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Top ten London gigs in November

Check out the cream of the capital's gigs taking place this autumn

It’s plenty chilly out, and what better way to keep warm than by seeking out a sweaty room full of adrenaline-pumped music fans? Here’s our guide to the best London gigs happening this November.



Critics' choice

Twin daughters of the late Buena Vista Social Club percussionist Anga Díaz, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz have picked up plenty of props for their cajón-laced, stripped-back soul in English and Yoruba. Fans of traditional Afro-Cuban music, FKA Twigs and CocoRosie alike will find something to groove to here.

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Until Tue Nov 3
© Andy Morgan

Songhoy Blues

Critics' choice

Mainstream music rarely tackles the big issues these days. You don’t get Rihanna singing about the deficit, or Skrillex sampling Thomas Piketty in one of his sick drops. But those artists don’t come from somewhere like Mali – a country torn apart by coups, Islamist insurgency and French intervention since 2012. If they did, their music might have something of the weight and passion of Songhoy Blues, the Malian rockers using music to heal the emotional wounds inflicted by war. They first came to Western attention at the end of 2013, thanks to their appearance on the latest compilation from Damon Albarn’s Africa Express. That track, a collaboration with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, was not only hypnotically and aggressively groovy, but also a heartfelt plea for patience from the refugees of Mali’s conflict with Islamist group Ansar Dine. It was a dream come true for lovers of African music and punk rock – here were the sounds and beats of Mali, but gnarled, distorted and angry. Now they’re back with ther new single ‘Irganda’ – a high tempo guitar jam, rippling with post-punk drums, insistent group vocals and rapid-fire blues licks. Their London shows have started to sell out fast, but if you do manage to get a ticket then you’ve got some awe-inspiring desert grooves to look forward to.

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Until Sat May 21

Eagles Of Death Metal

Critics' choice

This will undoubtedly be a storming gig from the two libidinously charged, maximum-rockin’ dudes behind EODM: Jesse ‘Boots Electric’ Hughes and Josh ‘Babyduck’ Homme (of Queens Of The Stone Age). Their hilariously swaggering take on the classic riffs of the Stones and the New York Dolls is dealt out with panache, wit and intelligence, not to mention plenty of subtle twists.

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The Forum (O2 Forum Kentish Town) , Kentish Town Friday August 26 2016
© Alexandre Isard

Chilly Gonzales/Kaiser Quartett

Critics' choice

Cravat-loving piano maverick Chilly Gonzales teams up with German string brigade the Kaiser Quartett to perform new material at a London residency. His insouciant wisecracks, musical wisdom and lightning-fast fingers make him as much of a live draw as any pop star.

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Until Sat Nov 7
© Hordur Sveinsson

John Grant

Critics' choice

When former Czars frontman Grant released his second solo album ‘Pale Green Ghosts’ in 2013, he revealed himself fully as one of the most brutally honest, self-aware and distinctive songwriting voices of his generation. Now he bares his soul, tackling heartbreak, addiction and HIV, on stage in London. Bring tissues.

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Until Wed Jun 15

Kurt Vile & The Violators

Critics' choice

Formerly best known for collaborating with Philadelphia noise-rockers The War On Drugs, Vile's brilliant last album 'Wakin on a Pretty Daze' has made him a major live draw in his own right. His lo-fi psychedelia and sunny, echo-sodden, eccentric folk-rock is something quite special, with a habit of hypnotically working over chord sequences over and over again while Vile lazily spools out his touching, down-home lyrics in a Dylanesque drawl. It's all cool as hell – and that's even before you find out that 'Kurt Vile' isn't even a stage name. Tonight he steps out with his long-standing backing band The Violators for a show in light of upcoming new album 'b’lieve i'm goin down', which is penciled in for an autumn release.

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Until Thu Mar 10


Critics' choice

Any ’90s alt rock band worth their salt can muster bone-crushing riffs and angst-dripping vocals, but Californian five-piece Deftones are also masters of complex and unexpectedly subtle songcraft and dreamy ambient interludes. They’re coming back to the UK for the first time in years, presenting a live show that’s probably best compared to Operation Rolling Thunder. New material should make an appearance too.

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03 Jun 2016


Critics' choice

After more than a decade of uproarious, brass-fuelled fun, the 11-piece folk big band have announced their intention to split up. Join them tonight on their farewell tour for a last big sing-along.

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Until Sat Apr 23

Courtney Barnett

Critics' choice

Young Australian Barnett is one of the biggest songwriting talents around at the moment, crafting sharp, witty lyrics that tease out the hidden significances in everyday life. She and her powerful band pair those words with circling psych-rock melodies and touching, downbeat indie-pop, and play tonight from her excellent debut album ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’. Read the ten best Courtney Barnett lyrics

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Until Wed Jul 13
© Ryan Patterson

Natalie Prass

Critics' choice

At her last London show, this Virginian singer-songwriter brought out Ryan Adams and Jessie Ware to sing a Janet Jackson cover. Now she returns to London for more brassy indie-soul. Admirers of the brilliant Matthew E White – a frequent Prass collaborator – will be enraptured.

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30 Nov 2015
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