London Gig Guide w/e Tue 28th Jan 2014

Wednesday 22nd January – George Ezra – Lexington

Not gonna let George Ezra’s inclusion on the BBC’s “You WILL Listen To This Music, Peasants!” list for 2014 put me off him.

George Ezra is the real deal. For the voice alone. And then there’s the songs. This gig is sold out but I bet you can get in the fire exit if you’re really determined. Come on, we’ve all done it.

Wednesday 22nd January – Trams – Sebright Arms

The Sebright is a brilliant venue once you find it – maybe it’s just me being thick as pigshit. This one ain’t sold out at the time of typing, and if the Marc Riley seal of approval isn’t enough for you, check out these two live songs:

Thursday 23rd January – Chrome Hoof – Oslo, Hackney

Brand new venue, christened on Tuesday by Dry The River, so I can’t give you any information whatsoever about the acoustics, drinks, whatever.

What I DO know is that Chromehoof (i) made Simian Mobile Disco work really hard to follow them at a blistering gig at Koko a coupla years back and (ii) the band’s Chrome Black Gold is one of the most criminally overlooked albums of last year.

I’m sorry, but if you don’t like a band describing themselves as “prog disco” then we can’t be friends. See you dahn the front for some proggy danceable action !

Friday 24th January – Adam Green – Dingwalls

I’m not as familiar with Adam Green’s solo stuff as with the other 50% of Moldy Peaches, Kimya Dawson (or Kimya Awesome as I like to call her #alanpartridgelives).

This clip is from last November and he looks in pretty good nick. The first song here with its jolly almost Jewish-folky”I Like Drugs” refrain is particularly fine.

Saturday 25th January – Punkfest – New Cross Inn, New Cross

Supoib venue, the New Cross Inn. Last time I was here, I was watching the Lurkers while supping my pint from a safe distance back, carefully avoiding the mosh pit, when without any warning a bloke in his late thirties stood next to me started bouncing up and down and spinning his arms round and round, knocking my beer flying.

I stared at him for a good minute – and not being funny but even though I’m as soft as shite, I do quite a good impression of a total hard bastard in these circumstances.

He just looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said “I can’t help it mate. I’m a total arsehole”. Totally disarmed me.

Anyway, he’ll probably be at this gig so mind your drinks.

This kind of gig is what the New Cross Inn excel at. Fifteen punk bands for a tenner, starting at 1.30 and going on till late, headlined by the legendary 999

Sunday 26th January – The Sorrows – Underworld

The Sorrows are one of the great unsung bands of the Sixties.

Why not make a retrotastic Camden-centric day of it?

Visit the Beatles shop by Baker Street. Get the tube to Warwick Avenue. Take a walk along the canal to Camden Lock, passing all them expensive houses and going through the zoo at one point.

Do a bit of shopping in the markets, eating at one of the street food stalls.

Walk it off in Regent’s Park then head back up Parkway, stop for a bottle of Gladness (Madness’s very own beer) at the Dublin Castle, then ensconse yourself in World’s End until gig time at Underworld below.

Monday 27th January – Peggy Sue – St Pancreas Old Church

Formerly Peggy Sue And The Pirates, this could be the perfect venue for their brand of quietly left-field indie folk.

Tuesday 28th January – Soweto Kinch – Jazz Cafe

A unique performer, taking jazz improvisation to another level by incorporating hip-hop. Not everybody’s cup of tea but intriguing nonetheless.

Gig Guide – w/e Sunday 18th August

It’s not peak time for gigs in London at this time of year but here’s a few cracking nights out you may be interested in.

Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School Of Medicine – Dingwalls, Monday

One for all of us ageing punks at a loose end on a Monday evening. Jello fronted classic punk band the Dead Kennedys and hasn’t mellowed with age as the new album “White People And The Damage Done” attests :

Nadine Shah – Shepherds Bush Empire, Tuesday

Supporting Bat For Lashes, you could say this was too obvious a pairing of Britain’s foremost Asian female alternative musical talent. One thing that is certain is that Natasha “Bats” Khan will have her work cut out to match Shah, who has produced an excellent debut album “Love Your Dum And Mad”, a title worthy of 70s progsters Caravan (“Cunning Stunts” being their wordplay highlight).

Shah is a different animal entirely from Khan, though, with a deep, soulful voice that maybe shows the influence of her Pakistani father (her mother is Norwegian and she was raised in Newcastle)

Velcro Hooks – Shacklewell Arms, Tuesday

I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. Loud scuzzy guitar but not so loud that you can’t hear the dislocated, punky lyrics. Would not sound out of place in the New York punk scene circa 1976 – somewhere near Television or Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.
Signed to Fierce Panda records, usually a guarantee of quality, this should be good.

Rose Elinor Dougall – Shacklewell Arms, Wednesday

Two great acts in a row at the Shacklewell. It’s all very well but over the past ten years, while I’ve been loosely based in West London on and off, which was fine circa 2006 to 2007 when all the cool gigs were in Camden. But unfortunately the centre of hip has since relocated East. Twice. First to Shoreditch and now it’s Dalston where the haircut kids mainly hang out. Hang around long enough and they’ll all be living in Colchester.

Rose Elinor Dougall was an original member of the superb Pipettes but since leaving a few years ago has been writing and recording pop songs of astounding quality that deserve a far wider audience. Her new single “Strange Warnings” could be the best thing she’s been involved with.

This gig is free, so if you’re anywhere in the vicinity, there’s no excuse for not turning up, really.

Mr Cat And The Jackal – Half Moon, Putney, Wednesday

This top South African band offers a theatrical show of pirates and beggars who sing ancient songs for music bootleggers. “For our massive repertoire we all pass around three dozen instruments to create our own sound. It’s salvation we dread, we’re five from the Cape where we ate, drank ‘n read and practiced our good ‘old folk tales from the sea and the land. Our songs will set sail with a whisky in hand – a spectacle of paradox-like discord to soothe, designing our songs for your soul to groove on”. Could be great – here’s a sample choon.

Cauls – Windmill, Brixton, Friday

Intriguing combination of post-rock and 80s melodic melancholia at the Windmill, also featuring Bloody Mammals, Great Cop and Pippos Progress. You can download Cauls’ latest EP from here :

http://cauls.bandcamp.com/album/ep-2-2

Skatalites – Jazz Cafe, Friday

The Skatalites were one of the biggest of the original Jamaican ska groups of the mid-sixties. There’s only sax player Lester Stirling of the original lineup of the band left standing but as this relatively recent (2003) live version of their best known song Guns Of Navarone shows, they’re still pretty tight. This music is eternal.

Deep Sea Arcade – Hoxton Kitchen & Grill, Saturday

Psychedelic Aussie five-piece owing no small debt to baggy, which seems to be making a comeback (see Swim Deep). You can guarantee that when an Aussie band plays London they will draw a crowd of homesick Ockers, and that doesn’t always mean they’re actually any good, but Deep Sea Arcade are the real deal. I’d pitch them somewhere between the slower stoner anthems of Tame Impala and the faster, poppier beats of Cloud Control.

This is the bargain of the week I’d say – eight of your English pounds only, what are you waiting for?

See you down the front!