Top ten London gigs in April
Check out the cream of the capital's gigs taking place this spring
From Disney Channel star to *NSync, from 'Justified' to 'Suit and Tie', JT is an irrepressible performer who was responsible for some of the most impressive R&B – and dance moves – of the noughties. Even if parts of his new album 'The 20:20 Experience' were a tad bloated, Trousersnake has enough huge, falsettoed pop hits to keep an audience grooving all night. And despite his frequent hilarious appearances on Jimmy Fallon's show in the US, don't count on any April foolishness from Justin tonight.
Mega-haired drummer Seb Rochford leads out his Mercury-nominated post-jazz quintet. Featuring ex-Loose Tubes saxophonist Mark Lockheart, tenor saxophonist Pete Wareham and 'anti-jazz' electronic injections and indie-rock guitar from Leafcutter John, Polar Bear have been the nucleus for a whole load of exciting jazz-crossover musical activity over the last few years, including Acoustic Ladyland and Wareham's brilliant Melt Yourself Down.
Daft Punk fever is a very real and very serious condition. It’s been spreading since early January, when reports of a new album from the French house duo leaked from their lab. The viral spread of the news has already caused more internet disarray than Y2K, while human symptoms include rave finger, some burning and robot-itis – a harrowing condition that makes your head turn chrome and helmet-shaped. If you're not up for giving ‘Random Access Memories’ another spin right yet, though, then a fast remedy might be to watch 2001’s entire ‘Discovery’ album played live by seven-piece band, Introducing.
The most outrageous member of the Wainwright musical dynasty, Rufus is a consummate showman with a declamatory voice and a limitless talent for melody. Tonight he performs a best-of set.
The Manics are back and sounding cinematic and thoughtful, after an angsty album (2009's 'Journal for Plague Lovers') and a big, glam pop-rock records ('Postcards from a Young Man' in 2010). The Welsh titans are talking big as usual, and claimed last year to have two albums in the pipeline. The first, 'Rewind the Film', is out now, so you can expect cuts from that alongside hits like 'A Design for Life', 'Motorcycle Emptiness', and probably some new, unheard material too.
The UK’s premier psychedelic boy scouts return with their enthralling blend of shimmering post-punk, Bunnymen-styled epics with darkly witty lyrics and off-kilter take on traditional folk. Their jerky, wry and angular sound has been getting more and more anthemically Elbow-esque recently, so raise your hands and sway till you're giddy.
Joan Wasser boasts an impressive CV. The Boston-reared singer and classically trained violinist has toured regularly with both Rufus and Martha Wainwright's bands, played with artists as diverse as The Bad Seeds, Antony And The Johnsons and Sheryl Crow, and was a long-term squeeze of Jeff Buckley's. Tonight she performs tracks from her latest album 'The Deep Field', a(nother) splendid platform for her warm and sensuous, deeply soulful voice, which recalls Joni Mitchell and KD Lang.
Bury's finest have long since broken through the stadium barrier, but it's still somehow odd to think of their warm, richly expressive, bear-hearted, thoroughly northern orchestral soul in such a venue. They've proven themselves more than capable of making the translation from record to vast stage, however, and this big gig should be a typically affecting set from the lovable alt rock grumps.
The former whooping and clattering King of the Wild Frontier continues his successful return to the stage. Tonight he's playing Adam And The Ants' debut 'Dirk Wears White Sox' in full. It's an eccentric, brilliantly skewiff post-punk classic, and he'll follow it up with some of his later hits: weird stuff for a venue as big as the Apollo, but it should make for a thrilling show.
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.
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