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Return of the Mac! Top gig tips for 2020

02 January, 2020 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Annie Mac is set to return with AMP LONDON

YEAH, we know. It’s January, the hangover is setting in, we’re all broke, it’s time to be healthy, etc, etc.
But what about something to feed your soul and keep you occupied for the cold nights ahead? How about starting to fill up those boxes on your 2020 wall planner with some great – possibly life-changing – gigs and festivals? We’re started you off here with a small selection of upcoming events, but the city is rich with venues and talent, so keep an eye on this page weekly for a wider selection of gigs, events and news.


• Resolution Punk Festival, 100 Club (Jan 3-12). The 10-day festival of punk returns to the 100 Club for the sixth year running, celebrating the bands and musicians who were there from the start and those who have kept the movement alive today. Tickets for the whole festival are £85 and for the first time it will be 14+, with Under-18s to be accompanied by an adult. The line-up includes: TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers + Slagerij + Blue Carpet Band (Jan 3); ANWL + Crashed Out +Sweeney and the Fellas (Jan 4); Half-Day Festival ft MENACE + Newtown Neurotics + Knock Off + Nick Cash + Face Up + Delinquents + Cockwomble + Chinese Burn (Jan 5); The Restarts + Backstreet Abortions + Rats Nest (Jan 6); The Franklys + Slagheap + BillyNoMates (Jan 7); The Vibrators + Guitar Gangsters + Desperate Measures (Jan 8); Subhumans + The Blunders + Rebel Station (Jan 9); GBH + The Varukers + Borrowed Time (Jan 10); The Boys + Last Great Dreamers (Jan 11); TBC + Red Light Rebels (Jan 12).

• Get back to your trad roots with some traditional and Irish music from accomplished musicians Matt Tighe and Tad Sargent at The Green Note on January 6.

• The Dublin Castle’s Rock N Roll Book Club returns on January 8 with longstanding session bassist Mo Foster talking to Julie Hamill about his book, British Rock Guitar – The First 50 Years, the Musicians and Their Stories, charting the rise of the musical genre and the electric guitar in Britain, plus Q&A and book signing followed by a “Brit Guitar Greats” DJ set from Tony Bugbear.

• January Blues Festival, 100 Club, Islington Assembly Hall, Under The Bridge (Jan 15-31). Following the success of London Blues Week, the week-long event has expanded this year over two weeks with more blues, venues and legends. Distinguished artists include: Mud Morganfield, Dr Feelgood, Otis Grand, Popa Chubby, Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack, Oli Brown, Son of Dave, Ben Poole, Deborah Bonham and Bernie Marsden.

• In The Round, Roundhouse (Jan 23-Feb 1). Experience one-off, intimate performances from the likes of Anaïs Mitchell, John Grant, Badly Drawn Boy, Fatouma Diawara and more.

• Neighbourhood Festival presents… takes over Camden Assembly (Jan 31) for one evening to showcase new talent Bamily, Kudu Blue and Porij.


• Hot new 600-capacity King’s Cross venue Lafayette opens in February with tickets already on sale for rare intimate performances from Blossoms, grime MC D Double E and Grammy-winning jazz pianist and record producer Robert Glasper. Other acts confirmed include Jonathan Wilson, Bedouin Soundclash, Willie J Healey, Bad Sounds, The Districts, and Eliza. See listings on the Lafayette website.

• Grammy-nominated, New Orleans-based Hot 8 Brass Band blend hip-hop, jazz and funk with New Orleans sounds. They play The Forum (Feb 21).

• As part of its regular Silent Film & Live Music series, Barbican Cinema presents a selection of Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, the series of short black and white film portraits made by Warhol at the Factory between 1964 and 1966. Reel #10, which includes Lou Reed and many others, will be accompanied by a new soundtrack created and performed by UK-based DJ and producer Leif, Barbican Cinema 1 (February 27).


Michael Kiwanuka will play Alexandra Palace on November 27

• Annie Mac brings her popular AMP LONDON nights back to various venues (March 4-7). The four-day series of gigs and one-day conference features the likes of Blossoms, Cabbage, Joy Crookes, Beabadoobee, Arlo Parks and more, playing venues including Camden Assembly, The Lexington and others.

• We always have room to mention Michael Kiwanuka, even if he’s off playing as far away as Brixton Academy on March 5 and Alexandra Palace on November 27.

• Van Morrison plays almost a full-week residency at London Palladium on March 20-26 (NOT 23rd).

• See the organ in a new light at Union Chapel’s Organ Reframed festival (March 27-28).


• Seasick Steve returns to play his first headline show in London since 2016 at the Roundhouse on April 4 in support of his forthcoming album.

• The London International Ska Festival presents The Pioneers, Dennis Alcapone & Fredie Notes (April 11) at Islington Academy.

• La Linea Festival (April 15-May 4) hosts global superstars and the best emerging talent from the Latin music world, including Juana Molina, Sara Correia, Melingo, Bebel Gilberto and more, in venues across London, including the Jazz Cafe, Union Chapel and Rich Mix.

• Baxter Dury, son of the late Ian, has made a cult following for himself. He plays The Forum on April 22.

• Darwin Deez plays Electric Ballroom (April 23).


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