“It is going to be a mega party!” Aussie blues champ Ash Grunwald promises for his forthcoming show at Koko to celebrate TNT’s 30th birthday. “I’ll dip into the back catalogue as well as some of the new stuff – I’ll be picking the party tunes for the night.” 

Ash arrives in the capital at the end of the UK surf and beach community’s Sea Level tour. With seven albums to pick from he’s got no shortage of crowd rockers, but the Melbourne-born bluesman will be bringing something new to the capital, too, arriving fresh off gigging Down Under with The Living End’s bassist Scott Owen and drummer Andy Strachan.

“Scotty and I are mates,” he says of the collaboration sparked after the two began jamming when Owen moved to Ash’s hometown of Byron Bay.

“We’d played a little before and I wanted to do something different, so I got Scott and then Rob Hirst [from Midnight Oil, no less] to make a novel rhythm section.” The threesome played a string of shows last year, before Hirst was replaced by Owen’s bandmate Strachan for a 14-date tour of Oz, which began last week in Hobart.

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Book tickets to see Ash Grunwald at TNT’s 30th birthday party at Koko 

Ash regularly collaborates, but this latest team-up of his trademark blues sound with rock’s power has made a new impression. “I never do things in the rock genre,” he says. “So it was something different for me that’s powerful and fun.”

The new supergroup even recorded an album, Gargantua (out June 20), which includes a bunch of new songs, including a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s global smash Crazy, which Ash fell in love with despite his love for old over the contemporary. 

Their lead single, The Last Stand, was inspired by controversial coal and gas mining in Australia.

“It’s the worst environmental thing to ever happen in Australia,” he says. “I used the idea of drawing a line in the sand, and wrote the lyrics from that.”Working with Owen and Strachan opened up a new way of working, too. 

“The notion of rehearsals is pretty novel to me,” Ash laughs. “But those guys are rehearsers, over-rehearsers even, which is a good thing!”

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Fresh off rocking out in the southern hemisphere, Ash will arrive in London  with Matthew P, Polly Maloney and Melic in support, and with punk-rock’s urgency flowing into his legendary solo show and well-toured blues grooves. 

“I keep things fresh for myself by mixing it up a lot,” he says of how his recent collaboration influences have influenced his trademark sounds. “

If you tour a lot in Australia, which is how I made my name, you inevitably play in the country a lot, which can be pretty raucous. You end up with a pub mongrel element in your music after a while, which I like!”

It will be this mongrel energy and his recent brush with the rock world that Ash will be tapping into at Koko. “My theory is people work a nine-to-five job, or even if they’re stoned all day, it’s great to come see music and leave excited and on top of the world.” 

You’d need a lobotomy not to agree with that – it’s party time! 


More Aussie gigs in London >

Book tickets to see Ash Grunwald at TNT’s 30th birthday party at Koko 


See Ash at TNT’s 30th Birthday Show.
Koko. July 28. £15  NW1 7JE  
Tube | Mornington Crescent  



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Flume – Embankment

The 21-year-old Sydneysider’s debut went to number one in the ARIA charts and his XOYO gig earlier this year sold out in the blink of a kangaroo’s eye. He’s back, this time with two shows at the Embankment club-cum-live-music-venue Heaven. The star of this lad, aka Stephen Hartley, is rising rapidly!

£10, July 3 & 4, 7pm 
9 The Arches, WC2N 6NG 
Tube | Embankment  

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Bowie Jane – Across London

Stories don’t come much better than that of this pop siren lawyer – all fancy suits and Ally McBeal sass in the courtroom by daytime, but when the night falls she’s a slinky pop star (see P32 for more on this double life).

London-based Aussie singer Jane (above) released her debut single Luv Bomb earlier this year and has been seen at festival stages including Homelanz, Blackpool Pride and even the Australian Open grand slam tennis championships in Melbourne earlier this year. Sophomore single Bad Boy is due for release on July 8. 

£10+, June 23, 12pm & Aug 10, 12pm 
Essex Pride Festival, CM1 1JJ;
Homelanz, TW8 9JX  
Station | Chelmsford  
Tube | Boston Manor 


This Flight Tonight – east London

The indie-rockers who recently relocated from NZ to the Big Smoke explore the genre by recalling Radiohead, fellow London-Kiwis Temper Trap and even the late great Jeff Buckley. Their debut album Friendly Fire was out last year and the group, despite being signed, manage and crowd fund themselves to maintain their autonomy. Also appearing at Homelanz.

June 17, 10pm 
Vibe Bar, E1 6QL  
Tube | Old Street  


Book tickets to see Ash Grunwald at TNT’s 30th birthday party at Koko

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Desmond and the Tutus – North London

Only London show this summer for the SA four-piece is Homelanz. 

£30, Aug 10, 12pm 
Boston Manor Park, TW8 9JX 
Tube | Boston Manor  


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Jagwar Ma North London

Sydney duo Jono Ma and Gabriel Winterfield release their hotly anticipated debut album, Howlin’, on June 11, and have this hit-up-the-touts show at XOYO to blast the UK with their baggy-meets-electronica tunes.

You’ve heard Come Save Me already, and had its Haçienda fused with contemporary cool drilled into your cranium. Now think of a whole album chock full of these infectious little blighters. Did we say they’re going to be huge?

£9, June 19, 8pm 
32-37 Cowper St, EC2A 4AP  
Tube | Old Street  


Glenn Aitken – across London

The respected New Zealand singer-songwriter will be playing a bunch of shows this summer across the capital. First up, he’ll be gracing the stages of southwest London at both Putney’s iconic Half Moon and then in Balham at ace local venue The Bedford (July 9), ahead of August’s Homelanz festival.

Aitken moved to London back in 2003 to pursue his musical career and instantly found a superstar fan of his own, when Paul McCartney listed Aitken’s tune The Way as one of his favourite songs of 2004 before guesting on his debut, Extraordinary Lives. If you’re going to have a superstar fan, then you can’t do much better than a royally recognised ex-Beatle!

£5, June 17, 7pm Half Moon Putney,
93 Lower Richmond Rd, SW15 1EU 
Tube | Putney  



Book tickets to see Ash Grunwald at TNT’s 30th birthday party at Koko

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Xavier Rudd – Camden

Singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, all-round talented bastard, activist, even – Rudd is many things. To check out just how special this guy is as he plays the drums, didgeridoo and guitar, often all at the same time, get down to his Koko show, where he’ll be dipping into his 11-year-long, seven LP-strong back catalogue, as well as serving up cuts from latest LP, last year’s Spirit Bird.

£22.50, June 24, 7pm 
1a Camden High Street, NW1 7JE  
Tube | Mornington Crescent 

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Melic – north London

What do you get if you put a funk-rock bassist, a metal drummer, a classically trained saxophonist and a rock singer-songwriter into the same band? Easy – Melic (above). The groove-rockers from NZ have made London their home base for a while now and have been rocking you good folks the whole damn time.

The EP Nowhere I’d Rather Be is out now, and the band have a debut LP in the pipeline due this summer. Play Water Rats (Jun 26) and Bush Hall (Aug 2). Best of all, they’ll be rocking TNT’s 30th (July 28). 

£7, June 26, 7pm 
Water Rats, WC1X 8BZ 
Tube | King’s Cross 

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Deep Sea Arcade – north London

The psychedelic Sydney indie-rockers (below) are another all-conquering component of the current Aussie invasion. They released their debut, Outlands, last November to critical acclaim, and have supported the likes of Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds, The Charlatans, and Kaiser Chiefs.

They’ve a new single out, Granite City, and a load of summer UK dates including the Buffalo Bar, the Shacklewell Arms (July 20) and the Blackadder and Friends all-dayer in Islington (Aug 10).  

£7, June 12, 7pm 
Buffalo Bar, N1 1RU 
Tube | Angel  


Book tickets to see Ash Grunwald at TNT’s 30th birthday party at Koko



Splashh – Hyde Park

One of the support acts to The Rolling Stones at their first Barclaycard British Summer Time gig at Hyde Park, these guys serve up grunge and indie with sunny vibes mixed in among the scruffy tunes (and jeans).

An Antipodean-Brit hybrid (frontman and guitarist Sasha Carlson and drummer Jacob Moore are the Kiwis, guitarist Toto Vivian’s the Australian, and bassist Tom Beal is the UK component), they formed last year and their debut, Comfort, is due out July 2. 

£95+, July 6, 12pm 
Hyde Park, SW1X 7LY 
Tube | Hyde Park Corner  

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Tame Impala – Hammersmith

Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker (above) won’t be suffering from lonerism when he and the rest of the band stride into London this month to cement their place as the hottest band of the moment and, surely, the best Aussie export since Guy Pearce rocked up on Ramsay Street. Well, you get what we mean.

The Perth fivesome’s sophomore LP, Lonerism, was a Best Album of 2012 mainstay, making this Apollo gig hotly anticipated. Be there or be box-shaped!

£22, June 25, 7pm W6 9QH  
Tube | Hammersmith  


Tahuna Breaks – North London

Named after Tahuna Street, where they had their first jam, the NZ seven-piece are this year’s Homelanz headliners.  They’re famed for an energetic live show and a sound that’s genre-crossing – funk to reggae to soul –  and decade sprawling. A classy southern hemisphere act. 

£30, Aug 10, 12pm 
Boston Marnor Park, TW8 9JX 
Tube | Boston Manor  


Book tickets to see Ash Grunwald at TNT’s 30th birthday party at Koko

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Blue King Brown – Highbury

The Melbourne-based eight-piece urban roots band led by singer-activist Natalie Pa’apa’a bring their spirited tunes to town. Known as much for their all-encompassing live show as for their political and philosophical take on the world, its people and its future, they’re a force to be reckoned with.

Music that feeds the mind, body and soul, and might make you want to get out there and affect a change – or dance. Play Homelanz, too (Aug 10). 

£12, July 1, 7pm 
The Garage, N5 1RD 
Tube | Highbury & Islintgon 

Flight Facilities – North London

Funky house, disco and pop abound on the Sydney DJ duo’s new single, I Didn’t Believe. They play Village Underground. 

£11.50, June 13, 7pm 
54 Holywell Lane, EC2A 3PQ  
Tube | Liverpool Street  


Book tickets to see Ash Grunwald at TNT’s 30th birthday party at Koko 

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I Am Giant – north London

They’ve just finished a UK tour in support of debut The Horrifying Truth and new single Neon Sunrise. The mental three-piece hit up Homelanz. 

£30, Aug 10, 12pm 
Boston Manor Park, TW8 9JX 
Tube | Boston Manor  


What Now – north London

Vocalist and guitarist Ryan Morris, drummer Adam Jenkins and vocalist and bassist Tyron Layley were born in Ballito, South Africa, but are based in London now. Influenced by the likes of pop-punkers Green Day, alt-rock kings Foo Fighters and My Chemical Romance. 

£30, Aug 10, 12pm 
Boston Manor Park, TW8 9JX 
Tube | Boston Manor  

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Munkinpure – north London

The alt rock band (above) upped and relocated from their native Johannesburg to London back in 2010 and have played consistently across the city. They followed the 2010 debut This Is Where The Money Went with the EP A Different Kind Of Beat, a hit last summer. Also play ZIM Arts Day (Aug 3), Homelanz Festival (Aug 10), Samfest in Surrey (Aug 17) and Dublin Castle (Aug 26). 

£7, July 12, 1pm 
The Fiddler’s Elbow, NW5 3HS 
Tube | Chalk Farm  


Book tickets to see Ash Grunwald at TNT’s 30th birthday party at Koko


Photo: Getty, Daniel Shipp,  facebook.com/bluekingbrownfacebook.com/desmondandthetutusfacebook.com/iamgiantband