Grooves: Penny Penny; Bananarama; Courteeners; Rock ‘n Roll Book Club

Thursday, 28th July — By Róisín Gadelrab

Penny Penny 3

Penny Penny is at Jazz Café

SOUTH African disco king Penny Penny has a remarkable story. The youngest of 68 children, he was working in a gold mine aged 19, during which, he won several breakdancing trophies, and was an almost homeless janitor before becoming a multi-platinum selling popstar, playing stadiums across Africa. But that wasn’t enough. He went on to become a council member for the African National Congress and is the star of his own reality TV show. See what he’s all about at Jazz Café on Aug 6. As ever, Jazz Café’s upcoming programming is thrilling: Colombia reggaeton queen Rosa Pistola, dubbed the Madonna of Mexico City brings the sounds of the Latin underground to JC’s decks on July 29 with support from Fiyahdred + Felix Hall; Bermudian reggae fave Collie Budz plays two nights (Aug 2-3) + Solo Banton; Afro-Brazilian singer-songwriter Luedji Luna’s songs touch on the migrant perspective, structural racism and the empowerment of black women (Aug 5); and Reggae pioneers Black Uhuru on their 50th Anniversary tour (Aug 8-10). PS: Hands up who spotted Jazz Café friend and regular Omar in his – literally – short-lived EastEnders stint recently?

Eighties revivalists may be interested to know that Bananarama play two nights at Lafayette next week (Aug 3-4).

• The Dublin Castle’s Rock ‘n Roll Book Club rolls round again on Aug 4 with two Manchester / Salford luminaries full of anecdotes from the Madchester music scene of the past – The Hacienda, Factory Records, Tony Wilson – you get the gist. Ged Duffy of band Stockholm Monsters talks to Alison Beale about his book Factory Fairytales, his account of those crazy years, and why he may be considered to the unluckiest man in Manchester music – he could have managed New Order, could have been the bass player in The Cult and much more. Drummer Simon Wolstencroft (The Fall’s drummer for 11 years), talks to Tony Gleed about his book You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide, an account of his life and times – no doubt touching on when he turned down both The Smiths and The Stone Roses. As ever, the RNR Book Club DJs will be playing tunes associated with both books – sounds mint!

Courteeners play Electric Ballroom on July 29 and then Bingo Loco descends with its first confetti-filled show at the venue on August 13. Expect rave rounds, conga lines, dance-offs, lip sync battles, 90s/00s tunes, DJ and MC sets.

• Head to Seven Dials on July 30 for a free one-day festival with live music from US Tik Tok star Victor Ray, neo soul from Zebede, singer-songwriter and BGT contestant Josh Barry, Irish folk from harp and banjo champion Lisa Canny, and African fusion from Ganda Boys, as well as flower crown making, a skate ramp, al fresco dining and more as the area is pedestrianised for the day with the dial covered in AstroTurf so visitors can sit outside in the heart of the West End. Look out for the silent disco in Neal’s Yard, wellness stage, charity tombola and ice cream tricycle, while there will be fundraising for the Young Camden Foundation.

Koko embraces art’s digital side with the launch of a series of exhibitions showcasing established and emerging artists whose work links visual art music, performance, digital and new media. First in the series, is artist musician Orfeo Tagiuri, who this week debuted five new works at Café Koko. The exhibition, Fished from the river of passing little thoughts, is a collection of hand-drawn musings on everyday joy and life’s lighter moments. It marks the start of Koko’s new digital art and music collab with digital art incubator Daata, where digital art, videos, NFTs and more will be displayed on screens in new space The Luno. The venue is also throwing a free summer party playing house and disco all night to mark six months since it reopened (July 30). Register for tickets asap.

• Aussie folk trio Bush Gothic play The Slaughtered Lamb on July 30.

More upcoming gigs: Screamin’ Irene + Spirit of the Age + Estranger + Imaginary Deamers, The Dublin Castle (July 31); Liz Stringer, Green Note (Aug 1); DIIV, Koko; Spear of Destiny, 100 Club (Aug 3); Koko Electronic: Deviation ft Pa Salieu (Aug 5); Dan Reed Network + Reckless Love, Electric Ballroom (Aug 6); Orchestra Baobab, Union Chapel (Aug 8-9); Sanctified with London Community Gospel Choir, Jazz Café; The Dirty Strangers + The Juvenile Wrecks + The Electrics, The Dublin Castle; Noah Cyrus, The Forum (Aug 11); Koko Electronic: JME presents Grime MC FM (Aug 12).

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