Category Archives: music
Rock, dance, hip-hop, pop, folk… whatever your taste, London has a music venue to suit you.
The hit Ealing Music & Film Festival returns to west London for 2020 with five-days of entertainment. Now in its eighth year, this annual cultural festival lights up gloomy February with an eclectic mix of theatre, music, film and more. From 12-16 February, a host of venues across the West London district hosts workshops, screenings, concerts, plays and more for all ages.
The EMFF kicks off with a lunchtime concert by woodwind ensemble The Thorne Trio at St Mary’s Church in South Ealing, followed by an afternoon immersive performance by the UWL’s London College of Music’s Headspace Project, concluded with a screening of Nino Oxilia’s Faustian classic Rapsodia Satanica (1915) accompanied by alternative soundtracks composed by LCM students.
The festival continues with a wide selection of entertainment to suit different tastes, including award-winning choir Tenebrae; a UWL production of the play Enron; the Ealing Youth Orchestra; the Ealing Symphony Orchestra and Opera Holland Park Un Ballo in Maschera. Among the workshops on offer include percussion and vlogging (both on 15 Feb). Meanwhile, for those in the mood for some romance – or not – on Valentine’s Day, watch a screening of classic love story Brief Encounter or rock opera Tommy.
- Ealing Music and Film Festival is on from 12 – 16 February 2020. Venues include Weston Hall, St Barnabas, William Barry Theatre and Lawrence Hall. Nearest stations: Ealing Broadway, Ealing Common or South Ealing. Tickets range from free to £25. For booking, visit the Ealing Music & Film website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in February, click here.
Coming to London this weekend is a brand new festival which brings contemporary and classic culture together. A host of museums and heritage spaces around the capital will be hosting an innovative new ‘Lates’ spectacular – the Emerge Festival.
The inaugural 2019 festival will see London experience a hybrid of arts and nightlife during the Friday 27 – Saturday 28 September weekend. Some of the UK’s rising new talent will be performing at some iconic venues. Artists include Jungle (DJ set), Ady Suleiman, Bryony Gordon, Lost Lectures, The Vagina Museum and young people’s laureate Theresa Lola.
The Emerge Festival will feature a wide range of events, including live music, DJ sets, talks, workshops, performances, poetry, live art installations, theatre and immersive experiences. There will even be a pop-up gin bar on the roof of the Wellington Arch.
Highlights of the new festival include rising soul stars Ady Suleiman and Poppy Ajudha at The Horniman Museum; author and journalist Bryony Gordon celebrating body positivism and mental health awareness at Dulwich Picture Gallery; UK rapper Flohio curating an evening of entertainment at the stunning 17th century Banqueting House; and a special Lost Lectures collaboration with the Natural History Museum. Also at the NHM will be the collective Jungle, who will be DJing underneath Hope the Whale and Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon installation in the striking Hintze Hall.
To immerse yourself in the Emerge Festival experience, all you need is one ticket to give you access to dozens of events at over 40 venues. Participating spaces include the Design Museum, The Old Operating Theatre, The Jewish Museum, Tower Bridge, The Monument, The London Canal Museum, and many more.
- Emerge Festival runs from 27-28 September 2019. Tickets: For 18–30s, NHS workers and benefits recipients – Day £15, Weekend £30. For over 30s – Day £25, Weekend £40. Concs available. For tickets, visit the Emerge Festival website or search Emerge on the DICE app.
Japanese cultural festival Japan Matsuri is returning to the capital this September. The annual one-day spectacular offers Londoners the chance to experience the best of Japanese food, music, dance and more. Designed for the whole family, the 10-hour festival is free to attend and takes place in the city’s iconic Trafalgar Square.
Kicking off at 10am, Japan Matsuri will host two stages featuring an exciting programme of traditional and modern theatre, dance, martial arts and music. Acts include Iwami Kagura; ICHI; Joji Hirota & the London Taiko Drummers; Hasiken; Okinawa Sanshinkai / Kenjinkai and Sonda Seinenkai Eisa Group; Hibiki Ichikawa & Akari Mochizuki; Yosakoi London – Temuzu; Hiroko Tanaka Nihon Buyo Group; O-HA-YA-SHI Couple“Reiwa” Group; and Naomi Suzuki. There will also be a family activity tent when visitors can enjoy free workshops in manga, calligraphy and origami, as well as the chance to dress up in Kimonos.
Foodies will be in for a treat with a wide variety of food stalls offering classic Japanese street snacks, including takoyaki octopus balls, yakisoba noodles and okonomiyaki pancakes. Or if you fancy something larger, you can choose from wagyu burgers, ramen, bento boxes, donburi rice bowls and sushi. For those with a sweet tooth, there will be plenty of dessert such as red-bean jam dorayaki pancakes to mochi rice cakes.
If you’re feeling inspired to visit the country, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) will also be on-site offering travel inspiration and information. The JNTO are also one of the event sponsors.
- Japan Matsuri takes place on Sunday 29 September 2019. From 10am-8pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DN. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Embankment, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Japan Matsuri website.
Gigi’s Hoxton review: Summer cocktails and delicious bites at a versatile new dining, drinking and music venue
Hoxton Square is one of my favourite areas in Shoreditch because it offers what appeals to me about the area (e.g. nightlife), but also avoids the traffic and pollution that venues in Old Street, Great Eastern Street, etc, have to put up with. I’ve been socialising in Hoxton Square since the late ’90s (showing my age here!) and always thought of the area as a little nightlife enclave with great bars and a nice atmosphere.
A new addition to the East End foodie and entertainment scene is Gigi’s Hoxton. The versatile venue is an all-day restaurant, bar and music venue with an alfresco terrace and a basement sister space Hoxton Underbelly hosting comedy, live music, DJs and club nights. Taking over the former Zigfrid von Underbelly, Gigi’s Hoxton is the latest venture from Giovanna Hussain, the woman behind some of East London’s favourite venues, including The Corner Shop and The Grapevine in Shoreditch, and The Rocksteady in Dalston. I went along with a friend last week to check it out.
As a previous customer of Zigfrid (although my last visit was some years ago), I couldn’t believe how different the venue looked. The bar had been moved from its original location and the vibrant murals by Kate Philipson had really brightened up the place. The finished look is a mix of industrial and vintage-esque chic, with colourful chairs, zinc tables, a green stone bar and neon lights.
Upon arrival, we headed straight for the bar and mulled over the cocktail list. Being a balmy day, my natural choice was an Aperol Spritz, while my friend couldn’t resist the Espresso Martini (on tap!). As a seasoned Aperol Spritz fan, I’m pleased to say Gigi’s got it spot on with the right mix of bitter and sweetness. I’ve found quite a few bars/pubs don’t get the balance right, so it’s always good to see a venue getting it right.
The ground floor is essentially a L shape so we headed to the narrower section at the back to grab a table and two leather chairs. Gigi’s menus have been created by Head Chef Antonio Mollo and are influenced by his Italian heritage, as well as classic British dishes. We tried a selection of canapes, derived from the main menu, and were impressed by the creativity and flavour. One particular stand-out was the bruschetta. Although I’ve eaten the dish often over the years, I must praise this one for being so fresh and rich in taste. Other highlights were the crispy polenta, mushroom and taleggio fondue and the tortilla taco with homemade guacamole. I’ve got to mention the pea soup, Grey Goose le citron vodka sour cream shot which was a pretty unique taste for me, but I quite liked it.
Aside from the drinking and food, one of Gigi’s USPs is its music scene. After initially being treated to some soulful house and classic R&B tracks from the DJ, we were entertained with some great live music from the Blue Lion Band.
Overall, I think Gigi’s Hoxton is a great addition to east London’s nightlife. The food and drinks were equally good. The venue had a great ambiance and the DJs and live music really completed the evening. I’ll be back.
- Gigi’s Hoxton, 11 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU. Nearest stations: Hoxton or Old Street. Open Mon–Thu: 12pm–1am, Fri: 12pm–3am, Sat: 10am–3am, Sun: 10am–12am. For more information, visit the Gigi’s Hoxton website.
For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant reviews, click here.
Highlights of this year’s Soho Music Month.
Soho is the capital of London’s nightlife, dating back to the 1950s and beyond. So where better to celebrate the district’s rich musical heritage with a month long series of events and gigs. Soho Music Month 2019 runs throughtout June, bringing a mix of established and rising artists to various venues across W1.
Throughout the month, visitors will be entertained by a range of musical genres, as well as collections, promotions and exclusive activations in shops and restaurants. There will be live sets by indie king Baxter Dury at Moscot eyewear; Lilllördag music evenings at Swedish café Söderberg; and DJ Trey Rodriguez hitting the decks at menswear brand Oi Polloi. Underground drinking destination Cahoots will be taking guests back in time with Auntie Maureen and her 1930s gramophone, theatrical DJ duo The Roustabouts and Tom Carradine’s Cockney sing-along. There will also be live music at stores such as Paul Smith (Beak Street), Dr Martens (Carnaby Street) and Levi’s Vintage Clothing and Laurel Wreath by Fred Perry (Newburgh Street).
On Saturday 8 June (12pm-6pm), ocean conservation organisation Project 0 will co-host a joint celebration of World Oceans’ Day. Pull up a bean bag on the pop-up lawn on Ganton Street and listen to the sounds of world music collective Lokkhi Terra, Delilah Holliday, St Martiins and Ese & The Vooduu People, Vista Kicks and Allthingsmata.
During Soho Music Month, there will be a Platform LDN hub and exhibition space at 3 Carnaby Street, run by the Creative Media Network. Music aficionados can enjoy DJ residencies, live music broadcasts, creative workshops and panel talks. The space will play host to hip-hop duo Run The Jewels with their first ever UK gallery exhibition, RTJ UK, to showcase UK artists and creatives. Panellists appearing at the hub include Not For The Radio presenter Duane Jones (AA Vis) and actor and filmmaker Femi Oyeniran. There will also be curated events hosted by Beats 1 radio presenter Julie Adenuga, TV and radio personality Maya Jama and DIY Generation presenter Jamz Supernova.
Meanwhile, Londoners will be able to delve deeper in Soho’s music history with free music-themed walking tours, visiting sites linked to Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Kanye West and Mos Def. The tours takes place at 6.15pm on 4, 6, 11 and 13 June and start at Cahoots for a complimentary cocktail. Register here for a place on one of the tours.
- Soho Music Month takes place from 1 – 30 June 2019. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit Carnaby website.
Few would disagree that The Savoy is one of London’s most iconic hotels. It’s been standing on Strand for 130 years. A byword for luxury, the five-star hotel isn’t just for visitors to the capital, it also has a host of dining, drinking and entertainment options for Londoners. When it comes to The Savoy’s relationship with music, it goes way back. A host of musical legends, including Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne and George Gershwin have performed in the hotel, while a more contemporary act Duran Duran have shot a music video in its hallowed halls.
Today, music is still very much part of The Savoy experience. Launching this spring is a new evening entertainment series. Live At The Savoy will kick off on 24 May 2019 in the hotel’s Thames Foyer nightly.
American singer Judi Jackson is launching the series as The Savoy’s Musician in Residence. The acclaimed jazz vocalist will begin on Wednesday 24 April and three further dates. The Virginia-born performer has recently released her debut album Live In London and tours internationally. Jackson has collaborated with Warner Music’s George Moore and Michael League, member of Grammy award-winning band Snarky Puppy, and credits Wynton Marsalis and Mavis Staples among her influences.
Also performing during Live At The Savoy will be American-born and Liverpool based soul singer/songwriter Jalen N’Gonda. He was hailed as ‘a voice full of nuances and golden songs’ at the 2018 Montreux Jazz Talent Awards and opened for Motown legends Martha And The Vandellas in Liverpool in 2015.
- Live At The Savoy with Judi Jackson: 24 April, 24 May, 20 June and 25 July.
- Live At The Savoy with Jalen N’Gonda: 9 May, 16 May (and further dates).
During the entertainment, guests can feast on the new Thames Foyer evening menu, available from 7pm. It has been inspired by The Savoy’s famous 19th century chef Auguste Escoffer, who invented the Peach Melba. The menu is divided into three sections: Prolgue (7pm-8.30pm); Story (8.30pm-10.30pm) and Epilogue (conclusion). An extensive drinks list will also be on offer.
- Live At The Savoy takes place in the Thames Foyer. At The Savoy, Strand, Westminster, WC2R 0EZ. Nearest stations: Embankment, Charing Cross or Temple. Tickets: £25pp with additional minimum spend on food and drinks at £20pp. Tel: 020 7420 2111 or email. For more information, visit The Savoy website.
It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but we like it! Coming to Carnaby this month is a new exhibition of some of music’s most iconic stars. Photography legend Gerard McNamara will be displaying some of his classic music images. Among the artists featured in the exhibition are Kate Bush, Blondie, Clash, The Police and The Pretenders. The showcase will celebrate the 40th anniversary of McNamara’s photography career and contribution to music.
For 10 days, a free exhibition will be hosted in the Newburgh Quarter on behalf of The Museum of Soho. Rarely seen and previously unseen images from McNamara’s archives will be on show at 3 Newburgh Street from 12 – 21 April 2019. On show will be McNamara’s first ever published photograph, of Kate Buss on her Tour Of Life concert in 1979, which appeared in Smash Hits magazine.
Other artists captured on McNamara’s Olympus OM-1 camera include Adam & The Ants, Gary Numan, The Selecter, Iggy Pop, U2, and Toyah. The photographer’s work has appeared in a host of books and publications, including Mojo, The Face, NME and Record Mirror.
Meanwhile, on Record Store Day on 13 April (3pm onwards), visitors to the exhibition will be invited to enjoy performances from Parisian jazz singer Florence Joelle, rising singer/songwriter Emily Capell and ska and reggae favourite Nick Welsh aka King Hammond.
- The Unclosed Eye exhibition runs from 12-21 April 2019. Open daily 11am-7pm. Free entry. At 3 Newburgh Street, Soho, W1F 7RE. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby website.
East London drinking and dining destination Number 90 is celebrating its fifth party with its biggest weekender ever. The Hackney Wick hangout will be hosting a mini festival over 4 – 7 April 2019. Expect DJ sets, gastro delights, new cocktails, competitions and art… and the festivities are free!
Located by the canal, the Hackney venue will kick things off on Thursday night with music from Stranger Than Paradise Records. The party really gets started on the Friday with Dutch DJ and producer Tom Trago hitting the decks, as well as Fabric’s new resident DJ Anna Wall and all-female collective SISU spinning until sunrise.
On Saturday evening, iconic record store Phonica Records will be hosting the festivities along with The London Disco Society, Late Night Tales and Vicious Creatures keeping the party going until 6am. During the night, revellers can expect a special surprise from Number 90’s neighbour space Studio 9294. Finally, the celebrations will wind down with a chilled Sunday. Enjoy a boozy brunch with Tropical Disco Records providing the Sunday soundtrack.
- Number 90 Bar & Kitchen’s 5th Birthday party takes place on 4 – 7 April 2019. Number 90 Bar & Kitchen, 90 Wallis Road, Hackney Wick, E9 5LN. Nearest station: Hackney Wick. Open Thu and Sun 12pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-6am. Free entry. For more information, visit Number 90’s website.
For the latest what’s on guide in London, click here.
This spring, hear the hits of David Bowie as you’ve never heard them before. International cabaret superstar Sven Ratzke is bringing his brand new show to London for three nights only.
Where Are We Now – Bowie Unravelled sees Ratzke showcasing his unique interpretations of Bowie tracks at the Crazy Coqs club with Live @ Zedel. Located in the same building as Brasserie Zedel and Bar Americain, Crazy Coqs is an intimate, vintage cabaret club which evokes the spirit of the 1930s and 1940s music scene.
Accompanied by pianist Christian Pabst, the show will feature Ratzke reinterpret Bowie’s hit songs with new arrangements. The cabaret star will use his special storytelling and improvisation talent to reveal a different side to tracks such as Heroes, Rock’n’Roll Suicide and Let’s Dance. You can also expect to hear new original material in the tradition of Bowie.
Ratzke’s new show comes three years after his previous critically-acclaimed Bowie production Starman was a huge hit on the festival circuit. He won Best Festival Show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016 and it was nominated for the Helpmann Award in Australia. His most recent production Homme Fatale was critically praised when it was toured worldwide.
- Sven Ratzke will perform ‘Where Are We Now – Bowie Unraveled’ from 30 May – 1 June 2019 at 7pm/9.15pm. Live At Zedel takes place at Crazy Coqs, 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Brasserie Zedel website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in April, click here.
Find out what shows to check out at this year’s Vault Festival, the capital’s very own fringe arts festival running from 23 January – 17 March.
Vault Festival is returning to Waterloo this January for two months of entertainment. London’s very own fringe festival is back in the atmospheric Victorian tunnels below Waterloo mainline station. Over eight weeks, over 2,000 artists will perform in over 400 shows. Londoners will be entertained by theatre, comedy, cabaret, immersive experiences, late night parties and more. Now in its seventh year, Vault Festival runs from 23 January to 17 March 2019. As well as giving a platform to rising new talents from the arts world, proceeds from ticket sales go to Help Refugees and Child.org’s Team Mum campaign.
Here’s Metro Girl’s recommendations of shows to check out at the Vault Festival 2019:
- Fool Britannia
Pay a visit to Britain’s worst school! Masters of the absurd Dan Lees and Neil Frost take you back to your school days with an hour of side-splitting comedy. Taunt the supply teacher, bunk off PE and get caught smoking behind the bike shed.
23 – 26 January. Brick Hall @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.
- Yours Sincerely
A queer coming-of-age comedy exploring the complications of communicating in the 21st century. After accidentally stealing 300 2nd class stamps, Will Jackson decides to revive letter writing as he puts pen to paper and gets in touch with old friends and ex-boyfriends. Based on actual correspondence, Will tells the story through the letters and lip-sync cabaret. The show was originally produced by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in November 2018 for their Foundry Artist festival.
30 January – 3 February. Cage @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.
A thought-provoking new play by Sara Aniqah Malik explores what it means to be a Muslim in London today. Telling the story through two Muslim women using live music and performance, Salaam explores mental health issues and racial abuse.
30 January – 3 February. Cavern @ The Vaults. Tickets: £15. For more information and tickets, click here.
Go on a universal quest to find hope in a galaxy of loneliness. A lone astronaut is on a one-way mission the edge of the universe. This Dublin Fringe play is presented by Nessa Matthews with Eoghan Carrick.