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Thrust your index and pinky fingers skyward in celebration of a year with stacks of gigs you can’t afford to miss.

If last year in London was the year of the athlete, then 2013 is shaping up as the year of the rock ‘n’ roll star, with all manner of rock gods, punk upstarts, alt-kings and rapidly rising newcomers ready to take to the city’s stages. 

Up first on our rundown of the must-not-miss shows are alt-rockers Biffy Clyro.

Making the step up to festival headliners last year with their main stage triumph at Download, they had previously been hunkered down in Los Angeles for the best part of two years, writing and recording their sixth album, this January’s double disc Opposites. 

“Basically the remit was that nothing is too crazy or mental to try,” drummer Ben Johnston recalls of the no-holds-barred approach that went into the ambitious LP.

Mariachi bands and bagpipe refrains abound as they took this mantra and ran with it. 

“The real challenge is doing that while maintaining the sound of the band and the identity you’ve built up over several records,” adds his brother and bassist James.

The boys from Ayr, Scotland, made a name for themselves with jagged, time- and key-switching records before fifth LP, Puzzle, in 2007 saw them embrace a more mainstream sound – a British Foo Fighters, in a way.

They followed this with Only Revolutions (2009), with Opposites closing out their trilogy of big rock records and hitting the number one spot in the UK album charts, too.

“They are very personal [records],” says frontman Simon Neil, of the intimacy behind the arena riffs.

“They’re about discovering what life is about – all the highs and lows of what being an adult entails. But you have to keep giving yourself new challenges.

“Even when Only Revolutions came out, if you said we’d make a double album next I’d say that’s ridiculous. You never know what life’s going to throw at you and inspire you to do.”

Fittingly, to close this chapter they play their biggest ever London show at The O2 and will headline the Reading and Leeds Festival in August, too. 

While rock behemoths including The Boss and The Stone Roses will be taking turns rocking London’s crowds as well, there are smaller shows you’d be a fool to miss.

Chvrches are one act you’ll be hearing more of in the months to come. Formed in 2011, the synth-pop trio – Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty – found the kind of immediate fanfare and acclaim that comes around rarely, and in their case it is deserved. 

“We were really surprised,” singer Mayberry told BBC Radio 1’s Ally McCrae of their quick-fire success.

“We just put it [debut single Lies] out as a preview track or a free download to test the water and see what people were thinking and it grew from that.” 

Follow-up single The Mother That We Share became as furiously embraced as their first.

They then graced the BBC’s Sound of 2013 list and their under construction debut album is one of this year’s most hotly anticipated.

They’ve an upcoming show at Village Underground, are at Field Day and will be cropping up on festival bills over the next few months. 

So embrace London’s big year for music – it’s going to well and truly rock! 

Biffy Clyro. The O2.
Apr 3. £22.50  SE10 0DX  
Tube | North Greenwich  
theo2.co.uk 

Chvrches. East Village.
Apr 29. £14  EC2A 3PQ  
Tube | Old Street  
villageunderground.co.uk

 

More big London gigs >>


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