Grooves: Andy Ross; Independent Venue Week; Deja Vega; Koko

Thursday, 27th January — By Róisín Gadelrab

deja vega

Deja Vega play the Lexington on Wednesday

THIS column could not go to print without taking a moment to recognise the industry giant Andy Ross, who has sadly died. Without Andy, the Camden music scene of the 90s would have been a very different animal. He captured a moment and, you know the rest. Probably most famed for signing Blur, the former head of Food Records left an indelible mark on Camden Town and British music. RIP.

After a rough couple of years for the music industry, show your favourite gig spot some love by attending one of the many gigs scheduled for Independent Venue Week (Jan 31-Feb 6). It takes place across the country, with plenty of London dates from the likes of cult duo Wet Leg + Prima Queen (100 Club – Feb 2); deep tan + Priestgate + DEADLETTER (The Social – Feb 1); LONGY + The Gospel Trash (The MacBeth – Feb 4); Benjamin Francis Leftwich + Elanor Moss + Wounded Bear (Lafayette – Feb 2); Legss + Butch Kassidy + Web (The Old Blue Last – Feb 5) and many more across the city. See www.independentvenueweek.com for the full line-up and venue list.

• For those not quite ready to face indoor venues yet, Hampstead Theatre’s short video featuring actor Stockard Channing showing its heavyweight ventilation system, which changes the entire venue’s air in four minutes, gives some reassurance. Many venues won’t have the budget for something like this but it’s enlightening to catch a glimpse of how people can feel safer venturing indoors for cultural events.

Followers of Tim Burgess’s listening parties may have heard Deja Vega’s second album, Personal Hell, feature on Sunday evening. A natural evolution for the north-west three-piece, it showcases their ability to slide deft melodies into urgent rock. However, it’s on stage where Jack, Tom and Mike are earning a loyal following. See their next epic gig at the Lexington on Wednesday.

• Barbican has announced a long weekend of celebrations to mark its 40th anniversary (March 3-6). Expect appearances from hip hop dance company Boy Blue, Nadine Shah, Marc Almond, Emmy the Great and more paying homage to the capital in Songs In the Key of London and more.

Ready for its big return, Koko has announced a big recruitment drive. Working in a music venue can bring some incredible memories. Visit www.koko.co.uk/careers for details.

• January Blues Festival continues at 100 Club this week with The Animals + Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band (Jan 27), concluding with British rhythm and blues band Nine Below Zero on Jan 28.

Award-winning Swedish fiddler Lena Jonsson and her trio play The Green Note on Feb 7.

• Echo & The Bunnymen mark 40 years of magical songs at the Roundhouse on Feb 7.

Venues continue with be blighted by cancellations and postponements. Jane Birkin’s Feb 5 show at Barbican has been postponed to July 9, Sega Bodega’s Scala gig has been cancelled and Canadian band Purity Ring have had to put off their Roundhouse gig due for Jan 30. In a statement, the band apologised for the inconvenience and sadness the decision may bring, adding: “The decision of whether or not to play a show during a pandemic currently falls on the artist’s shoulders alone when it should be the responsibility of public health officials, national and local leaders, and the music industry at large to ensure the safety of artists, crew, concert-goers and our families. Having watched loved ones hurt, hospitalised and killed by this virus, we feel it would be insensitive and reckless to carry on with tour as if the pandemic isn’t happening out of love and respect for those who have died, come too close, or who have to suffer the consequences of long covid, we regretfully must push our dates.”

• BBC Music Introducing’s first London events of the year include a show at The Lexington on Feb 3 featuring Daisy Brain, Cody Frost and Cathy Jain.

More upcoming gigs: The Shackleton Trio, The Green Note (Jan 31); US hardcore punk band Turnstile + Chubby and the Gang, Roundhouse (Feb 1) Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Lafayette (Feb 2); Mic Righteous, Islington Academy (Feb 4); Chameleons + Membranes, Islington Assembly Hall (Feb 5); Black Country New Road, Roundhouse (Feb 8); Glasvegas, The Garage (Feb 9); GoGo Penguin, Barbican + live stream (Feb 10).

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