On Saturday April 22 the world’s independent record shops come together to celebrate Record Store Day 2017, and London’s top music boutiques are set to join in the fun. Whether you’re an avid vinyl collector or just want to catch some great live music, be sure to get involved. Free special events, gigs, DJ sets, pop-ups, exhibitions and workshops will be taking place at record stores around London, and lots of one-off vinyl and CD releases – some recorded exclusively for Record Store Day – and promotions are available on the day. Here’s our full guide to the best of RSD in London. We'll be updating this page with details for 2017 as soon as they're announced.
Located just off Charing Cross Road, the Borderline is a 300-capacity basement venue which has been one of Soho’s top live music destinations for the past 30 years – hosting legendary gigs from REM, Oasis, Rage Against The Machine and Suede. The venue reopened this week after a recent change of ownership and a pretty drastic overhaul. The good news is that fans will be delighted. First up, they’ve got rid of that Mexican saloon bar theme and replaced it with state-of-the-art lighting and slick metallic shapes. Even the corridor to the toilet looks like a stylised gangway from ‘Star Wars’. While it’s always great to have a level of rock ’n’ roll grottiness, it’s also cool for a venue to be accessible and have clean, non-overflowing toilets. Elsewhere, we’ve got high hopes for the new, overhauled ARCS soundsystem and that dark corner where bands tended to sell merch is now a colourful seating area. New owners DHP Family (who also run Oslo and The Garage) have kept the old ‘autograph alley’ – the backstage corridor from the dressing room to the stage. The walls are covered floor-to-ceiling in signatures – admittedly a large percentage of the penwork also includes detailed dick drawings. While the Borderline’s focus has long been on guitar led music, the programming will be broader now. Afrobeat star Kojo Funds and folkie Jarrod Dickenson are playing the same week. When The Borderline opened in 1988, Soho overflowed with places where bands could rock out and fling plect
As in the Beyoncé banger?Nope. As well as being the name of Bey’s political stormer, Formation is also the moniker of one of south London’s most exciting bands. What have they done to earn that title?Ever since twins Will and Matt Ritson set foot in the musical world, they’ve been putting out consistently bold and uncompromising tracks that recall ESG and Liquid Liquid. Now a five-piece, they’ve built a reputation for being a fiercely fun live band as well as one that will make you think. In fact, that’s another thing they share with Mrs Carter-Knowles – a frustration with the establishment. So they’re angry about the state of the world?Well, yes, but who isn’t these days? Don’t worry – they’re not going to bum you out. Formation are all about positivity and harnessing your own power. Recent single ‘Powerful People’ sends that message loud and clear, as well as encouraging us to unite to create change. They’re not another worthy political band, are they?No. they’re not about battering you with their views. They’d much rather bombard you with more cowbell. Whether you share their political sentiments or not, debut album ‘Look at the Powerful People’ is brimming with the kind of effortlessly cool and danceable electro-rock grooves that make it impossible not to get behind. Sounds pretty cool. How do I get involved?Get yourself a bit of PMA (positive mental attitude), whack on the bass-y carnival that is ‘Pleasure’ or ‘A Friend’’s stuttering synth euphoria and feel yourself
There’s no secret to the success of Somerset House’s annual gig series. Londoners love the venue for offering all the open-air excitement of a festival stage right in the centre of the capital, whilst artists enjoy playing to a captivated audience in a grand eighteenth-century courtyard by the Thames. The Summer Series has become a fixture of the London music calendar because of its reputation for booking spectacular live acts and 2017 doesn't disappoint. Get your tickets here.
‘This feels like weird yoga,’ laughs Gary Barlow, as he lies on a photo studio floor, his legs crisscrossed in the air. ‘Or Take That Tetris!’ says bandmate Mark Owen, sprawled to the left in a tangle of skinny boho scarves. ‘I feel like a box is going to drop between my legs at any moment,’ adds final member, Howard Donald, who’s also flat on his back. The three fortysomethings, who are currently arranged like videogame blocks for our cameras, first met in 1990, brought together by a manager who wanted to create a Brit version of US pop group New Kids On The Block. Take That went on to become one of the most blockbusting boy bands ever: 56 Number One singles and 37 Number One albums worldwide and the quickest-selling tour in UK history. ‘No one was sure we were going to last two seconds,’ reflects Gary during our lunch break, as Howard distributes magma-hot chilli sauce across his plate (apparently he smothers it over ‘everything his lips touch except his wife’). ‘Acid house was huge and lads like us weren’t being signed because male vocal groups were seen as being from an earlier time,’ Barlow continues. ‘But with so many faceless dance acts, there was no one to go on the covers of magazines like Jackie and Smash Hits. The industry was crying out for some new blokes.’ Take That by Andy Parsons ‘We’re one of the few boybands who became more successful when we put our clothes on’ As a high-schooler, my bedroom walls were plastered with Take That posters, smeared with Ri
Metallica are undeniably one of the most successful rock bands ever, having sold a massive 110 million albums worldwide and inspired countless bands with their rapid-fire riffs, intense lyrics and leather-coated heavy bass. Given that the metal titans have just announced a series of UK live shows including two mammoth gigs at The O2 on Oct 17 and 22, we say: grow your hair, tighten those trousers and most importantly mosh furiously and with carefree abandon to Metallica’s most epic tracks.