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Critics' choice gigs in the capital


  1. April
  2. May
  3. June
  4. July
  5. Further ahead

Yard Life Festival

  • Critics choice

This new charity festival puts all its profits towards MS Research, and brings a big line-up of young bands and DJs to Islington across the Easter weekend. Performers on Saturday include Van Susans, Youth Club and Nudes, while Sunday's line-up features Lemmy Ashton, Men's Adventures, The Savage Nomads and Younghusband. As well as the music there's a barbecue, a market and art installations throughout the venue, so you can get the full festival experience – and feel good about it.

  1. Islington Metal Works 7 Torrens St, off City Rd, EC1V 1NQ
  2. Sun Apr 20 - Mon Apr 21
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Live Jazz At The Rabbit

  • Free

Jazz music sessions in the cocktail bar featuring a variety of instrumentalists every week.

  1. The White Rabbit 125 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 0UH
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Thu Dec 18
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Little Havana

At this weekly Friday night session at Floridita, visiting Latin American bands and musicians play live Latin jazz, salsa, merengue and other hot grooves, followed by DJs until 3am.

  1. Floridita 100 Wardour Street, W1F 0TN
  2. Fri Apr 25 - Sat May 31
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Jazz Skool

  • Free

The Jazz Skool quintet play hard bop, cool and soul jazz classics every Thursday night.

  1. Oui Madame 182 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 7UY
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Thu Jun 19
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Trash Tuesday

  • Free

New York-styled open mic session for cabaret, musical and jazz singers.

  1. Cellar Door Zero Aldwych, WC2E 7DN
  2. Tue Apr 22 - Tue Apr 29
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Fletch's Brew

  • Critics choice

Hard-hitting, drum-led modern jazz from sticksman Mark Fletcher, exploring a fusion-edged mix of classics from the likes of Weather Report, Pat Metheny and Michael Brecker. The band also features keyboardist Jim Watson and trumpeter Freddie Gavita.

  1. Ronnie Scott's 47 Frith Street, W1D 4HT
  2. Sat Apr 26 - Sun Apr 27
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Desertfest

  • Critics choice

The capital's premier (and only) festival of stoner rock and doom metal returns. It's run by the promotion company Desertscene, who have been putting on heavy, heavy music in the capital since 2009, and has a sister event in Berlin. This year's Camden line-up features a host of hairy, guitar-wielding legends, including Boris (the Japanese avant-metal legends, not the mayor), recently reunited stoner heroes Spirit Caravan, Norwegian metalcore dudes Kvelertak and Scots doomwreakers

  1. The Black Heart 3 Greenland Place, NW1 0AP
  2. Fri Apr 25 - Sun Apr 27
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The Ronnie Scott's Blues Explosion

  • Critics choice

Blues night co-led by pianist/vocalist Paddy Milner and jazz guitarist Tony Remy.

  1. Ronnie Scott's 47 Frith Street, W1D 4HT
  2. Sun Apr 20
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Damon Albarn

  • Critics choice

The multitalented Blur and Gorillaz man, Africa Express instigator and all-round melancholy musical geezer goes solo, performing songs from the first Damon Albarn album 'Everyday Robots'. Tickets for these warm-up shows before he goes on a festival-headlining tour in the summer will be as precious as Damo's gold tooth, so get in there.

  1. Queen Mary, University of London 321 Mile End Rd, E1 4NS
  2. Wed Apr 30 - Thu May 1
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Fuck Buttons + Mount Kimbie

  • Critics choice

Two superb electronic music duos become one double-headed monster, co-headlining a gig to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the online music shop Bleep. Mixing up terrifically, thrillingly abrasive electronic distortion with sublime melodies and psychotropic post-house, Fuck Buttons formed to make one soundtrack in 2004 and have since released three extraordinary albums. The latest is called 'Slow Focus', and has reached a far bigger audience than ever before after two of the

  1. Barbican Hall Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8BS
  2. Fri Apr 25
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The Sam Kelly Trio

  • Free

Up from Crawley for the night, Kelly and his band play energetic folk-rock. In support are their fellow Sussaxons, Stark: an impressive young Americana-influenced trio from Brighton who showcase a gift for Seth Lakeman-sized choruses bursting with tight, driving melodicism and folk harmonies.

  1. The Boogaloo 312 Archway Road, N6 5AT
  2. Sun Apr 20
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Toy

  • Critics choice

Scowling like the Stones and riffing like the Stooges, burning through OMD-like synth ballads, krautrock grooves and Hawkwindian chugs with the same ferocity, and taking tips from the psych-noise rush of My Bloody Valentine and Ride along the way, Toy are one of London's best young bands. Catch them tonight as they play from their new album 'Join the Dots' and their 2012 debut.

  1. O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire Shepherd's Bush Green, W12 8TT
  2. Sat Apr 26
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Ben Harper

Fresh from a collaboration with Delta blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, American singer Harper returns to the UK for a solo tour. His output ranges from Mississippi roots music to soul and gospel via out-and-out pop and R&B.

  1. London Palladium 8 Argyll Street, W1F 7TF
  2. Sun Apr 27
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Cheltenham Jazz Festival

  • Critics choice

Robert Cray, Jamie Cullum, Billy Cobham, Laura Mvula, Gregory Porter, Jools Holland, Curtis Steigers, Tinariwen, Gilles Peterson, Kurt Elling, Frank Sinatra Jr., Snarky Puppy, Paul Dunmall, Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. This week-long indoor festival – part-curated by impossibly fresh faced Jamie Cullum, who also performs at the event – features the best of British and international jazz performers and is always a big highlight of the jazz calender due to its mix of esteemed

  1. Various Cheltenham venues
  2. Wed Apr 30 - Mon May 5
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See more London concerts in April

  1. April
  2. May
  3. June
  4. July
  5. Further ahead

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