“One good thing about music when it hits you feel no pain – so hit me with music, hit me with music…” These Bob Marley lyrics are the truth especially in regard to a great live performance. He is one artist I wish I was old enough to have seen play live in London. Our live music venues have singers and musicians worldwide eager to play in them. London audiences are notoriously hard to please, so playing live on a London stage is seen by many as a rite of passage. It’s also the ultimate platform for social and political commentary through music.
Luxury London will highlight just a few of our historic live music venues...
The Jazz Café
Jazz Café is one of the many music portals for Jazz, Soul, Funk, Hip-hop and Neo-soul. An intimate venue where, if you aren’t willing to get into the spirit of things, there is no point in going. Even if you’re upstairs in the restaurant that overlooks the stage area, you’ll be dancing along whilst munching on your bucket of sweet potato fries. The legendary 80’s funk group Cameo and one of the original hip-hop lyricists – KRS-ONE will both play here in July.
Camden is famous for its live music venues and has a multitude of music venues located within a short walking distance of each other. Macy Gray and Sheila E are playing here in the coming weeks. Along with contemporary music the Jazz Cafe gives voice to influential musicians of the 70’s, 80’s and 90's.
The Barbican is an amazing acoustic venue for classical and world music (as well as theatre, art and dance). It showcases quality world music. The great Gilberto Gil will play in July with the London Symphony Orchestra (one of the resident Orchestras) as part of their Summer Music 2012 programme. The Vienna Philharmonic performed here last week. Van Dyke Parks whose albums defined ‘Americana’ in the late 60s/70 will also perform in July. There is a kaleidoscope of musical events this season including the Afro-Cuban Fiesta; a collaborative event with Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra and Pedrito Martinez on the 16th July. Where these artists will explore the links between American jazz big band and Afro-Cuban jazz and come together to play sweet music. Definitely one not to be missed.
Formerly known as ‘The Town and Country’ this original art deco cinema in Kentish Town holds a lot of happy memories for me. Being the original hip-hop chic, I never saw the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, Bauhaus, Franz Ferdinand, Jane’s Addiction or The Cult perform here to sell out audiences. I have however, seen acts such as Wu-Tang clan, NAS and The Fugees live at The Forum. I’m also very excited about Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie’s show this week. Other upcoming concerts include Robert Plant, Die Antwoord and KISS’ Help for the Heroes gig. This is one of the coolest music venues for the coolest acts.
Located just off Charing Cross Road in Soho. The Borderline is an indie band haven. This venue is for those of you looking for something different that is far removed from the Justin Biebers of this world. The majority of bands/artists are underground acts. Yet it’s also a great place for seeing acts that are on the verge of breaking. Big names such as R.E.M., Reef, Marina and the Diamonds and PJ Harvey have all performed here. The Borderline has also played host to young British talents we’ve lost along the way; Amy Winehouse and Lynden David Hall. Hardcore band, Comeback Kid and metal band Mortad will play here at the end of the month. These gigs are a refreshing change to the mainstream, and are sure to bring the noise!
02 Academy Brixton
I have a personal connection with this South London venue set in London’s most famous ‘hood’ - Brixton. Watching Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys and Run DMC perform were pivotal moments in my teenage life.
The venue is a beautiful art deco building that has played host to numerous acts. I imagine that when you play Brixton Academy you know you’ve made it. To fill out a near 5,000 capacity is a milestone in any artist’s career. The artists who’ve performed here are too many to mention. The band, Garbage are ending their 7-year album hiatus by performing here on July 1st. My most memorable concert was D’Angelo’s Voodoo tour in 2000. He was an all-rounder: a singer, dancer, musician and a hottie! The packed crowd of mainly women (and the odd man) unashamedly fell in love with him – performance after performance.
London is famed for these venues and countless others. With music as vibrant and diverse as its people, to not represent that wouldn’t be the London thing to do.
The musical genres showcased are eclectic and endless. You can find an indie band in a tiny unknown pub in Dalston or pop/rock royalty playing at secret venues in and around town. And don’t forget it’s totally painless, that’s unless you stumble across a really crap tribute band along the way, but that’s another story...
Welcome to Luxury London.
Written by Camille Adomakoh – Karma-Style