The capital’s music calendar is on typically diverse form this month, with events lined up to suit all tastes and temperaments. From stadium-trotting megastars to Nobel laureates, homegrown electronic heroes to artists from the furthest reaches of the globe, we round up the best music April has to offer.
The month kicks off explosively as US hip hop supergroup Run The Jewels hit the Roundhouse as part of their European tour. The duo of El-P and Killer Mike just put out their third album to public and critical acclaim, and will be firing hits at the Camden crowd on the 1st. For a silkier touch, pop-funk fetishist Bruno Mars will be bringing his 24 Karat Magic World Tour to the O2 Greenwich on four nights from Tuesday 18th – Saturday 22nd. Rounding out the big-name highlights of the month, Jamaican stalwart Sean Paul will be bringing his buoyant dancehall fusion to the O2 Kentish Town on the 21st. He may be better remembered for his guest vocal spots than his solo work, but Paul’s sure to bring all his crowd-pleasers (we’d be holding our breaths for Blu Cantrell’s ‘Breathe’).
Yesterday’s stars have made a recent habit of getting back together for revival tours and concerts. Every few months another band seems to be reuniting and the motives often seem financial rather than artistic. Still, there are a few golden oldies we’d still be thrilled to see, and some of them are playing in the capital this month. Top of the bill are seminal rock group The Who, whose singer and guitarist Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will be getting together for a concert at the Royal Albert Hall on the 1st, celebrating 50 years since their first gig. R&B icon Billy Ocean will be stopping by the London Palladium on the 20th, where grizzled folk itinerant (and recent Nobel laureate) Bob Dylan will also make an appearance on the 30th.
For those with more alternative tastes, Scottish band The Jesus and Mary Chain are a reunion worth a look. The group that heavily influenced the late 80’s shoegaze sound will soon be releasing their first album in almost twenty years, marking the occasion with a gig on the 5th at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush. A few days later adventurous indie crew British Sea Power will be in the same spot, but it might be worth checking the band out at the Barbican on the 5th instead, where they’ll be performing a live soundtrack to a series of Polish animations. If you prefer hip hop beats to guitars, cult Tennessee rapper Isaiah Rashad will be at the O2 Islington on the 7th, while Californian R&B tripsters The Internet will be at Scala on the 10th. You might, by this point, have danced and bopped all your energy away, in which case check yourself in to the Southbank on the 21st for an evening of ambient music and meditation courtesy of English electronic pioneers The Orb.
As always, there’s plenty of exciting music in London that comes from beyond the English-speaking world, and in April Camden’s Jazz Café has a particularly tasty line up. They kick off with the father of Ethiopian jazz, Mulatu Astatke on the 5th, whose virtuosic live shows are absolutely unmissable – even at the age of 73. The next week Cuban singer Daymé Arocena will perform, bringing her distinct Afro-Cuban sound on the 14th, while bold American saxophonist Colin Stetson, known for his work with Arcade Fire and Bon Iver as well as his ‘New History Warfare’ solo albums, will stop by on the 23rd. For more established world talent, Brazilian tropicalia veteran Caetano Veloso will perform at the Barbican on the 21st. But if you’re looking for something truly fresh, don’t miss Natacha Atlas at Rich Mix on the 23rd. The Anglo-Egyptian’s blend of electronic rhythms and Arab instrumentation has made her a big hit in the Middle East, and her unique vocal style deserves to be heard in the flesh.
For the ravers, the club schedule offers a mix of blockbuster lineups and offbeat parties. The best of the big guns include The Hydra’s party with DJ Koze, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Jeremy Underground at Printworks on the 22nd, where you can expect the choicest disco and house, and rising star The Black Madonna’s new residency at XOYO, where the queen of Chicago house hosts Derrick Carter and Dutch maestro Young Marco on the 21st. But to hit up the biggest parties would be to miss the eccentricities of London’s nightlife – cult German house crew Giegling doing a silent disco in the Barbican Conservatory on the 2nd, incendiary Italian selector Mr Ties taking a break from his Berlin BDSM parties to play at The Colombian on the 7th, or a night of experimental club sounds and global beats with Bala Club at The Yard on the 15th. Maybe most intriguing of all is the fourth instalment of Hyperdub’s new party Ø on the 19th at Corsica Studios – a blend of visual art installations and madcap Wednesday raving, whose last edition featured a surprise DJ set from none other than Björk.
So don’t try and tell us you’ve got nothing exciting planned!