Breton play Scala London

Scala has been in Kings Cross for a long time before the zone became a hub of international traffic, but it still wears its badge of honour from the area’s less than salubrious past. Despite all the so-called regeneration it hasn’t become the hipster hive that Shoreditch is, which is somehow reassuring, and seems about as likely to happen as Streatham is of becoming as trendy as neighbouring Balham. With that in mind, it is almost reassuring to go to a gig in the area where there is still a remnant of danger.

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Yes Sir Boss Album Launch

While the Jazz Cafe in Camden might not have the same kudos as some of Soho’s more illustrious venues, such as Ronnie Scott’s or Pizza Express, it has certainly built itself a solid reputation over the years and has been host to some of the more fringe elements of the jazz world, such as rap and hip-hop. This makes it an ideal venue for Bristol-based six-piece Yes Sir Boss to hold the launch gig for their long awaited album Desperation State on Joss Stone’s Stone-d label.

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Neurotic Mass Movement Single Launch

Neurotic Mass Movement, who played at our Free Pussy Riot Benefit in September, launched their new single Tragic Machine to a packed room at The Old Blue Last last night. While hundreds of Shoreditch hipsters were queuing in the cold autumn air to get into the latest fashionable (and overpriced) clubs, we were treated to four fantastic bands with no cover charge whatsoever. This was a gig patronised by discerning fans of quality, original independent music, and not people simply looking for a freebie on a Friday night.

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Cold Specks @ Union Chapel

After a long time on the film festival circuit I have recently returned to the world of music gigs for the first time since my twenties. I’ve seen a good variety of venues, from dingy pubs to more iconic ones that all seem to have O2 appended to them. My first visit to the Union Chapel in London was something of a surprise, principally because it is still a functioning church, so it was a totally seated event, in the church pews, which are not built for comfort. To add to the civilised nature of the event, there was even ushers selling ice-cream from trays, like you used to see in all cinemas.

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Beware of Mr Baker

Although The Beatles and the Stones dominated sixties’ music in Britain (and the rest of the world), their drummers were very much in the background. When it came to world of rock percussion there were three names at the forefront; Keith Moon, John Bonham and Ginger Baker. Ensconced behind their double bass drums and a sea of cymbals and toms they were the real wild men of rock, given to all manner of excesses. In Moon’s case, his infamy far exceeded his skills on the skins. Bonham was undoubtedly a master of rock drumming, but it was Ginger Baker, with his origins in jazz and a fascination with African rhythms, who was the greatest innovator of the era. Beware of Mr Baker, showing in the Documentary Competition at London Film Festival, follows the life of the rock legend (and the only survivor of the three) from his childhood in South London up to the present day.

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Maverick Sabre @ Brixton Academy

As if writing about music wasn’t hard enough, we feel the need to somehow label and classify it. like biologists do the flora and fauna. In less complicated days there was classical (orchestral), jazz, rock, pop and folk/country, but as music grew into an industry (as in business) those genres developed their own sub-genres and sub-sub-genres, then fusions and hybrids of those genres. With that in mind, trying to come up with a generic label for last night’s gig at the (O2) Brixton Academy was a bit tricky. Urban (whatever that means in musical terms) or MOBO would probably cover it in broad terms, but whatever it was, it was some of the best of what London and Britain has to offer, and Brixton, the home of Soul II Soul, was a fitting venue for it, even if most of the acts were from North London.

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