London Gigs

London Gigs Diary: 14-20 May 2012

In terms of albums, one of the under-the-radar successes last year was Past Life Martyred Saints by EMA (South Dakotan singer Erika M Anderson). It seemed to receive praise from all quarters and those that were taken by its dark beauty will have a chance to hear selections from it when she appears at the Scala on Tuesday. Support comes from the excellent Still Corners (who also impressed with their Creature Of An Hour album last year). There’ll be a review and some photographs on musicOMH in the days after the gig.

Meanwhile, it seems strange to think that it has almost been three years since The xx released their debut album on to a largely unsuspecting public. This week they play three small shows ahead of the highly anticipated release of their second album (hopefully) later this year. If you were one of the lucky few to get tickets you’ll be able to squeeze yourself into either Electrowerkz on Monday, Chat’s Palace on Tuesday or Battersea Arts Centre on Friday to see them in action.

Three gigs of a slightly larger scale will take place from Friday to Sunday at the O2 Arena as Jay-Z and Kanye West unite for the first UK date of their Watch The Throne tour. It should be quite a night. As it should be at XOYO on Thursday, where hotly-tipped Seattle hip-hop outfit Shabazz Palaces play from their Sub Pop released debut album Black Up. Speaking of hotly-tipped, 27 year old Chicago singer Willis Earl Beal also arrives in London this week to play a show at the Tabernacle on Wednesday. Read what we thought of his debut album Acousmatic Sorcery here.

It seems to be a week where the London gig scene is dominated by acts from the other side of the Atlantic. Baltimore five-piece Lower Dens are over for two shows – at Madame Jojo’s on Tuesday and the Lexington on Wednesday. The impact that their second album Nootropics has created has already resulted in these both selling out but it shouldn’t be long before they are playing bigger venues. Sharon Van Etten also returns to London this week after her show at Cargo earlier in the year. You can catch her at the Scala on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Zulu Winter, a homegrown London act play the Boston Arms on Thursday in support of debut release Language. 

Finally, the Barbican’s excellent contemporary music series continues this week with a show on Friday featuring three of the most highly regarded artists from the modern classical genre – Icelandic player-composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, American pianist Dustin O’Halloran and German experimentalist Volker Bertelmann (Haushcka).

Other gigs taking place this week:


Hunx & His Punx – Birthdays

Sly & The Family Drone – Power Lunches

Dylan Carlson (Earth) – Black Heart

Electric Guest – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen


Esmerine & Eric Chenaux – Lexington

Gossip – XOYO

Alan Wilkinson, Steve Noble & John Edwards – Power Lunches

Milk Music – Birthdays


Niki & The Dove – XOYO

A Whisper In The Noise – Cafe Oto

Fairport Convention – Borderline

Scissor Sisters – Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Gringo Starr – Windmill


DZ Deathrays – Barfly

Spector – Electric Ballroom

Bass Clef – Power Lunches


Charalambides – Cafe Oto

Trust, Visions Of Trees & The Haxan Cloak – Birthdays

Just announced:

Talk In Colour – Floripa – 23rd May

Friends – Dingwalls – 6th June

THEESatisfaction – Birthdays – 6th June

Gonjasufi – Village Underground – 16th June

Rokia Traoré – Wilton’s Music Hall – 18th June / Barbican – 22nd June / Village Underground – 23rd June

The Psychedelic Furs – Garage – 5th July

Grimes – Heaven – 6th September

The Futureheads (a capella & acoustic) – Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 19th September

Ray Davies – Royal Albert Hall – 4th October

The Walkmen – Forum – 1st November

M83 – Brixton Academy – 8th November

First Aid Kit – Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 20th November

The Wedding Present (playing Seamonsters) – KOKO – 23rd November

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