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January blues? Our early gig guide for 2018…

Róisín Gadelrab picks her stand-out shows to look forward to in the first seven months of the new year

04 January, 2018 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Bjork is set to play the All Points East Festival at Victoria Park. Photo: Santiago Felipe

IT’S only the fourth day of the year and we are already struggling to cram all the best gigs of 2018 into our diary. So, while we’re usually looking back at the best and worst of last year’s music around now, we are instead looking forward. Below is a small selection of our picks for the first seven months of 2018. If you’re usually a last-minute person, here’s an opportunity to plan your music programme and book your tickets well in advance:


• London Blues Week 2018. The 100 Club presents six nights of blues with entry to the entire week for £45. The line-up includes: Ben Poole + The Stevie Nimmo Band (Jan 15); Joe Louis Walker + King Size Slim (Jan 16); Climax Blues Band + Elles Bailey (Jan 17); Bernie Marsden + Flawless Carbon (Jan 18); Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack + Red Butler (Jan 19); The Downliners Sect + The Masonics + Jim Riley Blues Foundation + DJ Lee Grimshaw (Jan 20).

• There’s a limited number of early-bird £30 tickets for Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards at Koko (Jan 20). The night, a mix of live music and DJ sets, champions forward-thinking music. This year’s eight-hour marathon features BCUC + Hello Skinny X Peter Zummo + IAMDDB + James Holden + Jamz Supernova + Khruangbin + Nubya Garcia + Oscar Jerome [solo] + Skinny Pelembe + Yazmin Lacey + Zed Bia.

• London A Cappella Festival (Jan 24-27) features international headliners and vocal super-groups. Taking place mainly at Kings Place, but with some shows at LSO St Luke’s, the programme features global jazz superstars New York Voices, all-female powerhouse Musae, world beatbox champions The Beatbox Collective, vocals from The Tallis Scholars, acclaimed throat singers Huun-Huur-Tu, award-winning sextet Estonian Voices, and festival co-hosts The Swingles, as well as talks and free interactive pop-ups.


• The NME Awards return with two different series – live gigs at The NME Awards Shows including Superfood at Scala (Feb 12); Yonaka at The Garage (Feb 28) and A2 at Koko (March 1) and club DJ sets from the likes of The Vaccines (Electric Ballroom, January 20) and Bastille (Electric Ballroom, February 10), on the NME Awards Road Trip, ahead of the NME Awards on February 14.


Jessie Ware 

• Annie Mac returns to Koko, the Roundhouse and Jazz Cafe throughout February with her AMP Presents series featuring top talent from the likes of Tom Misch, Monki, Tom Grennan, Jessie Ware and many more.


• Veteran broadcaster, lifelong reggae champion and DJ David Rodigan, joins The Outlook Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on March 2. Hosted by Bitty McLean, the show will take the audience through 40 years of Rodigan’s career, from the early days of ska and rocksteady, through to dancehall, dubstep and jungle with a line-up of legendary guests and reggae royalty.


• One for aficionados of 80s synth sounds – Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, half of American experimental synth band S U R V I V E, perform the music of cult Netlfix series Stranger Things at Barbican on April 7. The musicians’ score for season one won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music, as well as two Grammy nominations.

• Snowbombing Festival, Mayrhofen, Austria: Combine skiing, snowboarding, music and huge mountain parties over six days (April 9-14). The huge line-up includes Liam Gallagher, Pendulum, Dizzee, Rudimental, the Craig David Presents TS5 Street Party, Craig Charles and DJ Yoda.


• Love Supreme Festival at the Roundhouse on May 5, a new one-day festival, will feature performances from Mr Jukes (Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman), multi-Grammy-winning US singer and keyboardist Cory Henry, techno-fuelled jazz outfit Moon Hooch and neo-soul singer Elli Ingram, as well as talks, screenings, DJ sets and more.

LCD Soundsystem

• There’s a real buzz about the new All Points East Festival in Victoria Park on May 25-June 3. There’s way too much to fit in here but suffice to say the line-up includes LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bjork, The XX, Beck, The National, The War On Drugs, Nick Cave and Patti Smith.


• The Kenwood concerts are back with a suitably gentle line-up – hopefully nothing for the neighbours to complain about here. Confirmed so far are: Hacienda Classical (June 15); Alfie Boe (June 16); Kris Kristofferson (June 22); The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra perform the works of film score composer John Williams, including music from Star Wars, E.T., Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and more (June 23); Last Night of the Kenwood Proms with Katherine Jenkins and The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by Paul Bateman (June 24).


The Cure

• Hyde Park’s British Summer Time Concerts return with headliners including Roger Waters (July 6); The Cure (July 7); Eric Clapton (July 8); Michael Bublé (July 13) and Bruno Mars + Khalid (July 14).


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