Schrei 27. There’s also a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Thursday by Turkish singer Selda Bagcan whose music has enjoyed renewed exposure in recent years, being sampled by hip hop artists and re-released by crate-digging label Finders Keepers. CocoRosie also appear at the Royal Festival Hall on Friday (read what we thought of their last album Grey Oceans here). Get full details of the festival here.
This week also sees the start of the Converse shows at the 100 Club. Tickets were allocated by ballot at the start of July with the highlight seeing Blur play one of their smallest shows in recent years on Thursday (with support from Savages, The Bots and Swiss Lips). On Wednesday there’s a show featuring an impressive line up of Paul Weller, Spiritualized, 2:54 and Japandroids. Plan B kicks things off on Monday (read our review of his latest London show here) and Tuesday has a punk theme with a show involving UK Subs and Discharge.
Also taking place this week:
Fixers – Birthdays
Wilderness Of Manitoba – Windmill
Chapel Club – Birthdays
Benoit Pioulard & Felix – Wilmington Arms
Martin Creed – Dalston Victoria
Bardo Pond – Cargo
This week might see the Southbank Centre open their Meltdown festival but they also announced details of the Ether festival, their annual celebration of innovation, art, technology and cross-arts experimentation. Highlights include Tyondai Braxton playing Central Market with the London Sinfonietta, John Cale playing from his forthcoming album, a double bill featuring Soap & Skin and Ghostpoet, a shows focusing on the music of John Cage, Michael Gordon and Jonathan Harvey. You can read more here. Others shows recently announced include:
The xx – Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 10th September
Alison Moyet – Ronnie Scotts – 8-10th October
Exitmusic – Lexington – 6th November
BEAK> - Lexington – 21st November
Elbow – O2 Arena – 2nd December