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Top ten London gigs in February

The city’s live music calendar springs back into life this month – here’s our pick of February's gigs


Songhoy Blues

Mon Feb 2 2015. Oslo.

Hailing from northern Mali, the four members of this hard-grooving Afro-blues act were driven to Bamako by the Islamist crackdown in their home region. There they took part in sessions for last year’s brilliant Africa Express record alongside western musicians including Damon Albarn and Nick Zinner, and came over to play their first British gig at the album launch. Now they’re back for another crack at London, and should set the room alight.

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Renegades Of Rhythm

Wed Feb 4 2015. The Forum.

It must be every vinyl nerd’s wildest dream: to raid Afrika Bambaataa’s record collection. Now renowned turntablists DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist have managed to make it come true. Using selections from the 40,000-odd records once owned by the afrofuturist hip hop pioneer (and now archived at Cornell University), plus six turntables and specially created visuals, the pair will be spinning up an eclectic hip hop storm at this one-off London show.

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Tue Feb 10 to Thu Feb 12 2015. Eventim Apollo Hammersmith.

Once upon a time they were a niche concern, but Bury’s finest have long since broken through the arena barrier, and their warm, richly expressive, bear-hearted, thoroughly northern orchestral soul is perfectly suited to the big rooms they play nowadays. This three-night residency should be a typically affecting appearance by the lovably grumpy alt rock anthem-makers.

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Gruff Rhys

Wed Feb 11 2015. Koko.

Prolific pan-disciplinarian Gruffydd Maredudd Bowen Rhys is best known for fronting the mighty Super Furry Animals, but has also produced sterling work with Gorillaz, Danger Mouse and his own Neon Neon project. He’s here to perform his ‘American Interior’ multimedia show, based on his search for the grave of a distant relative who went in search of a lost tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans. Apparently.

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FKA Twigs

Thu Feb 19 and Fri Feb 20 2015. Roundhouse.

When considering London singer-songwriter FKA Twigs (real name: Tahliah Barnett), one word immediately comes to mind: spellbinding. Whether it’s her creeping, sensual songs, the subtly discomfiting visuals accompanying them, or the languid, undulating onstage motion of the doe-eyed artist (a trained dancer) one thing is certain: it’s very difficult to break the trance. After the success of her Mercury-nominated debut album ‘LP1’, these will be her biggest London shows yet.

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George Ezra

Fri Feb 20 2015. O2 Academy Brixton.

Another peak for the Bristolian singer-songwriter: he’s announced a massive Brixton show to top off his meteoric year. Cradling his acoustic guitar like a lifeline while he sings his plaintive laments, Ezra is also blessed by top cheekbones and great taste in chunky knitwear. Even bigger things could still be in store.

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The Decemberists

Sat Feb 21 2015. O2 Academy Brixton.

The cult indie outfit from US hipster capital Portland return to London for their first gig in five years, trailing a new album ponderously called ‘What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World’. Their raw, sweet, heartfelt and swinging folk-pop sound has drawn comparisons to Neutral Milk Hotel and Belle And Sebastian, and their lyrics are steeped in history and folklore – song titles on the new album include ‘Cavalry Captain’ and ‘Philomena’, suggesting no change in that department.

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The War On Drugs

Tue Feb 24 2015. O2 Academy Brixton.

The cosmic, sprawling, euphoric rock outfit from Philly provide a glimpse into an alternate universe in which the young Bob Dylan fronted a shoegaze band. Hear tracks from their superb new album ‘Lost in the Dream’ in London tonight.

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Deptford Goth

Thu Feb 26 2015. Heaven.

Despite the name, this rising producer is actually based in Peckham – and his sweeping synth tracks aren’t all that gloomy. We rated his debut album ‘Life After Defo’, and although his second LP ‘Songs’ doesn’t have nearly as good a title, it’s just as deliciously downbeat and should go down a treat live.

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Ryan Adams

Fri Feb 27 2015. Eventim Apollo Hammersmith.

Once the boy wonder of country-rock, now 40 but no less prolific and volatile, Adams returns to London to play songs from his self-titled album, and a few from ‘Ashes and Fire’, recorded with legendary Led Zep and Who producer Glyn Johns, alongside the old favourites.

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