This weekend the clocks move forward which means that we are edging towards the start of summer, and it can’t come soon enough. As we enter the season of sun (hopefully), fun, festivals and a plethora of rich cultural experiences, here’s a round up of some uber cool events taking place in and around the capital in the coming weeks.
Rockers, Soulheads and Lovers: Sound Systems Back In Da Day – showing until May 21st, Contemporary Arts and Learning Centre, Brixton
Curated by writer/artist/historian Michael McMillan, Rockers, Soulheads and Lovers is a dynamic exhibition which chronicles the sound system sub-culture created by African-Caribbeans dating from the ’50s to the ’80s. Told from the perspective of the local people who inhabit various parts of London, the exhibition takes the form of an audio-visual installation conjuring a Blues party environment to help audiences explore and understand the importance of these cultural markers in shaping identity, as well as going on to influence British music from reggae to funk, soul, R&B, garage and grime. Admission is free, visit here for further details.
URBAN – Southbank Centre, 25th March-10th April
If you are a parent no doubt you’ll be thinking up ideas to keep your children occupied during the Easter break. If you are London based help is at hand via The Southbank Centre who are hosting URBAN, a two-week long celebration of youth culture expressed through music, dance, theatre, sports and gaming. You’ll find an array of activities to keep your offspring occupied from breakdance battles, hip-hop karaoke, skateboarding workshops and music video editing. Some of the events are free of charge and some are priced so visit the website here and book early.
Bryson Tiller – KOKO, 28th, 29th and 30th March
You may not have heard of him but chances are our pre-teen/teen offspring has. Bryson Tiller is a new singing/rapping sensation who is attributed with creating the genre known as trap soul which merges hip-hop, trap and R&B (kinda like a younger/cooler Drake). His debut album TRAPSOUL was released last October, and when news of his upcoming shows in London was announced they were sold out in no time at all, quite a huge feat for a new artist. If you were lucky enough to obtain tickets, hold on to them tightly. If you were one of many who missed out then keep an eye on the KoKo website and hope for a miracle.
KING – UK Tour from March 29th
They are the LA based R&B trio being lauded for bringing a ’80s/early 90s sensibility to the music scene via their tight harmonies, lush dreamy melodies and synthesized sounds. Commonly known as KING, the group consists of twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother and Anita Bias. Scheduled to play three dates in the UK to coincide with their recently released album We Are King, anticipation is high among supporters who are keen to hear those stellar vocals in a live setting. Catch them at Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush on 29th March, The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 31st March and The Sugar Club, Dublin, 1st April. Tickets are priced at an extremely purse-friendly £15, check out their website here for further info.
Corinne Bailey Rae – UK dates from 7th April
While fans eagerly await her new album The Heart Speaks In Whispers, scheduled for release in May, Corinne Bailey Rae whets our appetite by announcing a few UK dates prior to the launch. The Leeds born and bred singer will play at The Tabernacle, London on 7th April, Live at Leeds, 30th April and The Cheltenham Festival on 1st May. Check out her website here for further details.
Leon Bridges – Brixton Academy, 8th April
He’s the 26 year old whose voice and sartorial flare conjures the spirit of soul crooners of yesteryear such as Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. Texas born Leon Bridges’ retro-fused musical repertoire will undoubtedly make the Brixton Academy seem like an old-school style concert hall as he performs tracks from his hugely successful debut album Coming Home on April 8th. For further information click here.
A Night With Boy Blue – 8th, 9th April, Barbican
To celebrate 10 years since hip-hop dance company Boy Blue made their theatre debut via their acclaimed version of Pied Piper, the troupe will commemorate a memorable and successful decade by performing set pieces at The Barbican, ranging from crowd favourites to a succession of slick new sequences as part of their exuberant show. For tickets click here.
Betty Wright – 10th April, IndigO2
Betty Wright was one of the defining female voices of ’70s soul who gained worldwide success with her personal ditties which often dealt with the nitty gritty of love affairs, think: Clean Up Woman, Tonight Is The Night and Pain. The singer has gone on to influence a whole generation of female artists and has been sampled by Mary J Blige, Beyonce and Snoop to name a few. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to hear her perform live at London’s IndigO2, visit here for details.
Children of The Gap – Screening of Pressure, 17th April
Children of the Gap is a month long celebration exploring cultural duality and what it means to occupy two cultural spaces – being born and raised in Europe but also belonging to a more distant, but just as important, cultural heritage. The event will host a series of talks, exhibitions, online discussions as well as film screenings including British Ghanaians: Lost in Translation, and the seminal coming of age classic Pressure (1976), which is regarded as one of the first Black British films. For further details visit here.
Redman and Method Man – April, Nationwide
Although successful artists in their own right, Method Man and Redman have always worked best as a duo, and will no doubt electrify once again when they embark on a series of dates across the UK. From Wu Tung classics, to solo hits and those collaborative numbers that kept our heads nodding back in the day such as How High and Da Rockwilder, relive the golden era of hip-hop by seeing this dynamic duo up close and personal. Tickets are priced from £29.50, visit here for further details.