BT River of Music
Featuring six stages stretching the length of the Thames in the city, this ambitious festival of sound and performance gives each of those stages a ‘continent of the world’ theme to create a truly eclectic, eccentric and globe-spanning experience.
Part of the London Festival 2012, the River Of Music showcases an Asia stage in Battersea Park; a Europe stage in Somerset House and Trafalgar Square; an Americas stage in the Tower of London; an Oceania stage at the Old Royal Navy College in Greenwich; and an Africa stage at the London Pleasure Gardens.
The Africa stage features a hugely diverse line-up of talent, such as The Noisettes, ace guitarist Justin Adams and veteran singer Angelique Kidjo, who has a full backing band to complement her staggering vocal performance.
Soul queen Beverley Knight, alongside saxophonist Andy Sheppard, Jools Holland And His Rhythm And Blues Orchestra and Guillemots frontman Fyfe Dangerfield take to the European stage.
Folk-meets-alt-sters 9Bach, choral collective Coastal Voices and Australian muso Frank Yamma represent the Oceania stage, with the likes of Indian tabla player Zahir Hussein and Pakistani qawwali sensation Asif Ali Khan among the wealth of talent drawn from across Asia for its representative stage.
New York glam-poppers Scissor Sisters (above), back this year with their fourth LP, Magic Hour, bring their glam-electro-pop to the Americas stage. Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis also performs.
Plus, it’s all part of the Olympics celebrations and all free. No excuses.
Various venues across the city
July 21-22 | Doors at 11am | Frree (registration required)
The rock and indie blowout to the end of festival season, this bank holiday weekend extravaganza has, over the course of its history, welcomed Metallica, Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins to its stages.
This year, it’s the turn of the nicest guy in rock, Dave Grohl, and his Foo Fighters to close out the Sunday night, with Kasabian headlining Saturday and The Cure bringing their goth-indie-pop to Friday night. Rock on!
Richfield Avenue, Reading, RG1 8BD.
£197.50. Aug 24-26.
Station | Reading
Gig: Blink 182
They started starring naked with porn stars in their videos, and singing songs called Dick Lips. Now, though, back from a hiatus that saw them work on various other projects, the boys are men, with loftier lyrical themes and their punk roots infused with an emo-styled sensibility, and new album Neighborhood, too.
July 25-26. 7pm. £35
211 Stockwell Road, SW9 9SL
Tube | Brixton
Club: Sneaky Sound System
Following the release of their critically lauded third LP, From Here To Anywhere, Aussie dance duo singer Miss Connie Mitchell and producing partner in crime Black Angus McDonald hit town for a night of electro-house-pop. They’ve a number of yet-to-be-announced special guests in tow, too.
Sat, July 21. 10pm-6am £10
Town Hall Parade, SW2 1RJ
Tube | Brixton | electricbrixton.com
Gig: Ice T + Chuck D
Ice T and co headline this show as part of the premiere celebrations for his new history of rap documentary, Something From Nothing … With legendary Public Enemy frontman Chuck D, and Melle Mel and Raekwon, along for the ride, this is set to be killer. Showing even T has embraced maturity, he’ll be doing a post-show Q&A, too.
Thurs, July 19. 7pm. £50
45 Queen Caroline Street, W6 9QH
Tube | Hammersmith
Club: Up On The Roof
Soul, disco, house, hip-hop and beyond – you can expect to hear everything at this eclectic south London party which honours the Notting Hill Carnival’s Good Times stage.
GT mainman Norman Jay spins a three-hour set, with Sancho Panza following after, honouring the man and party that’s become a summertime institution.
Sun, July 22. 2pm-1am £8+
476 Brixton Road, SW9 8HH
Tube | Brixton | brixtonclubhouse.com
Club: We Fear Silence – Blackout
Dutch trio Black Sun Empire have taken the continent by storm with their techno-infused drum ‘n’ bass, and they are bringing their much- lauded club night, Blackout, to the UK. D ‘n’ B god Dillinja, Ed Rush and Exit Records’ dBridge are just some of the names joining him to make this evening something special.
Sat, July 21. 10pm-6am £10+
Cable, Bermondsey Street Tunnel, SE1 3JW
Tue | London Bridge | cable-london.com
Gig: Claudia Brücken
The synthpop seductress headlines the glam and plush Bush Hall, along with a host of former bandmates and collaborators, including Glenn Greggory and Martyn Ware from Heaven 17, Andy McCluskey from Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (or OMD for short), and Susanne Freytag from Brücken’s old group Propaganda.
Thurs, July 19. 7.30pm £25
Bush Hall, 310 Uxbridge Road, W12 7LJ
Tube | Shepherd’s Bush | bushhallmusic.co.uk
Band to watch: Plant Plants
The buzz so far This east London duo released their debut, EP, last year, produced by Simian Mobile Disco’s Jas Shaw, shooting them straight to the top of the ‘making waves’ lists.
They’re back with a follow-up, which pulls together many diverse sounds – electronica, beats, samples, guitars, and pop-tastic vocals reminiscent of Robert Smith. And this eclectic soundscape is conjured live when the duo hit the stage – no laptop accompaniment here.
The Critics say “They radiate sheer gleeful, party vibes.” Vice Noisey
The plug One To Adore and EP2 are out July 18 through This Is Music.
They play Birthdays, 35 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BJ
Dalston Kingsland, July 17, £7
Photos: Getty Images