5 awesome live acts: from bass to soul to indie

London has to have the best live music scene in the world. Fact.

Here are five recent gigs I’ve seen to prove it. (This contains no shaky footage with bad sound, I promise)

1. SBTRKT

A prolific duo with an amazing live setup, SBTRKT and Sampha continue to amaze me. Last year’s self-titled album has to be one of 2011’s best.

Supported by the excellent Disclosure, the headline set opened with the stage obscured by a huge print of an African mask – like the ones SBTRKT and Sampha wear onstage to. It was part rave, part jam and being on the top balcony gave us a great overview of thousands of people going nuts in an old theatre.

The live drumming sounded amazing and it was incredible to watch them creating beats and loops whilst juggling playing drums, keyboards and singing. The highlight of the night was when the awesome Roses Gabor came onstage to perform this:

Continue reading

Advertisements

Jazz freestyling, Chinese art, urban greenhouse and The Artist: In praise of the Barbican Centre

Where can you get live improvisation from Soweto Kinch, a Chinese art installation, a tropical garden and The Artist all under one roof? In the Barbican of course.

I’ve been going to The Barbican Centre since before I could walk – literally. On rainy days my parents used to take us to the sprawling concrete complex to let off steam. I’ve seen everything there from Tony Allen to Matthew Herbert and a full choir making percussion with copies of the Daily Mail to interpretive dance. I even performed with school in the foyer once (electric guitar and cello since you ask).

What better place to seek some culture and hide from the pouring rain and howling wind then? Soweto Kinch was first in the foyer – an amazing saxophonist as well as MC and producer. He asked the audience to write words they associate with London onto cards and drop them Continue reading

My Big Fat love of Gypsy music

In just over 3 months, the most popular post on the blog so far is clementine cake. I’m thrilled – re-discovering baking to complete the 30×30 list has been a joy, especially as others seem to like it. But sometimes even something that’s fun is really procrastination, taking away energy from one of the things I love the most: music.

If you live in the UK you’ve probably read and heard some of the debate around the Channel 4 show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. A lot of it centres around whether the show represents the Traveller community in a poor light by focusing on big wedding dresses and over-sized cakes.

There’s an interesting piece in the Guardian here as well as a discussion between a Traveller and one of the series producers.

Whilst I can’t claim to have a particularly in-depth knowledge of the issues faced by Travellers and Gypsies, I do have a longstanding love of gypsy music, particularly Balkan, which has led to Continue reading