London Gigs

London Gigs Diary: 6 – 12 June 2011

Meltdown returns to the South Bank Centre this week with a series of gigs, talks and events, this time curated by Ray Davies. With previous line-ups chosen by artists as diverse and revolutionary as Lee “Scratch” Perry, Patti Smith and Ornette Coleman, it wasn’t clear how employing the relatively straightforward former frontman of The Kinks would pan out. As it turns out he’s come up with a vibrant and unusual collection of talent that celebrates mastery of songwriting within some of the more eccentric corners of the music industry.

Featuring the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and the iconic jolliness of Madness, the legendary songwriting of Nick Lowe and the New York punk royalty of Lydia Lunch, he’s put together an admirable and far-reaching selection. Add in spoken word turns by Roger McGough, Clive Anderson, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, and John Cooper Clarke, and while it may be more of a nostalgic trip than a vision of the future, it has every chance of emerging as a truly memorable series.

Davies will, himself, both open and close the festival at the Royal Festival Hall, first with his own band, and then with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Crouch End Festival Chorus, for an evening that will revisit The Kinks’ 1968 album Village Green Preservation Society.

Ray Davies’ Meltdown takes place at the South Bank Centre from 10-20 June 2011. More details here.

Gigs Of The Week: 6 – 12 June 2011 

MEN + Light Asylum + Bonjay – Bush Hall, London – 7 June

Brooklyn band MEN always put on a good show. And so, while their album Talk About Body is a good noisy listen, the joy of MEN is experiencing them in person. With JD Samson (formerly of Le Tigre) at the helm, their fun, rebellious nature shines through. Always surrounded by the coolest, their support acts are awesome fellow New Yorkers Light Asylum and Toronto-based buzz-band Bonjay, whose infectious electronic pop will get people dancing from the outset.

More details here.

tUnE-yArDs – Scala, London – 8 June

tUnE-yArDs’ second album w h o k i l l has already booked its place on many an end-of-year list. But again it’s in the live setting that the woman behind tUnE-yArDs, Merrill Garbus, shines. As her profile has increased so has her accompaniment section. No longer just Garbus, a ukulele, a drum and a loop pedal, her recent appearance at the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona featured a band, complete with trumpets and bass. But ultimately it’s Garbus’s exquisite technical skill and her ferocious voice that will get people screaming for more which she pulls out the big tracks like Gangsta and Fi-Ya.

More details here.

Also Recommended: 

Sparrow And The Workshop – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London – 6 June

Ludovico Einaudi – The Old Vic Tunnels, London – 6 June

Phosphorescent – Heaven, London – 7 June

Saint Saviour + When Saints Go Machines – XOYO, London – 7 June

MONO and The Holy Ground Orchestra – Koko, London – 7 June

Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Union Chapel, London – 7 June

Howe Gelb and A Band Of Gypsies – Union Chapel, London – 8 June

Emmy The Great – St Pancras Old Church, London – 8, 9, 10 June

Tim And Jean – The Wheelbarrow, London – 9 June

Sons And Daughters – Lexington, London – 9 June

Fatoumata Diawara – Slaughtered Lamb, London – 9 June

Tribes – Dingwalls, London – 9 June

Wild Swans – Bush Hall, London – 10 June

Wu Tang Clan – Forum, London – 11, 12 June 

Just Announced:


After the sexy chaos of their 2006 debut and the unfocused maturity of 2008’s Donkey that left us wondering who they really were, CSS will hopefully have found a balanced path for this summer’s third album release, La Liberación. Featuring collaborations with Ratatat and even Bobby Gillespie on forthcoming single Hits Me Like A Rock, it’ll be interesting to find out which direction they’ve decided to head in this time. Lovefoxxx, Adriano and the other Brazilian party animals will be in town for a series of gigs to mark their return. They’ll be playing a Rough Trade East instore on 22 August and at XOYO on 23 August as well as dates in Brighton, Birmingham, York, Manchester and Glasgow.

More details here.

The Antlers

Wrenching. You couldn’t read a review of The Antlers’ 2009 album Hospice without reading that word. It either wrenched the heart or the gut, but it definitely wrenched something. Following up an album as affecting as that isn’t an easy thing to do, but the Brooklynites have managed with new release Burst Apart. Catch them at Koko on 8 November as part of a tour that will also take them to Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow.

More details here.

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