Weekly Gig Guide: 23-29 May
Save to Collections
Ah, another bank holiday weekend. This time, you've promised yourself you're gonna get your London culture-on by visiting art galleries, going to the theatre, the whole lot. While we love your optimism, we just know you'll be spending it day-drinking and peeling your hungover self out of bed to go party at night. Here are our best gig picks for the week to make your decision-making a little easier.
Those with even a passing interest in Ethiopian music will know about Hailu Mergia – the guy is a bloody legend there. Thanks to Awesome Tapes Africa, he's bursting once again into the limelight and bringing his solo show to The Jazz Cafe. His jazzy organs take centre stage over the simple drums he lays out in his tunes, but his sound is anything but basic. If you're up for some ethnic pop melodies and soulful instruments, this is the place to be.
Scandinavia has never let us down with their pop exports – they just keep throwing perfect tunes our way. Maybe it's in the water, maybe it's the clean air, or maybe it's just the fact that they're just really bloody talented on that side of the world. One thing we're certain about is how much we love Astrid S. She's making crystalline synth pop and sparse bangers to boot – if we were MØ and Robyn, we'd watch out. Trust us on this, we tend to be right.
If you’re never more than six feet away from a rat in London, the same could be said for Broken Social Scene members in Canada, they're everywhere (in a good way). The indie collective have finally heard our pleas for a reunion - they've been away for seven years, but judging by their new single 'Halfway Home', they've still got their grand-sounding indie rock mojo, so we've got no choice but to be there.
Rapper Akua Naru is not only a poet in her own right, but she's also a visionary whose experience living all over the world has given her a unique perspective to other MCs. Rhyming comes second nature to her and she’s given her voice to highlight her experiences of love, womanhood, community and police brutality. Head down to Village Underground and let her sultry sounds and thoughtful words lead you down the path to wokeness.
So, it's Thursday: you're almost done with the work week, but you're not quite there yet. You're dying for a G&T, or ten, but you and your mates are short for plans. Well, fortunately for you, Lapalux is heading to Mick's Garage to bring us a night of woozy, dreamy R&B electronica. Worried about calling in sick on Friday? Don't sweat it; the curfew is 1am, so you can cop a few hours of beauty sleep and no one at work will ever have to know.
Tinder has been useful for many things – finding new mates, finding someone to snog, and, for Miya Folick, finding band members. And it totally worked for Miya, her already-amazing lo-fi garage pop songs now have a fuller dynamic live – think of her as an Angel Olsen but with a lot more grit. And hey, who knows, you might meet someone at the gig you can also make music with.
Over the long weekend, a host of brilliant indie and folk acts are taking over the square behind Kings Cross station for a pageant of tunes. Enjoy the math pop of Dutch Uncles, opt for the more low-key melodic psychedelics of Dungen, or go full-out Americana with Molly Burch. There's a ton of acts on and it's bank holiday weekend, so sit back, sink back 10 pints and enjoy all the feels.
Even if you think you haven’t listened to ESG before, you probs have. Their tune 'UFO' is one of the most sampled songs in history, and for nearly forty years, the group have kept all the sparks are there – their latin-infused rhythms and no-wave disco punk bangers have inspired all your faves, from LCD Soundsystem to TLC. There’s just no way you’re gonna remain static at the back with a pint tonight, so c'mon, let loose a little.
Last year, the good people at Manana posted a collaboration between Cuban artists and international DJs hoping to bring the buzz of Santiago’s Plaza de la Revolución to The Barbican. Did it work? Hell yeah it did. So they’ve decided to do it all again one year later, this time with Afro-Cuban-inspired artists and DJs, like Plaid, Ariwo, DJ Tennis and loads more. Rise up from your seats and shake ya tailfeather.
Queen of spoken word and Poet Laureate, Kate Tempest has set the bar pretty high, even though she doesn't really sing, speak or rap. Instead she blends all three together to create an outer body experience and tackle the darkest corners of London living over some sick, haunting beats. Expect to hear songs about losing sleep, taking drugs at house parties and how Britain has really fucked it by leaving the EU. Be there.
LA’s Triptides have come at the perfect time, cuz they’re the kind of band who benefit from warm evenings, BBQs on balconies and cold beers with your mates (like we all do, duh). Their warped psych pop is exceptionally good because it's done simply – think Real Estate with more layered choruses or Tame Impala with shoes on, and you're there. The Victoria is the perfect venue to sink back a few on their benches, so what are you waiting for?
DIY Space for London is more than just your average South-of-the-river hangout – it’s an amazing community-run space, which will become home to Bent Fest this Saturday. Heading up the lineup are The Spook School, the perf band to sing along about all your non-hetero crushes to, with support from wonky pop crooner Joey Fourr. Get down, dance loads, check out the riot grrrl zines, and just remember: there ain't no party like a queer punk party.