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Top ten London gigs in May

Start off the summer with some of the best live music London has to offer

Summer’s here, but before the music festival season starts luring London’s music fans out of the city there’s time for another packed month of live music. Here are our biggest and best gigs and concerts in London this May. Don’t miss our May music festivals calendar either!

© Jeff Hahn

Christine And The Queens

Critics' choice

Héloïse Letissier’s synthpop project takes in dramatic songcraft, stark visual presentation and awe-inspiring dance moves. She’s a fast-rising star who’s already huge in France, so act quickly if you fancy catching her live in London.

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Until Tue May 3

Caetano Veloso/Gilberto Gil

Critics' choice

Counter-cultural icons for a whole nation, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil were two of the major figures in the Tropicalismo movement that swept Brazilian cultura in the late ’60s. On the 1968 album ‘Tropicália’, Veloso and Gil, along with artists such as Os Mutantes and Tom Zé, took eclectic influences (psychedelic rock, funk, samba-jazz, pop, avant-garde music and left-wing politics) and turned them into something entirely new. The next year, Gil and Veloso were both arrested, imprisoned and exiled from Brazil. They lived and worked in London for the next three years, and now – over four decades later – will be on stage together in their home-from-home at this collaborative concert. It’s a potent reminder that the radical culture of the ’60s wasn’t confined to Europe and the US, and an incredibly rare opportunity to see two masters at work almost half a century since they first collaborated.

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Until Wed May 4

Iggy Pop

Critics' choice

Bowie may be gone, but thank the gods we’ve still got Iggy. The shirt-averse Detroit wildman and official King of Punk revealed a great new project last week with Josh Homme (from Queens Of The Stone Age). Hear the new stuff and some deathless Iggy classics in South Ken this May, with a band also featuring Homme’s Queens Of The Stone Age bandmate Dean Fertita and Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys.

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Until Fri May 13
Jerry Williams photographed by Jim Templeton-Cross

Rising Stars

Discover the stars of tomorrow at one of our specially curated gigs. Taking place at iconic music venues around London, our Rising Stars events showcase some of the best new artists in the capital. Each show will feature five up-and-coming artists performing intimate sets especially for you. Featuring the freshest faces in blues, rock, country and folk, this is the place to find your new favourite artist.

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229 , Marylebone Tuesday September 13 2016 - Wednesday September 14 2016

Father John Misty

Critics' choice

Sardonic singer-songwriter Josh Tillman performs as Father John Misty, supporting his superb new LP ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ (a Time Out Album of the Week). His warm, Laurel Canyon-ish folk is classic enough, but he's got a knack for macabre, surreally hilarious lyrics that sets him apart from the strumming hordes. Example: ‘I want to take you in the kitchen,/Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in.’

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Until Fri May 20

Brian Wilson

Critics' choice

A man to whom the word ‘legendary’ can be applied without any fear of hyperbole, Brian Wilson was the troubled but titanic talent behind The Beach Boys: the man whose obsession with Phil Spector led him to create ‘Pet Sounds’ and change the face of pop music forever. Now somewhat frail, Wilson nonetheless commands a huge amount of (deserved) respect and has an immense, incredible back catalogue to draw from, and since these performances will include a full rendition of ‘Pet Sounds’ we’re expecting tickets to go very quickly.

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Until Sun May 22

Fluffer Pit Parties: The Black Lips

Critics' choice

In a praiseworthy attempt to put some of the underground thrill back into London’s rock ’n’ roll scene, east London indie label Fluffer Records are putting on a series of shows in a secret warehouse venue. There’s no stage: the bands (drawn from the London scene and beyond) play on the floor in the middle of the room, making for a thrillingly loud and sweaty gig experience. May’s instalment is a huge all-dayer with The Black Lips and Bo Ningen.

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Until Sat Jun 18


Critics' choice

With a host of trendy and ear-pleasing reference points – ’90s R&B, ’80s Fleetwood Mac and Cyndi Lauper, soft funk and contemporary electronica – Mancunian singer-producer Shura Denton is a good bet for blog-storming success. Fans of Blood Orange, Kindness, Haim and first-album Jessie Ware: Shura will be your new jam.

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The Forum (O2 Forum Kentish Town) , Kentish Town Wednesday December 7 2016
Photo: Philippe Levy


Critics' choice

ESG (short for Emerald, Sapphire and Gold) distilled the black and Hispanic sounds of ’70s New York City into a tight, stripped-down new genre that some people called ‘punk-funk’. The sisters ended up supporting The Clash and Grandmaster Flash, playing at the city’s legendary Danceteria and Paradise Garage venues, and being sampled by just about every hip hop producer going.

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28 May 2016

Fetty Wap

Critics' choice

If you found yourself in a club during 2015, you most likely heard a version of ‘Trap Queen’ blaring from the speakers. New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap’s ode to slinging drugs with his girlfriend was a strong ‘song of the summer’ contender, followed by equally ubiquitous hits such as ‘679’ and ‘My Way’ (not a Sinatra cover). Catch him live in London tonight.

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Until Sun May 29
See more London gigs in May

More London gigs in 2016

The best London gigs in 2016

When it comes to live music in London, it’s wise to plan ahead. The most popular London gigs sell out months in advance. Here’s our round-up of the best London live shows in 2016, to help you discover the best new music and book tickets to the hottest concerts before everyone else does.

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By: James Manning



Really?! Rush at the 02 Arena NOT not only on this list but at the very top?! REALLY?! Are you really serious about that?!