We can’t avoid Christmas in London now. We’ve already cracked open the mince pies and taken a peek at the Christmas lights and ice rinks, but we don’t need to veer too far from our usual standards. There are still brilliant gigs taking place while keeping the Christmas spirit.
Christmas music is no longer the domain of 70’s tedium or naff comedians spoiling classic songs to be repeated in supermarkets ad nasuem. Now, credible musicians are releasing seasonal songs of quality and promoters are putting together shows which embody the coming together spirit of glad tidings while still being something the music fan would want to go to.
Here are the best of these shows; Ten must see Christmas gigs to celebrate the season with pride.
Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler @ Bush Hall- W12, 14 December. After sharing her Christmas survival tips with Lononist, Emmy the Great takes the stage with Tim Wheeler to bring their wonderful album This is Christmas to life. This one off show will no doubt see the couple decked in Christmas jumpers, and glittering tinsel while Emmy’s swooning lyrics and Tim’s pop-punk prowess cuddle Bush Hall like overly brandied egg nog. Home for the Holidays and Zombie Christmas are the perfect seasonal songs, embodying the excitement and kinship all wrapped up in a kick ass tune. As far away from a novelty Russ Abbot Christmas ditty as you can get. Tickets £16+bf.
A Guided Missile Christmas with We Are the Physics, No Cars @ Buffalo Bar -N1, 10 December. London’s best basement venue is the ultimate place for Christmas, It’s red and cool. Ok slightly tenuous but the amazing Guided Missile are celebrating Christmas with Glaswegian angular punks We Are The Physics, and flying over from Japan especially for tonight (yeah right!) shouty girl group No Cars. There are also sets by Ricky Spontaine and the excellently named 47th Street Demon Exchange, with top entertainment all night long with indie pop and dancing to make you feel good from Guided Missile DJs. Tickets £5+bf advance.
Soulwax Christmas @ Brixton Academy, -SW9, 16-17 December. Now in its third year the Soulwax takeover of Brixton Academy is turning into a London Christmas staple. For two nights the Belgian electro mash-up types bring their, erm, mashed up electro to a Christmas cracker of a party. There’s a live set form their indie rock ensemble and the thumpin’ 2ManyDJs shenanigans, as well as a turn from Trash legend Erol Alkan. Ticket £26.50+bf.
Smith and Burrows @ Union Chapel-N1, 14 December. Editors singer Tom Smith, and former Razorlight tub-thumper Andy Burrows, air their beautiful new Christmas album, Funny Looking Angels, within the Union Chapel’s perfect seasonal setting. The album, born out of a plan to reclaim the innocence of the Christmas song lost to commercial TV drivel, embodies a romantic innocence of Christmas as seen at their recent Secret Sessions gig. This very special show will cement Smith and Burrows as a Christmas mainstay. Tickets £15+bf.
Bangface Christmas @ Elektrowerkz- EC1, 16 December. Why not swap glittery twinkly lights for glo-sticks and hi-vis vests, for the perfect Christmas de-stress. Release the pent up Oxford Street frustration with a night of neo-rave griding gabba breakcore, while pounding bass and acid beats make deciding what perfume to get Aunty Mavis seem insignificant. Sets from Luke Vibert, Ragga Twins and Ceephax Acid Crew ensure a platter of rave stuffed bangers and there will even be an appearance by The JungleChrist for the traditionalists out there. Tickets £11+bf.
Deaf School @ Jazz Café - NW1, 21 December. Deaf School are one of the most influential but overlooked bands in modern music. They revived a shattered Liverpool music scene in the 1970s acting as a catalyst for the likes of Echo and The Bunnymen and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, inspiring what would lead to 80’s alternative rock. Members have produced records by Morrissey, played with Ian Broudie and gone into A&R and their impact still reverberates though modern rock. This will be an amazing early Christmas gift. Tickets £12+bf.
Carols by Candlelight with Will Young @ The Priory Church, St Barts EC1, 7 December. Will Young will be reading at this charity carol service, in aid of Mencap, held by candle light at the stunning twelfth century church. Further readings will be given by such luminaries as Sebastian Faluks, Jenny Seagrove, Penny Vincenzi and Patricia Hodge, with attendees invited to drinks and canapés once the carols are over. It might not be rock n roll, but this is Christmas after all. Tickets £30 proceeds to Mencap.
End of the Road Festival Christmas Shindig with Beth Jeans Houghton @Cargo, EC2A, 8 December. Britain’s best festival leaves Dorset for London, to host their annual knees up of hot cider with a swooning line up headed by the dreamy psychedelic neo- pop of Beth Jeans Houghton along with Canadian Dan Mangan, who is cooler than a snowman in a leather jacket. Oh Ruin’s tales of Irish childhood mischief wrap up a night which will evoke feelings of a magical Christmases, comforting and quirkily twee. Tickets £10+bf.
QuoFestive featuring Status Quo and Roy Wood @O2, 11 December. The mighty Quo my not be known for their Christmas songs but you’ll know all their tunes, even if you don’t want to, and at Christmas bad taste and dad dancing is allowed. Besides Wizzard’s Roy Wood and Kim Wilde are supporting who will no doubt peddle out their Seasonal classics with a bit of fake snow fluttering down. Hopefully the Quo and Wilde will do a duet. Rocking All Over the Christmas Tree anyone? Tickets £37.50+bf
Slow Club @ Union Chapel N1, 19 December. To be honest this show sold out long ago, but Slow Club’s fourth annual Union Chapel show has got to be mentioned. This show IS Christmas and will be a wonderful celebration of the fantastic year their second album Paradise has gifted them. If a friend offers you spare ticket, then snap it up, or if you see a completion enter it. Don’t buy from a tout though; we don’t want to encourage those nasty Grinchs. Sold out! Boo Hiss.
For the best of the rest of this weeks gigs check out this weeks Music Choice.