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Crowded night club floor
Jake Davis

London’s best nightlife to book this week

Need an excuse to dance? We’ve got you covered

Written by
Chiara Wilkinson

What does it mean to go ‘out out’? One Saturday it might mean stroking your chin at that exquisite live jazz cocktail event, another weekend it could involve pitching up in Tottenham for an equally exquisite footwork rave. Whatever your tastes, going out out can be difficult to define – but it’s always expected that it will be a little more exciting than your regular sweaty pints down the local.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of new nights out that have arrived with Freedom Day (or simply can’t be arsed scrolling through event listings for hours on end), here’s our round-up of London’s best nightlife this week. 

Max Cooper’s Friday Phonox residency 

Electronica music producer Max Cooper holds a PhD in computational biology – and applies the same sort of scientific sharpness to his DJ sets. For four Fridays in August, you can catch his mesmerisingly subtle mixes of ambient and experimental techno at his takeover of 550-person capacity club in Brixton, Phonox. He’s kicking things off this Friday with DJ Debonair, and you can grab a ticket from the mere price of a fiver (almost the same cost as a Pret baguette). It’s one of those clubs where taking photos on the dance floor is strictly frowned upon, so best to grab your Instas before you’ve melted into the smoke and the lights. 

Max Cooper and Debonair. Phonox, SW9 7AY. Fri Aug 6. 9.30pm-4am. Tickets start from £5. 

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51st State Festival at Trent Park 

Returning to north London’s Trent Country Park this Saturday, 51st State Festival promises a proper mixed bag line-up spanning live performances, DJ sets, and diverse dance-oriented genres. Expect to be swallowed whole by soaring vocals from the House Gospel Choir and indulge in grooves that will tickle the bottom of your belly from celebrated R&B singer Jocelyn Brown. On top of that, there will be DJ sets from Hannah Wants (who pretty much has superstar DJ status at this point) and old-school house enthusiast Todd Terry. What we’re saying is: if you’ve got a varied music taste, you’re going to find it very difficult to decide between stage clashes here. Plan wisely.

51st State Festival. Trent Park, EN4 0PS. Sat Aug 7. 11am-10pm.  Final tickets at £55 

Zed Bias at the Jazz Cafe

For newcomers to the capital, the Jazz Cafe is a bit confusing: it doesn’t exclusively put on jazz. It hosts all sorts of music, even garage – and garage’s finest, at that. Zed Bias has been around since the mid-90s, trailblazing the UK garage scene with his broken-beat plays on funky rhythms and 2-step genres. He’ll be joined this Friday by equally exciting selectors Tañ and Dom Servini for his shot at the Jazz Cafe’s reopening series. 

Zed Bias, Tañ, and Dom Servini. Jazz Cafe, NW1 7PG. Fri Aug 6. 10.30pm-3am. Tickets from £10.

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Giant Steps live at Hackney Bridge

Did you ever make it down to Giant Steps at Swan Wharf when it was a thing? Basically, it was a travelling sound system and events series imagined by Dalston’s audiophile restaurant-bar, Brilliant Corners, which gained a reputation for throwing some pretty good parties. If you missed out on all of that fun, it’s back for eight weeks this summer with a programme of live music performances at a new canalside amphitheatre in Hackney Wick. On Saturday, you can catch four-part instrumental group Unknown to Known for some foot-tap-inducing improv of woodwinds, percussion, sitar and bass. 

Giant Steps Live. The Amphitheatre, Hackney Bridge, E15 2SJ. Sat Aug 7. 1-9pm. Tickets from £5.

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Ben UFO at The Cause

Ben UFO is one of the co-founders of Hessle Audio, an innovative, alien-sounding dance music record label that tends to dip in and out of dubstep, techno, grime and house. His stuff is usually very wibbly-wobbly and really fun to bop to – and he’s taking over The Cause this weekend to play a very exciting extended set. Sure, he might be playing there on Saturday too, but there’s just something about a Sunday sesh that makes it all that more fun. Maybe it’s the impending doom of Monday morning, or the naughtiness of being out on a school night. Anyway, you can count on it finishing at 10pm: what better way to finish the week? 

Ben UFO at The Cause. The Cause, N17 9LZ. Sun Aug 8 Aug. 1-10pm. Tickets from £10.

Good news for commuters. The four-day tube strike has been called off.

A new exhibition exploring Black live music has opened at the Horniman.

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