Alternative Music Gigs to look forward to

Will Rathbone

We’ll begin with a live-stream to whet your appetite for live music as Mercury-nominated jazz drummer Moses Boyd performs tracks from his pulsing, driving polyrhythmic synth, brass and percussion masterpiece Dark Matter live from the Barbican Centre on 18 April. The album was a highlight of last year and Boyd, part of the ever-inventive and inspirational London jazz scene, is a dynamic front-man and superb musician.

Moving into May and Thundercat - another jazz pioneer, this time from across the pond - takes to the stage at the O2 Brixton Academy on Friday 7 May. To say Thundercat is a bass player is factually correct, but a huge understatement. Taking the bass to uncharted territories through his blend of cosmic jazz and woozy funk, Thundercat is forging a path all his own.


We’re big fans of Joan as Police Woman, so we’re excited to see her perform in Islington’s spellbinding Union Chapel - a venue that blends an intimate atmosphere with spectacular surrounding architecture - on 22 May. Cover Two came out last year to great acclaim, and here she’ll perform songs by artists including OutKast, The Strokes and Blur - her version of Out Of Time is gorgeous - as part of of a specially put-together trio of guitar, bass and drums.
We could have chosen any number of gigs from the Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival, which this year is curated by awe-inspiring cultural icon Grace Jones (in fact, check out our special London festival preview here for more detail). For this article though, we’ve chosen Solange, performing at the Royal Festival Hall on 11 June. Now, we’re not going to lie, the only remaining tickets are expensive, but having seen Solange perform at Glastonbury a few years back we can safely say her live shows are sensational, combining pinpoint choreography with a gorgeous colour scheme and stunning set design to accompany her soulful blend of Neo Soul and alternative RnB. 
Over to one of our favourite London venues - Camden’s Jazz Café - where Ghanaian legend Pat Thomas plays on 22 July with the Kwashibu Area Band. A prominent figure of the 1960s hi-life scene before transitioning seamlessly into the explosion of afro-beat in the 1970s, Pat Thomas has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the last decade following the release of his eponymous 2015 album (which we heartily recommend). For a joyful release on the dancefloor, you won’t find much better.

Finally, fellow 2020 Mercury Prize nominees Porridge Radio have added a second date at Village Underground on 24 November after selling out their first. It’s been a big year for the Brighton four-piece, and having already gathered a loyal cult following they’ve since entered the mainstream but been unable to play larger shows for obvious reasons. Plenty has been written about lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Dana Margolin’s stirring lyrics and rawly delivered vocals - and for good reason - and we reckon this could be a truly cathartic gig where crowd and band unite. 

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