Top ten London gigs in February
Kick off 2014 with some seriously good live music – here are our picks of February's gigs
One of America's biggest pop success stories of the past decade, Taylor Alison Swift's not yet 25 and she's already broken sales records, filled several shelves with awards and amassed a personal fortune of over $200 million. That's down to her incredibly infectious songs, which mix up Shania Twain-style country-pop with teen-friendly themes – but also to the steely-eyed determination and ambition which compelled Swift to move to Nashville at the age of 14, enter the lucrative country music market and then explosively cross over into the pop world with her second album 'Fearless'.
The rock 'n' roll poetess and inspirational punk is back for 'an evening of words and music' with her son Jackson Smith and guitarist Tony Shanahan. Her Pattiness will be singing, reading poetry and extracts from her autobiography 'Just Kids', telling stories and even taking questions from the audience.
It’s an obvious gag, but Parisian alt-rockers Phoenix really did rise from the ashes after 2009’s ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ album. As pals of Daft Punk and one-time backing band of Air, they’ve been on the scene since the ’90s renaissance of French cool. Huge singles like ‘1901’ saw the four-piece man up, rock out and write a clutch of stadium-sized songs that retain the same suave panache they save for wearing scarfs. This show will be a great chance to see the next stage in their rebirth: new album ‘Bankrupt!’.
- O2 Academy Brixton, 211 Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL
- Wed Feb 5 and Wed Feb 12
Feted by Nick Cave and Elbow, and nominated for the 2011 Mercury Prize, singer-songwriter Calvi returns with her band to perform songs from her second album 'One Breath'. Playing guitar, harmonium and violin, and favouring stark red and black stage dressing, she has a reliable dark and dramatic live presence.
Sascha 'Apparat' Ring and Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary of Modeselektor collaborate as Moderat. This Berlin techno supergroup have produced two albums, including new record 'II', and have an impressive live show with big, dreamy visuals – a bit like a more soulful version of Kraftwerk.
Oxford quintet Foals graduated in the class of 2008, when their debut album 'Antidotes' set them out as the smartest of the indie punk-funk pack, and – to judge by their latest record, 'Holy Fire' – have evolved into one of the country's finest alternative rock bands. Their unselfconscious intelligence and knack for smart, danceable pop tunes is now matched by a new love for sludgy riffs, funk grooves and organic improvisation, making them a fearsome live act.
- Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY
- Fri Feb 14 - Sat Feb 15
Back in 2012, this four-strong Hackney outfit came out of nowhere grabbed the Number One spot on the singles chart with 'Feel the Love': a euphoric smasher featuring vocalist John Newman, which fused jazzy, old-school soul with dubstep. A year on, Rudimental have produced one of the best albums of the year, 'Home'. They rock up tonight to get a capacity crowd raving in their all-out, full-band, brass-heavy live incarnation. This will go off.
Thumpers by name, thumpers by nature, this Sub Pop-signed London act might not be producing banging house music but we'd venture that you could have a fair boogie to their rhythmical, guitar-led melange. This sort of optimistic, adventurous and accessible indie is a field in which, until now, America has had the upper hand. By the time this gig rolls around, they'll be huge – book now to avoid disappointment.
With his latest album 'Immunity' shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, electronica producer Jon Hopkins has come a long way since his days playing keyboards for Imogen Heap. He's now collaborated with Brian Eno and King Creosote, both self-professed fans of Hopkins's lush, melodic electronics tones that sway from gentle dancefloor excursions to blissed-out headphone fodder. Tonight he performs his acclaimed live audiovisual set.
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