Like music? Go to London

What kind of music do you like?

Brilliant – London has something for your tastes coming up in the next month or so. Wait, I hear you cry, you didn’t even hear my answer so how can you know there’s something playing in the city that tickles my fancy? The answer is mathematics.

There are so many gigs going on in London each week, sounding out such a diverse range of music, you can’t fail to find something worth going to. I mean, if you’re a music fan like me who doesn’t live in London then taking a peek at a capital gig calendar will have you choking on your toasted crumpet/lunch bagel/roast dinner – or mid-meal snack if you happen to be browsing the web between meals.

Music at London

But forget about all that food you glutton – there’s a feast of music awaiting you in the capital and all you need to access it is a gig ticket, a plane/train/bus ticket and some accommodation – perhaps in one of the city’s many affordable Premier Inn’s.

What to see?

This is the big question and looking over the calendar of events may have already given you the answer. But if you’d like a little direction as you trawl through the acts that are playing, fear not — I’ve done some legwork and can lead you through some of the upcoming highlights. Here’s a couple of processes that I’ve thought up.

If you’re not set on any particular act or genre you could always take the finger of fortune approach to choosing a gig. It goes a little like this: Close eyes, extend digit, poke at the screen, open eyes, go to gig you’re pointing at. This option comes with the disclaimer that if you gig turns out to be awful you can’t blame me.

A more sensible approach comes in grouping the gigs around genres that you like and seeing which you can/want to make. This is what I’ve done, although I’m not promising my genre’s or groupings are of the most scientific nature.

Past Masters

If you’re looking to see some of the living legends of pop and rock music then you’re well catered for. And by well catered for I mean throughout the next month or so you probably won’t be able to turn around in London’s streets for fear of tripping over an ageing superstar.

Here’s your rundown of the big name performers doing gigs in the city:


  • Sat 15th                 The Who                                                         O2 Arena
  • Mon 17th              Neil Young                                                    O2 Arena
  • Tue 18th                Pet Shop Boys                                              O2 Arena
  • Fri 21st                  Leonard Cohen                                            O2 Arena
  • Saturday 22nd   The Killers                                                      Wembley Stadium
  • Sat 22nd               Marianne Faithfull + Bill Frisell            Southbank Centre
  • Tue 25th               Jimmy Cliff                                                    Shep Bush Empire
  • Tue 25th               Frankie Vallie                                               Royal Albert Hall
  • Wed 26th             The Congos                                                     Jazz Café

Retro cool acts

This next selection are those acts who’ll probably be included as past masters when all the current past masters finally hang up their microphones. These are the guys who cracked it in the 80s and 90s and are still going strong – even if they look a little ropey (I’m looking at you here, Shaun Ryder).

As an aside, have you noticed how things are becoming retro-cool much quicker these days? The distance between things being deeply uncool and becoming retro-chic seems to be shrinking all the time. Does it mean that we could soon be un-ironically calling sap-rock titans Keane cool soon? Don’t be silly. Anyway, here’s the list:


  • Sat 8th                The Stone Roses                                  Finsbury Park
  • Sun 9th              John Cooper Clarke                            Palladium
  • Sun 23rd           Boy George                                             Southbank Centre
  • Fri 28th             The Pharcyde                                        Garage
  • Sat 29th             Happy Mondays                                   Forum


  • 9th                    Blondie                                                   Kew Gardens
  • 14th                  Richard Hawley                                  Somerset House
  • 16th                  Ben Harper                                            Shepherd’s Bush Empire

The sound of now

Finally we’ve got a bit of a mixed bag of acts which are all fairly contemporary and playing in London soon. There’s everything in here from alt-electronica (Sub Pop’s finest troubadour Iron & Wine) to stadium rockers (Kings of Leon) so there’s got to be something that you like. Here they are:


  • Fri 7th              Public Service Broadcasting + Hot Chip          British Library
  • Wed 12th         Kings of Leon                                                              O2 Arena
  • Sun 23rd         The XX                                                                            Osterley Park
  • Tue 25th          Tame Impala + Melody’s Echo Chamber         Hammersmith Apollo


  • 9-10th               Frank Ocean                                                   Brixton Academy
  • 12th                  Band of Horses                                                Somerset House


Which of these shows gets your juices flowing?