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(c) Jenny McCambridge

The Best Music in London this September

31 August 2017 Will Rathbone

There’s a lot of variety to September’s sonic selections, with enough time to squeeze in one last festival before the weather truly turns, celebrated record labels and producers programming at venues as diverse as the Royal Festival Hall and PizzaExpress Jazz Club, and one-off gigs from bands and artists starting their autumn touring schedules. Plenty to be getting on with as the leaves begin to turn.

While there’s still a warm tinge in the air and the evenings are light, there’s room for one final festival fling. OnBlackheath returns to Blackheath Common on 9/10 September with a line-up including indie royalty The Libertines, phenomenal spoken word/rapper Kate Tempest and electro-pop four-piece Metronomy. Over at the Royal Festival Hall there’s a weekend of music celebrating the fact that Erased Tapes is ten. The contemporary classical/ambient music label is home to some of the finest modern composers of today, with Kiasmos, Penguin Café and Rival Consoles all performing over 8/9 September; there’s a launch party over at Village Underground on 6 September.


Kate Tempest © Jenny McCambridge
 
Meanwhile, over in Soho, Sounds of Denmark 2017 involves a series of gigs at PizzaExpress Jazz Club from 13-17 September. Eight top Danish jazz groups are performing, with the Søren Bebe Trio returning after last year’s triumphant gig, and the afro-tinged KutiMangoes causing a riot. James Lavelle, founder of iconic record label Mo’Wax, is taking over the Jazz Café in Camden from 15-20 September – highlights include a live string ensemble performing works by influential 20th century songwriter David Axelrod. Continuing the jazz, YolanDa Brown – one of Britain’s foremost saxophonists – is performing at Nell’s Jazz and Blues Club on 30 September.
 
If you’re seeking more saxophone then ALASKALASKA are the band for you. The five-piece season their catchy melodies with jazz, and play Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club on 28 September. Melodies galore, with more of a psychedelic crooner tint, can be found at the Sebright Arms on 7 September as Club Kuru perform tracks from their upcoming release. Rough Trade East host a series of live performances and record signings with singer/songwriter Nick Mulvey (12 September), art-rock outfit The Horrors (22 September) and alternative rockers Grizzly Bear (30 September) all featuring.


Nick Mulvey © Drew de F Fawkes
 
Legendary guitarist Wilko Johnson performs a very special gig at the Royal Albert Hall on 26 September, and the London Palladium hosts a one-off performance by The Zombies on 29 September to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their seminal Odessey and Oracle album. Worth attending just to hear Time of the Season performed live, we’re sure you’ll agree. A comeback tour of a different kind travels to the O2 Academy Brixton on 28 September, as French rock/electronic duo Justice play London for the first time since 2012. If that whets your appetite for dance music, then check out Sudanese-American musician Sinkane. His blend of rock, jazz and electronica comes to Heaven on 6 September. Phonox are hosting a series of Sunday sessions to ease you out of the weekend, and on 17 September Gilles Peterson takes part. His superlative music taste encompasses jazz, hiphop, electronica and world music, and he’s the perfect match for the series.


Wilko Johnson © Phil King
 
Speaking of world music, Senagalese kora maestro Kadialy Kouyate has two gigs this month. On 5 September he performs an 11am slot at Paper Dress Vintage (free tea if you arrive at 10:30am!) before 15 September sees him headline Camden’s Green Note. Reggae music comes to Borderline in Soho as singer Hollie Cook pays a visit, while The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain – always worth a listen, believe us – are performing at the Jazz Café on 15 September.
 
Finally, two legends of hip hop come to London for some very special dates. Wu-Tang founding member Ghostface Killah brings fast-flowing verses to the Clapham Grand on 24 September, while just up the road at Electric Brixton, jazzy hip hop pioneer Pete Rock performs at a special 1st anniversary Southbound clash on 8 September, ably supported by three members of the superb UK hip hop outfit Four Owls. Another UK hip hop star makes a welcome return to the scene is Lowkey, who performs at the Coronet in Elephant and Castle on 28 September. His conscious, political lyricism has been sorely missed.


Pete Rock © Steven Pisano
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