As it stands, all limits on social contact are set to be lifted on July 19. It’s all still subject to change (and as we all know, this last year and a bit has been nothing if not unpredictable) but it could mean that after what seems like a lifetime, the capital’s music venues will be able to reopen in all their glory once again.
Until then, things will continue with the usual drill: reduced capacities, social distancing and mask wearing. But regardless of what happens on the 19th, there looks set to be an incredible array of gigs in July. Here’s our pick of the bunch.
Hackney Colliery Band, Ronnie Scott’s
July 1, ronniescotts.co.uk
Celeste, Union Chapel
This one is going to be special. Celeste finds a venue to match her voice in the beautiful Union Chapel, taking residence for a five-night stint.
July 6-10, unionchapel.org.uk
Tom Sanders, Lexington
Going solo and releasing music under his own name for the first time, Teleman frontman Tom Sanders brings his gentle, beguiling album Only Magic to north London.
July 7, thelexington.co.uk
NS10V10: Road to Roundhouse, Bush Hall
It’s a social media hype-storm whenever it happens, and now the radio soundclash organised by online station No Signal is moving into the live setting. It’s part of a tournament between eight crews, with the final taking place at the Roundhouse — this is the west London section.
July 8, bushhallmusic.co.uk
Lime Garden, Windmill Brixton
If there’s anywhere you can be assured of hearing something fresh and interesting, it’s down at the Windmill in Brixton. There’s a stacked schedule in July, but we’re keen on Brighton’s Lime Garden, and their sparky, wonky guitar pop.
July 8, windmillbrixton.co.uk
Gardening, Old Blue Last
There are a lot of good new bands on at this Shoreditch boozer over the next month, too, but our pick is lively indie-rockers Gardening. Check the listings for plenty of free-entry gigs, too.
July 9, theoldbluelast.com
Gazelle Twin and NYX, Moth Club
This one is going to be quite something: an abridged rendition of Deep England, a haunting, thrillingly nightmarish soundscape inspired by pagan music, performed by experimental artist Gazelle Twin and drone choir NYX.
July 12, mothclub.co.uk
Mica Levi, Cafe OTO
The multi-talented musician and composer Mica Levi debuts a programme of new works in Dalston. There’s little indication of what direction they’ve taken here — orchestral, experimental, or something else entirely — so head along to find out.
July 17, cafeoto.co.uk
Nadine Shah, Barbican
Nadine Shah’s latest album, the intense, brilliant Kitchen Sink, was one of the best in 2020, and in this one-off performance, she’ll be playing the whole thing in full. Not to be missed.
July 18, barbican.org.uk
White Lies, Powerhaus
Formerly known as Dingwalls, this Camden venue has had a makeover and been rechristened as Powerhaus. This trio of shows from the synthy post-punks is one of the biggest bookings so far — last time they played London, it was at Brixton Academy.
July 19-21, powerhauscamden.com
After winning The Voice back in 2018, Ruti Olajugbagbe has carved out her own space wtihin the modern R&B scene that’s so popular right now. Catch her playing cuts from her latest EP, All at Once, in Hoxton.
July 21, colourshoxton.com
Future Bubblers, Jazz Cafe
For years, DJ, label boss and tastemaker Gilles Peterson has been welcoming young musicians into his mentor scheme, Future Bubblers. These gigs will showcase some of the best talent to emerge from the initiative, across two nights in Camden.
July 22 and 29, thejazzcafelondon.com
Lola Young, Camden Assembly
This 19-year-old south Londoner is firmly placed within the “one to watch” category, with a versatile vocal delivery that ranges from spoken-word to soul singer, and a few million Spotify streams already amassed.
July 22, camdenassembly.com
James Blunt, Royal Albert Hall
One of the funniest musicians on Twitter returns to play the Royal Albert Hall for the second time, in support of his sixth studio album, Once Upon A Mind.
July 23, royalalberthall.com
Chemtrails, Shacklewell Arms
“No relation to the popular conspiracy theory of the same name,” Chemtrails confirm in their Twitter bio. What you can expect is lots of peppy, punky noise from the Manchester band.
July 24, shacklewellarms.com
Tom Jones, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
No one could blame Tom Jones for touring his greatest hits at this point, but the octogenarian is still pushing boundaries. He’ll play through his fascinating new album, Surrounded By Time, at this show.
July 27, academymusicgroup.com