As the city heats up, the gig calendar stays very cool indeed. Thanks to a whole range of music festivals in London and world-class acts stopping over between sets at different UK music festivals, Londoners can catch plenty of brilliant live music right on their doorsteps. Here are the best gigs in London this July.
Four decades on, Chicago soul crew EWF are still touring their hugely successful style of horn-heavy, Afrocentric, space-age funk. Maurice White, the band's founder, sadly passed away this year having retired in the ’90s. But his brother Verdine White, along with Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson, still lead a riotous show full of pyramids, space-ships, levitation, and of course monster hits like 'Shining Star', 'September' and 'Boogie Wonderland'.
A troupe of contemporary jazz and world music heavyweights re-imagine Trane's transcendental masterpiece, having originally come together in 2014 to commemorate 50 years to the day since the sax saint's original was recorded. The Englightenment Ensemble includes top musicians such as Steve Williamson, Shabaka Hutchings and Cleveland Watkiss, and features everything from saxophone to kora to xylosynth.
The one and only Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter – quite possibly the most famous pop star on the planet – is coming back to town. By the time she hits the stage at Wembley this summer, it will have been two-and-a-half years since she last released an album. Let’s hope there are some newies (including her latest banger ‘Formation’) on the setlist alongside Bey’s gamut of world-beating pop and R&B hits. Whatever she has planned, this mega-gig should be another hurricane of full-throttle tuneage and stuff-strutting moves to leave the audience breathless.
The mighty Florence + The Machine headline the BST gig series in Hyde Park, promising a blinder of a show under the London summer sky. Big-league support acts include Jamie XX, Blood Orange and – we’re stupidly excited for this one – Kendrick Lamar, playing his first London date since 2015’s incredible ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ album. Indie maverick Cat Power, LA jazz giant Kamasi Washington and Norse disco king Todd Terje have also just been added to the bill. Huge, basically.
Forty years on from its first release on Motown Records, soul king Stevie Wonder drops in to perform his immortal album ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ at the British Summer Time festival. With support from Pharrell, Corinne Bailey Rae and King, it’s an incredible way to round off the summer series in Hyde Park.
It’s been seven long years since Alex Turner and Miles Kane last toured with their string-dripping retro rock side-project, but now they’re back with a new album. Don’t be surprised to hear their Bowie cover when they play first a theatre show in Hackney, then a massive Ally Pally date.
Headlining singer-songwriter Sixto Diaz Rodriguez – to whom the overused word ‘legendary’ truly applies – makes a rare visit to London. A Detroit native who dropped out of the music industry in the ’70s after releasing two albums (now considered lost classics), Rodriguez is back in the public eye thanks to an Oscar-winning film about his disappearance, ‘Searching for Sugar Man’. He’s returned to touring and is preparing songs for a belated third album.
Music festivals in July
Find a summer festival in the UK or London in July 2016 with our handy music festivals calendar. This is prime time for summer parties, with plenty of choice whether you like your festival action in the city or the countryside. Hit London heavyweights Lovebox and British Summer Time or go for rural bliss at Secret Garden Party or Womad.
In case you didn’t know, Scandinavia is cool right now. The food, the fashion, the facial hair – plus the Vikings have invaded the British Museum. All we need next is a healthy economy, a reliable public transport system and a sense of social justice, and London will be indistinguishable from Oslo. Meanwhile in Hackney, there’s yet another Northern European-inspired incursion. Or apparently so: the website claims this bar-restaurant-club draws on ‘a Nordic aesthetic’, although it’s not immediately obvious within. Oslo occupies the previously deserted old Hackney rail station and takes on a bit of a railway theme with its luggage-rack lighting, plus there are industrial stylings that give the whole place a Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’ video feel. The restaurant part is rather fancy, its food incorporating a few of the forages, pickles, jellies and marinations of New Nordic cooking. The kitchen is regularly given over to guest chefs, and you have to book – it’s always heaving. Eat in the bar and the food is more straightforward. Where once the standard snack in pubs was a toastie, sausage roll or pork pie, now it’s the slider or fried chicken. These are served alongside frankly obscene portions of chips, slathered with the likes of cured bacon fat and bacon salt, or braised oxtail, gravy and cheese. There’s a commendable range of craft beers from the vicinity, including a couple from Five Points Brewing just five minutes up the road at the Downs.Head upstairs and you’ll find a
Venue says: “Join us every Thursday night until late for Soul Soul Soul – a night of vinyl appreciation with DJs playing soul, funk, disco and more.”