Grooves: New Voices; Wendy James; Billy Cobham; Aaron Unknown; Big Gig Lotto; Janet Devlin

Thursday, 23rd September 2021 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Wendy James

Wendy James

ONE of the pleasures of Camden Town life is seeing the daily influx of fans and bands that are a constant reminder of the resilience of the borough’s music scene.

As the musicians return after a tough couple of years, heralded by the coaches, vans, roadies and ever-changing venue signs (The Underworld is a particular delight for ghoulish and fatalistic announcements) so do the fans. Young and old turn up to witness their idols at a proximity they may not find elsewhere and they queue with loyal dedication.

There’s also the daily challenge of determining if the day’s proliferation of a certain band’s T-shirts signals an immin­ent show or just a usual day in one of London’s prime gathering spots for music lovers where Rolling Stones, Ramones and Libertines tops routinely punc­tuate the streets.

Saturday was unmistakeably Frank Turner’s day – the T-shirts were everywhere as his Lost Evenings four-day Roundhouse takeover continued – his merch stall is clearly doing well.

Frank Turner joins Emmy The Great, Lyrix Organic (hosts of Glastonbury Festival’s Rum Shack), Acoustic Live and Women Connect to judge the New Voices talent competition – a search for underrepresented performers, musicians, rappers and wordsmiths aged 18-25. Winners will be invited to perform live at Union Chapel in November. Performances displaying “conscious lyricism” are encouraged. Email video entries to, by October 25.

• Wendy James finally takes to the stage at Islington Academy on Oct 1 after Covid forced her to cancel her tour supporting fifth solo album Queen High Straight three times.

Massive Attack’s Bristol Sound pioneer Daddy G DJs at Jazz Cafe tomorrow (Friday) with Queen Bee.

• Revered Jazz drummer Billy Cobham, who has worked with Miles Davis, James Brown, Sonny Rollins, Mahavishnu Orchestra and countless others, has a reputation that precedes him. He plays two nights at Jazz Café (Sept 30-Oct 1).

Carnaby Street continues its rock reputation with the opening of a new Queen immersive store on Sept 28. Stop off at The Rolling Stones’ store while you’re there.

• Michael Kiwanuka used to love jamming with musicians at Spiritual bar. It’s one of the best ways for musicians to test out new material, build confidence, contacts and fans while experiencing a unique evening. The Green Note has an open mic night hosted by Rob Thom on Sept 28 – seize the opportunity!

South London rapper Aaron Unknown brings his Cray Nature Situations tour to PowerHaus on Sept 24.

• Support young creatives and win a VIP backstage Roundhouse tour, gig tickets and membership in The Roundhouse’s Big Gig Lotto. See the website for details, closing date Oct 1. The venue is back on form with The Specials + Pete Williams (Sept 23-24); Ash + Indoor Pete (Sept 25); DJ Spoony presents Garage Classical + Norris ‘Da Boss’ Windrose (Oct 1) and Skindred + Jamie Lenman + Saint Agnes (Oct 2).

Deny winter is coming at the sizzling Reggaeton Fiesta at Piccadilly Institute, Sept 25.

• Canada’s Tokyo Police Club celebrate the 10th anniversary of their album CHAMP at The Dome on Sept 24.

Irish singer Janet Devlin made her name on YouTube aged 12, then on X-Factor in 2011. She brings her Confessionals tour to Union Chapel on Sept 24.

Upcoming gigs: Mason Hill, Underworld (Sept 24); Ash, Roundhouse; Leee John (of Imagination), Jazz Café; The Subways, The Forum; Rollo Markee & Lewis Fielding, The Green Note (Sept 25); Adrian Oxaal, Mat Gilmour & Kelley Swindall, The Greet Note (Sept 30); BULL< The Lexington (Sept 29); Spear of Destiny, 229 (Oct 1); Martin Stevenson, 100 Club (Oct 2); BEN. L’Oncle Soul, Islington Assembly Hall (Oct 3); Old Sea Legs, Slaughtered Lamb (Oct 4); Red Rum Club, Lafayette; Sam Fischer, The Garage (Oct 5); Inhaler, The Forum; Sebastian Plano, St Pancras Old Church (Oct 6); The Lathums, The Forum (Oct 7).

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