Róisín Gadelrab’s music news: Brexit; Dexter Wansel; Kingmaker; Julian Cope
07 February, 2020 — By Róisín Gadelrab
UNLESS they have managed to amass resources and connections to smooth the way, international touring can throw up difficult obstacles for musicians, often due to ever-changing immigration rules. This week we hear of artists nearly missing their show, held up for six hours at customs, told by officials “you asked for Brexit, here it is”. But without some flexibility for travelling artists, many of whom are of limited means, we wouldn’t have the benefit of the incredible shows that appear on our weekly listings. Two examples this week: Mongolian rock sensations The Hu, who play Electric Ballroom on February 11. An unlikely combination of Western rock music and traditional Mongolian instrumentation and throat singing creates their signature “hunnu-rock”, now a global sensation. Their shows – and records – are striking and it is a privilege to be able to witness them in the flesh on our shores. Then, at Jazz Cafe on February 12, Afghan singer Elaha Soroor and award-winning collective Kefaya bring their take on sounds of the Middle East to life, supported by London-based Sudanese band The Scorpios. Whether it be to assist touring or artists coming to live and work in the UK, there needs to be less of an emphasis on financial contribution and more on the contribution to culture that these people bring.
• BRITs week is here with a series of high-profile shows in venues across London in aid of War Child. See cult rapper Yungblud (above) in the intimate Camden Assembly (Feb 10), Decklan McKenna at Islington Assembly Hall (Feb 12), former One Directioner Louis Tomlinson at Scala (Feb 13) and Bastille Reorchestrated at London Palladium (Feb 22), amongst many others – tickets by auction – for full listings + tickets visit https://britsweekwarchild.co.uk/
• Even with the recent rains, Australia is still burning and reports suggest it may get even hotter. Do your bit to help at Fire Aid at The Social with Blue Arcade, Mouthful and Paul The Kidd on February 10.
• Take the rare opportunity to see Grammy-winning funk-soul producer-musician-composer Dexter Wansel at the Jazz Cafe on Feb 7, returning to the stage after having suspended his touring career for the majority of the past 20 years. His music has been sampled by the likes of Kanye, Drake, Ice-T and Ice Cube. Support from singer-songwriter Louise Golbey.
• A slightly younger Grammy-nominated funk-soul act – Black Pumas – a duo from Austin, Texas, play Islington Assembly Hall on Feb 7.
• Relive the 90s with the return of indie-rock group Kingmaker, playing their first London headline gig in 25 years at The Lexington on Feb 7. Support from fellow 90s band Collapsed Lung – famed for 1996 hit Eat My Goal.
• Cow-punk skiffle kings Terry & Gerry hit their heyday in the mid-80s, releasing a series of singles, an album and touring with Billy Bragg, Hank Wangford and more. A favourite of John Peel, they play the 100 Club on Feb 8.
• Norwegian electronica duo Röyksopp (above) take over the decks at Egg LDN on Feb 8.
• Jarvis Cocker and Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor – two of Spiritland’s long-term collaborators – play a rare and exclusive B2B set at the venue’s Festival Hall site on Feb 8. Tickets are limited to 200, with dinner bookings available beforehand.
• Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, responsible for one of those pop hooks you never want to hear again, plays the Roundhouse on Feb 8.
• Following the release of his brand-new album, Self Civil War, singer, poet, and occultist, Julian Cope – former frontman of The Teardrop Explodes – brings a solo performance of new material and music from his back catalogue to the Barbican on Feb 8. Support from singer-songwriter Tom Hickox.
• Arizona underground rock band Supersuckers released their debut album on Seattle’s Sub Pop label back in 1992, going on to be labelled as one of the greatest rock ‘n roll bands in the world. They play the 100 Club on Feb 9.
• Notable gigs this week: The Rifles Unplugged, 100 Club (February 12 + 13); Van Common (above), O2 Islington Academy; Gentleman’s Dub Club, Electric Ballroom (Feb 13).