Grooves: Koko; Rock ‘n Roll book club; Ed Sheeran; Bloom Twins

Thursday, 10th March — By Róisín Gadelrab


Koko reopens soon after £70m investment. Image: AVR London

NOT long now until the new improved Koko opens to the public. And it looks like the owners – with its £70m of investment – have gone out of their way to make use of every inch of the venue’s spaces. They have even uncovered an old Fly Tower, previously used to house machinery to operate the theatre stage, and turned it into a second 200-seater venue. There is so much to discover including the new broadcasting and recording facilities, merch shop / DJ space and late-night pizzeria and tap bar. So time to book in for some gigs and explore asap! Names announced so far include Lianne La Havas (May 9-11), Portico Quartet (May 8), Peter Doherty (May 13), Gilles Peterson Presents: Worldwide Awards (May 14) and Kim Gordon (May 23).

PowerHaus concludes its International Women’s Week shows with Hattie Whitehead (March 11) and Ellie Bleach (March 13). Then mark St Patrick’s Day at the venue with a special performance by formidable Irish singer Mary Coughlan (March 17).

• Ukrainian musicians Bloom Twins curated and performed at a special Night For Ukraine at Roundhouse on Wednesday. The night, which featured live music from international artists, spoken word, poetry, film and DJ sets, was to raise funds for DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee). Other gigs coming up at the Roundhouse include: The Cribs (March 11); Palaye Royale + Carl Barat + Charming Liars (March 12); Tangerine Dream (March 18) and Fred Again + dexter (March 24).

Find good music, dancing and great vibes at Hope & Anchor on March 11 where the varied line-up includes Red Town + Hard To Please + Little Lore + Francis Gahan.

• The Dublin Castle’s Rock ‘n Roll book club continues on March 23 with Bafta-winning film music composer / arranger / saxophonist John Altman discussing his new memoir Hidden Man (title provided by Terry Gilliam, whose film Life of Brian included Altman’s arrangements). He has also played sax with Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Nick Drake and many more and composed scores for James Bond and Titanic. And before this, the club has a special Rock ‘n Roll Art Club when graphic designer Malcolm Garrett MBE, whose imagery adorns record covers for Buzzcocks, Simple Minds and Duran Duran, will be in conversation with Allison Beale about how he’s still working to create fresh, relevant and purposeful design for today’s musicians and organisations, and questions if record sleeves can be classified as Art.

Celebrated Egyptian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hamza Namira presents material from his latest album Mawlood Sanat 80 at Barbican on March 12.

• Expect excitable queues on Camden High Street as Ed Sheeran plays 3 warm-up shows at Electric Ballroom (March 21-23). He warns: “these are very low-key shows where I get to try out all the new tunes before taking them into the stadiums. Some nights there will be mistakes. But that is where the fun starts…”

More upcoming gigs: rising star Lola Young, Islington Assembly Hall (March 11); Beans on Toast, Lafayette; YolanDa Brown, Jazz Café; The Undertones + Hugh Cornwell Electric, Electric Ballroom (March 12); US rapper Bishop Nehru, Lafayette (March 13); Mereba, Lafayette (March 15); Dat Brass, Scala (March 16); Angels & Airwaves, The Forum (March 17); Habibi Funk + Waaberi Phone + Disco Arabesque, Jazz Café; Altered Images, 229; Miss Baby Sol, Live at The Amadeus; Rhoda Dakar, 100 Club (March 18); Punks Against Sweatshops live ft Petrol Girls + Oi Polloi + Steve Ignorant’s Slice of Life + In Evil Hour + Paul Case + Mark Thomas (comedian), 100 Club; The Twang + Good Health, Good Wealth, The Clause, Islington Academy; Jade Bird, The Forum (March 19); Enigmatic singer, songwriter, guitarist, recording artist, poet and actor Pokey LaFarge, Islington Assembly Hall; Supersuckers + The Hip Priests, 100 Club (March 20); Matthew E White, Islington Assembly Hall; Nick Mulvey, Lafayette; Amalaha, Camden Assembly (March 22); G4 Boyz, Islington Academy; The Weather Station, Scala (March 23); Canadian Trio Elliott Brood, Islington Academy; Fuel Fandango, 229; Cloud Nothings, Scala (March 24).

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