From Christmas concerts to end-of-the-year pop spectaculars, London has plenty of great live music to offer even in midwinter. Here’s our gig guide for December; check out our list of Christmas gigs for shows with some extra festive sparkle.
Dick Valentine and his gang of entertaining Detroit disco-rockers return, no doubt blasting out plenty of tracks from their 2003 debut 'Fire' ('High Voltage' and 'Gay Bar', for sure), but also selections from their surprisingly extensive back catalogue. They're still the closest thing to a modern Roxy Music we have (the fun Roxy, before they got all 'Avalon'), so embrace oddity where you can get it.
Beat-loving brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll are still experts at channeling the rave after all these years. They’ve got a hefty back catalogue, featuring plenty of euphoric bangers and subtler electronic compositions – and they can still command a dancefloor with their expertly curated bleeps and beats.
A show from the Mercury Prize-winning, charismatic singing poet Benjamin Clementine. He hails from Edmonton Green but was discovered while singing on the Paris Metro, giving him a chance to spread his heartfelt blues and deep soul vocals further afield. Witness his raw talent at this big Brixton show.
Do you believe in a thing called love? Justin Hawkins still does, even though it’s over a decade now since his glam-rock troupe struck big with their mega-selling debut album. Always thoroughly entertaining live, The Darkness are still reassuringly theatrical – and, crucially, this is a December gig, which means that Hawkins and co. are fully justified in breaking out their Xmas rawk anthem, ‘Christmas Time’. Give in and sing along, you know you want to.
The troubled, tattooed, chain-smoking and once drug-ravaged wildman of alt rock makes a welcome return to the capital. Known for his work with Screaming Trees, Queens Of The Stone Age and The Gutter Twins, Lanegan has a vast back catalogue to dip into, from the cheerily titled and critically acclaimed ‘Blues Funeral’, to covers record ‘Imitations’ to latest album ‘Gargoyle’, released earlier this year.
Glasgow’s post-rock outfit have been going for over two decades now, but they sure still know how to wring-out their huge, distortion-drenched tunes in epic style. Latest album ‘Every Country’s Sun’ finds the lads taking a bit of a poppier direction than usual, so you might even get the chance to do a bit of bopping alongside all the shoegazing.
Pete Tong is much more than a piece of latter-day cockney rhyming slang; he’s also a scene-shaping DJ. This winter, he’s teaming up with the 60-piece Heritage Orchestra to raise the O2’s roof with some big-room anthems, for all you ravers who only want to grow up a little bit. And even though there’s an orchestra, you can still expect to see a few hands in the air.
The Scarborough-born singer and fiddler performs traditional English folk, backed by an all-star ensemble which includes members of Bellowhead, Mawkin, Blowzabella, Edward II and more. A bill bursting with folk royalty, not least of which is the magnificent Ms Carthy herself.
Soundtrack your Xmas party
As Noddy Holder once screeched: it’s Christmas! You might have heard some Christmas songs enough times to make you want to perforate your eardrums with a candy cane, but many festive pop songs are great works of art. Here’s our countdown of the Top 50 Christmas songs, from ancient carols to the best Christmas Number Ones.
The Garage in Islington has been a mainstay of London’s music scene since 1993, hosting bands such as Oasis, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Radiohead and more. Following a recent change of ownership to the DHP Family (the guys behind Oslo in Hackney), the whole venue has been revamped with a view to maintaining its title as one of the city’s landmark music venues. The Garage itself has a capacity of 600 and has been restored to its former glory with a state-of-the-art soundsystem and a fully refurbished bar area. There’s some decent food offerings on site as well with the newly kitted out General Store and even a cheeky night club tucked upstairs, renamed Thousand Island, decked out with mirrorballs galore.
Venue says: “Check out our live listings for more information about all our gigs and events!”