Grooves: Music Photography Awards; Eurovision; Roundhouse; Electric Ballroom

Friday, 20th May — By Róisín Gadelrab

Darwin Deez

Darwin Deez is at the Electric Ballroom on May 20

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of Abbey Road Studios’ first ever Music Photography Awards celebrating the unforgettable, unique and unsung music images of 2021. Selected from an incredibly strong selection of candidates, the winners were honoured with an eye-catching award at an industry-packed ceremony on Saturday night in the revered Abbey Road Studio One.

Explaining the motivation for the awards, Kentish Town photographer and judging panel member Rankin told the audience: “Photography in music is undervalued, particularly now.”

We can’t do the winners (Megan Doherty, John Lyons, Jack McKain, Chris Suspect, Joe Puxley, Greg Noire, Samuel Trotter and Yana Yatsuk) justice here but visit for all nominated and winning images and photographers (it’s worth it).

This is one set of awards that will hopefully grow and continue to recognise the hard work of those with an eye to capture the essence of those most memorable moments in music.
Special mention to Icon Award winner Eric Johnson, whose snaps documenting US music culture in the late 90s and early 2000s featuring the likes of Biggie Smalls, Nas, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill and Aaliyah, defined the era.

• This year’s Eurovision Song Contest was as kitsch as ever – see the semi-finals for the song about salad, an overtly sexy rock cowboy on a bucking bronco and more – but as the years progress, the ceremony still manages to strike a balance of fun, credible tunes, politics and songs that celebrate the culture of their own country or region. Some may sniff but, whether you’re a serious music aficionado or just looking for a party, it’s one night worth staying in for if you can – or stream it later!

• Our editor Richard Osley drifted back to his student days – pulling an all-nighter covering the elections, before heading to the Roundhouse to see 90s Britpop band Sleeper on May 6. See his review online at  Continuing the 90s theme, my review of Simon and Oscar of Ocean Colour Scene’s magical acoustic set at Union Chapel on Tuesday is also online.

• Oldies with kids and early risers who love a rave don’t forget Annie Mac’s first ever Before Midnight club night takes place at Islington Assembly Hall on May 20.

• Obama favourite and New Orleans icon Trombone Shorty brings his jazz-infused sound to the Roundhouse on May 23 accompanied by The Orleans Avenue. Also coming up at the Roundhouse are The Smile – a new group featuring Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood and Sons of Kemet’s Tom Skinner (May 29-30); Miles Kane (May 31); Lorde (June 1-2) and Crowded House (June 4-5 and 7-8).

• Eleven years after I first encountered the bizarro world of Darwin Deez, the poppy singer known for his electric live act is back to perform his self-titled 2010 debut album at Electric Ballroom on May 20. Back then he told me: “It’s my mission to make music for people who are not even music fans”, so expect a memorable night and wide appeal. Also at the Ballroom are Dirty Pretty Things + The Ramona Flowers + The Dead Freights (May 26).

• Grammy-nominated singer Perla Batalla brings her musical celebration of her friend and collaborator Leonard Cohen to the Union Chapel on May 31. Perla performs a selection of Cohen’s songs and shares anecdotes and memories of her friend in her House of Cohen show. Before that, Daniel Rossen (of Grizzly Bear) + Clara Mann play the Chapel on May 20.

• Ex frontman of the RMPs and son of Billy Bragg, Jack Valero plays Lafayette alongside Will Varley on May 21.

• The latest edition of The Dublin Castle’s Rock n Roll Book Club has relocated to The Water Rats. This one, a discussion about art, statement and purpose throughout 30 years of punk and music with designer Malcolm Garrett MBE RDI, the man behind Buzzcocks’ original record sleeves and who has worked with the likes of Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Oasis, Orbital and Iron Maiden (May 25). Music from DJ Tony Bugbear.

• Hampstead Players present The Jukebox Café at Hampstead Parish Church Crypt Room (May 26-28) – a toe-tapping, finger-snapping cabaret featuring pop songs of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

• Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon plays Koko on May 23. Also coming up: Knucks (May 25); Jorja Smith + FAMM (May 26); Hania Rani (May 27); Amaarae (May 31); and Patrice Rushen (June 1).

More upcoming gigs:

• Travis + Fatherson, Roundhouse; Mercutio + Bex + Isabella Coulstock, Camden Assembly; Miss Baby Sol – Live at the Amadeus (May 20);

• Antibalas Islington, Assembly Hall; Hailu Mergia, Kings Place; Elvana, The Forum (May 21);

• Budjerah + Vance Joy Koko (May 22);

• The Abyssinians, Jazz Café (May 22-23);

• George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, The Forum; Novo Amor, Barbican (May 23);

• The Shires, Palladium (May 24);

• Katie Spencer, Green Note (May 25);

• Todrick Hall, Palladium (May 25-26);

• Donny Benét, The Dome; The Limiñanas, Scala; Conrad, Powerhaus (May 26);
Richard Spaven, Jazz Café; Ben Walker, Water Rats (May 27);

• Glassjaw, The Forum (May 27-28);

• R.A. The Rugged Man, Jazz Café; Union J, Palladium; Adam Green, Lafayette; The Luka State, The Lexington; John McLaughlin, Barbican; Bloc Party, Alexandra Palace (May 28);

• The Unthanks, Palladium; Ozric Tentacles, The Lexington (May 29);

• Calan, Kings Place (May 30);

• Sister Nancy & Legal Shot Sound, Jazz Café; The Wave Pictures, Scala (May 31);

• North Mississippi Allstars, Lafayette; Suzie Ungerleider, The Water Rats (June 1);

• The Flaming Lips + Heartless Bastards, The Forum (June 2).

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