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courtesy of Eventim Apollo

The Best Music in London this July

1 July 2017 Will Rathbone

Summer is here, and there’s nothing finer than soaking up that sun while listening to music. We’ve pulled together a comprehensive guide to soundtrack your July, full of the finest gigs and festivals this fair city has to offer. There’s something for everyone here, so have a browse and get your lugs ready for some sonic sensations.

What with it being July, festival season is well underway. The standout is Lovebox, in Victoria Park on July 14/15, whose line-up is a veritable who’s who of the hottest RnB and hip hop artists operating today. Solange (who is INCREDIBLE live, trust us), Frank Ocean, Jamie XX, Sampha and Kaytranada are among the highlights – it’s a seriously on-point line-up. The following day Victoria Park hosts Citadel 2017, which sees world music-influenced electronic maestro Bonobo perform a rare full band show – something not to be missed – before DJing at a Village Underground after-party.


Image courtesy of The Black Media
 
Elsewhere, London’s freshest club Printworks is hosting Afropunk 2017 over the weekend of July 22/23, with cosmic jazzer Thundercat and the ethereal Lianne La Havas both performing. Ealing Jazz Festival 2017 is a freebie, in Walpole Park on July 29/30, featuring Ghanaian afrobeat star Ebo Taylor and the beautiful sounds of British jazz trio Mammal Hands. Finally, Kew The Music 2017 is a week long series of concerts, from July 11-16, set in the beautiful surrounds of Kew Gardens. July 14 features Hacienda Classical, a 70-piece orchestra, perform acid house classics. There’s a strong likelihood Bez will appear.
 
If orchestral music with a twist piques your interest, there’s plenty more where that came from. The BBC Proms open on July 14, and Prom 15: The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) on July 25 sees an orchestra perform the music of the hugely influential songwriter with vocals from Jarvis Cocker and John Grant amongst others. On July 12 Camden’s Jazz Café hosts Notorious B.I.G. – An Orchestral Rendition of Ready to Die, which sees an orchestra perform the seminal 90s rap album live, whilst on July 21 the Barbican have paired the powerful, stirring vocals of Laura Mvula with the London Symphony Orchestra.
 

Image courtesy of The Barbican Centre

In an equally symphonic manner, Arcade Fire are bringing their unique brand of epic, sprawling indie/electronica to York Hall on July 4/5. If you just want to rock out to some classic British guitar music, then The Maccabees are one of the finest bands around for that. They’re splitting up, so head to Alexandra Palace on July 1 for a proper goodbye. Rock with a grittier, more American twist is Benjamin Booker’s game, and he brings his Virginian blues to Moth Club on July 4.
 
For dreamier, more leftfield guitar music try out Cosmo Sheldrake for size. The multi-instrumentalist is an infectious live performer and he’s at The Lexington on July 18. There’s nought dreamier than Feist, and the Canadian songstress plays a rare series of UK gigs at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire from July 27-29.
 
Another female artist performing a rare London date is American force-of-nature Erykah Badu, whose two dates at Eventim Apollo on July 6/7 will see her eclectic mix of funk, soul, jazz and RnB entertain large crowds. Chaka Khan makes the trip across the pond on July 6 and July 12 to play funk classics from her five-decade recording career at the smaller Indigo stage at the O2 Arena. The boys can do it too of course, as London-based neo-soul outfit KINDER perform at Archspace on July 13.


Image courtesy of Eventim Apollo
 
If the July sunshine makes you yearn for reggae, then Norman Jay OBE is the man to scratch that itch. He’s DJing at the Prince of Wales in Brixton on July 2. Reggae legends Toots and the Maytals are performing at the Barbican on July 28, whilst Trojan Sound System will spin discs in a rub-a-dub style on board the party boat The Dutch Master on July 22. On a dancehall tinge, Popcaan will be performing at the Eventim Apollo on July 1 with a supporting line-up of top MCs.
 
If top MCs are your bag, then KOKO have a good July for you, with 90s legends The Pharcyde delivering conscious hipvhop for the masses on July 27 and The Soul Rebels and Talib Kweli promising similarly smart lyrics with brass band accompaniment on July 7. For UK hip hop heads, Plan B performs in the unusual surrounds of Shakespeare’s Globe on July 24.


Image Credit: Plan B
 
DJ-wise, Afriquoi perform a set of rare African electronica and disco grooves at the Jazz Café on July 7, whilst Ghanaian electro pioneer and MC Ata Kak performs a very special set at The Yard in Hackney on July 8. One half of now-defunct modern jazz group Yusuf Kamal, Henry Wu DJs a set of electronic jazz and house at Oval Space on July 16. Equally prestigious on the desks, Daphni performs a set at fabric on July 21 that’ll be full of deep house with bursts of euphoria. Jacques Greene meanwhile brings his blend of pop-tinged house to Phonox on July 28.
 
Finally, blues legends Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ are performing at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on July 7, while fans of Paul Simon’s Graceland album will want to head to Cadogan Hall in Kensington, where Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the choir who feature heavily on the album, are performing two gigs on July 28/29.
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