Grooves: Koko; Sleeper; Incineration Festival; Aaron Jonah Lewis

Thursday, 5th May — By Róisín Gadelrab


Sleeper play the Roundhouse

MORNINGTON Crescent is moving up in the world. Koko’s transformation is complete and it sprung back to life on Friday, bringing with it the familiar view of music lovers queuing to experience one of their favourite bands – a welcome sight after the past couple of years. Not only has the music venue revamped its main theatre space – and poshed-up the toilets as gig-goers will much appreciate – but it has created four floors of additional spaces, members-only areas, a tap bar and pizzeria and managed to turn the famed dome into a yurt-chic secluded bar. There are recording spaces, a jazz bar, streaming facilities (Arcade Fire’s concert was streamed on Twitch afterwards) and, possibly one of the coolest touches – a Goons whisky bar, named after the famous comedy outfit, who recorded from the venue way back when.

The idea is that incumbent Koko members nominate their favourite vinyl, which is left at the bar, to be enjoyed in one of the series of the listening booths made up in the style of a classic railway carriage – near perfection! The gig listings are more than promising and their much-hyped Arcade Fire opening night was described by our reporter Harry Taylor as one of the greatest nights of his life. After a £70million refurbishment, will the members’ club set deign to visit the less talked-about end of Camden High Street? Expect to be pleasantly surprised…

Brit Pop faves Sleeper bring the 90s nostalgia to the Roundhouse on May 6 as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of platinum-selling 1996 album The It Girl.

• Anyone who has been to an Ocean Colour Scene gig will be familiar with the tendency of fans to embark on a hearty singalong to the band’s anthemic back-catalogue. So, prepare to see the Union Chapel’s roof floating over Upper Street when Simon and Oscar perform as acoustic set there on May 17.

Prizes for the black parade of deathly apocalyptic names due to descend on Camden for Incineration Festival – dubbed London’s Biggest Extreme Metal Event – at the Roundhouse, Electric Ballroom, Underworld and Black Heart on May 7. Led by the positively harmless sounding Norwegian black metal band Emperor, the line-up features delights such as Bloodbath, Hellripper, Skeletal Remains, Lucifer’s Child, Damnation’s Hammer, Burial Beheaded and… Unfathomable Ruination.

• Two releases coming from Kentish Town outfits this week. Pop / trip-hop band Oslo Twins release their EP featuring remixes of their single The Edge on May 6. And This Is The Story have just released new single The Devil Came to Camden – about London’s endless battle with developers, accompanied by a video at Pentameters Theatre involving residents from the Lissenden Gardens Estate.

Virtuoso banjo player Aaron Jonah Lewis plays a special unplugged acoustic set at Highgate’s Red Hedgehog on May 12 promising a journey through the back roads of American old time and folk music, with detours through ragtime and early jazz.

• Take refuge from the chaos in the surrounds of Covent Garden hotel Middle Eight’s classic speakeasy at QT Presents The Green Room with saxophonist Leo Green’s jazz-infused residency. Green, who has played with the likes of Paul McCartney and Jerry Lee Lewis, and an array of super-talented musicians including Van Morrison trumpeter Matt Holland will put their own jazzy, bluesy, soulful twist to well loved songs of the past 30 years.

Melbourne sister Duo Charm of Finches launch new album Wonderful Oblivion at Green Note on May 6.

• More upcoming gigs: Jaz Delorean – live at The Amadeus; Parra For Cuva / 2manydjs, Koko (May 6); Flamin’ Groovies, 100 Club; Metronomy + Hak Baker + Goat Girl, Alexandra Palace (May 7); Twin Atlantic, Roundhouse; Portico Quartet, Koko; Angel Bat Sawid + Muva of Earth, Jazz Café (May 8); Brothers Osborne, Roundhouse (May 9); Lianne La Havas, Koko (May 9-11);Spiritualized + Evan Parker, Roundhouse; Charlie Simpson, Lafayette; Budjerah, Jazz Café; John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest, Islington Assembly Hall (May 10); Planet, The Garage; Lostboy, The Grace; Pillow Queens + Merpire, Scala; Projector, Camden Assembly (May 11); When Rivers Meet, The Garage; Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, The Forum; Amber Run Unplugged + Eliza Shaddad + Memorial, Union Chapel; Flook, Kings Place; Amaro Freitas, Jazz Café; Rebecca Loebe, The Green Note; Charlie Parr, The Lexington (May 12); Massaoke Time Machine, Electric Ballroom; Adam Ant + Laurie Black, Roundhouse; Peter Doherty, Koko; Oysterband, Union Chapel; Hacienda Classical, Royal Albert Hall (May 13); Pinegrove, Roundhouse; Islandman, Jazz Cafe (May 14); Robert Jon & The Wreck, The Garage; Fletcher + UPSAHL + Gracey, The Forum; Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, London Palladium; Softcult + Spyres, Camden Assembly (May 15); Wallice, The Lexington; Joe Satriani, London Palladium (May 17); Warpaint, Roundhouse (May 18);
Honey Dijon, Koko; C Duncan + Before Breakfast, Powerhaus; Peach Pit, The Forum; Charlie XCX, Alexandra Palace (May 19).

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