London Gigs

London Gigs Diary: 3 October – 9 October 2011

Monday sees the remarkable rise of Metronomy show no signs of slowing down, as they play arguably the gig of the week at the Royal Albert Hall. Their lean, dancefloor-friendly, alternative pop should see the venue flooded with positive vibes and will almost certainly be a rather wonderful night out. With a bit of luck it may even match this great show they played earlier in the year.

London also welcomes three female singers to the city this week, beginning with Marissa Nadler who plays her gothic-tinged alt-folk at Bush Hall on Tuesday. Her latest eponymous album is arguably her best to date. Meanwhile, Thursday sees Nerina Pallot bring her sophisticated pop elegance to Shepherd’s Bush Empire, no doubt playing a fair selection from current album Year Of The Wolf. On the same day Alela Diane plays her Kristin Hersh-esque slanted folk-pop at St Pancras Old Church. You can read about her latest album here. Covering similar musical territory, on Sunday Hackney Empire also sees Iron & Wine‘s Sam Beam play to his strengths with an acoustic show.

This week also sees London host an impressive selection of jazz gigs by artists both established and new. Swedish ensemble The Thing (led by the extraordinary Mats Gustafsson) open the week of activity, playing a two night residency at Cafe Oto on Monday and Tuesday. On Saturday night legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter plays a highly anticipated show at the Barbican (his first London date in three years). Support comes from rising modern jazz outfit Phronesis. Another dynamic young quartet led by Sam Crockatt play an album launch show at the Vortex on Monday.

Later in the week Polar Bear drummer and serial-collaborator/experimentalist Seb Rochford curates his own five day festival at the Vortex. As you’d expect, it boasts appearances by several highly regarded names from the contemporary jazz scene, quite often (naturally) in a collaborative context. Highlights look to be Rochford’s show with Mercury Prize nominated pianist Kit Downes on Thursday, while the Zoe Rahman Trio show alongside South Asian vocalist Ranjana Ghatak on Friday looks a strong pairing. It is not an exclusively jazz-orientated line-up however, with the Vortex also hosting performances rooted in world music and hip-hop. Read more about the festival here. If you’re still curious you can also read about Rochford’s recent album with Pamelia Kurstin here.

Elsewhere various electronica and dubstep-related gigs take place across the capital. Gold Panda performs from last year’s Lucky Shiner album at KOKO on Thursday, closely followed by a live show by Warp Records mainstays Plaid on Friday at the Village Underground in Shoreditch. Friday also sees The Forum in Kentish Town host a night of bass-heavy techno & electronica, headlined by the Thom Yorke-approved Modeselektor. This review gives an idea of what may be in store. Meanwhile, one of the most acclaimed acts of the moment SBTRKT plays a small show at XOYO on Tuesday. His self-titled debut album of soulfully coloured, melodically charged, next generation electro-step is something of a certainty to feature highly in end of year polls.

A collection of slightly more leftfield gigs closes the preview for this week. On Thursday Grouper (the musical project of Oregon-based Liz Harris) play a show at St Giles-in-the-fields in support of the two mini-albums of beautifully bleak, washed-out ambient textures released earlier in the year. Penguin Cafe‘s show at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf on Friday sees Arthur Jeffes further prolong and consolidate the legacy of his father Simon Jeffes’ band, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Their show at Hackney Empire in July contained an array of beautiful, not-quite-avant-garde moments and this show should be no different. On Monday The Real Tuesday Weld play an artfully idiosyncratic free show at Rough Trade East that promises live music, readings and a film screening. Finally, you can experience the dark realism and emotional honesty ingrained within the music of Meursault at the Hoxton Square Bar + Kitchen on Wednesday. 

Also recommended:

Pete & The Pirates – Scala – Tuesday 4th October

Death From Above 1979 – Brixton Academy – Friday 7th October

Cocknbullkid – The Garage – Friday 7th October

John Cooper Clarke – Jazz Cafe – Friday 7th & Saturday 8th October

Just announced: 

Bardo Pond – XOYO – 20th October

Ryan Adams – Cadogan Hall – 1st November

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – KOKO – 14th November

The Cure – Royal Albert Hall – 15th November (playing their first three albums in full)

Lanterns On The Lake – Lexington – 22nd November

Thurston Moore – Union Chapel – 2nd December

Slow Club – Union Chapel – 19th December

Laura Veirs – Queen Elizabeth Hall – 20th January 2012

Barry Adamson – Queen Elizabeth Hall – 9th February 2012

M83 – Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 16th February 2012

The War On Drugs – Electric Ballroom – 28th February 2012

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