Online Gig Highlights November 2020

Will Rathbone

Live music began returning to London before Lockdown 2.0, however the updated restrictions have curtailed audiences physically attending gigs even in a socially distanced manner. To tide us over, organisations and venues have been hard at work organising live-streamed and pre-recorded concerts - many of which are broadcast online for free. We’ve highlighted some of our favourite venues, places and artists here but, if there’s somewhere or someone you’re particularly fond of, it’s worth looking them up online too - there’s a good chance they’ll have something to watch.
Two of London’s biggest orchestras have been able to set up in large spaces - the Royal Festival Hall, and Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall - and record some gorgeous symphonies and concertos. London Philharmonic Orchestra have a number of solo and group recordings, pieced together from the performer’s DIY home-recordings, available to watch for free; the Philharmonia have been recording Philharmonia Sessions, which see an ensemble of Philharmonia musicians come together with a guest conductor to record 45min short performances. London Symphony Orchestra are live-streaming weekly concerts on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as the delightful Coffee Sessions on Mondays. Across the pond, New York’s Metropolitan Opera are releasing a tranche of recorded performances - a different show every day at 7:30pm, available for free until 6:30pm the following day.

Barbican Centre

The Southbank Centre hasn’t only been hosting the London Philharmonic - alongside panels of Booker Prize nominees and live comedy performances, they’re also hosting BBC Concert Orchestra cellist Abel Selacoe, who performs Barak Schmool’s continent-spanning 20th Meridian - a work which pays tribute to the huge variety of music found throughout the African continent, made specifically for the cello. The Barbican Centre are also live-streaming two superb concerts. Part of the EFG London Jazz Festival (which is now entirely online, you can read about our highlights here), jazz virtuoso Shabaka Hutchings performs a series of pieces on the clarinet with the Britten Sinfonia live on 18 November, while on 13 December Professor Brian Cox delivers a talk on space accompanied live by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Plenty of artists are organising gigs independently too. Rufus Wainwright, a wonderful songwriter, is revisiting every song from his eight-album career to date in a series of live-stream concerts every Friday from 13-27 November - all of which are available to watch after the events themselves. Former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker’s new project, Jarv Is…, have recorded a live set from their new album (in a cave!) which is available to stream - “Live from the Centre of the Earth” -  until 2 December. Katie Melua’s gorgeous, silken vocals are calming, restorative and much-needed right now - she performs tracks old and new live at the Rivoli Ballroom on 4 December. Finally, two former titans of Brit-pop take their new projects live in very different ways. Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz will be joined by a host of special guests to play their new album Song Machine live on 12 and 13 December, while Liam Gallagher plays songs from his solo and Oasis back-catalogues live from the banks of the River Thames on 5 December. 

Katie Melua

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