London’s Music to your ears

Jun 11th, 2008 | By | Category: Readers Contributions

London folk music photograph by Annabel VereLondon may be one of the greatest cities in the world for passing musicians from every corner of the globe.  So while you are visiting you may be lucky enough to catch your favourite artist up close and personal. 

However there is a lot more to check out here than meets the big bold ads in NME or Time Out.  We have the most incredible underground music scene happening right now. Its not poptastic or dance crazy but its musicians that have stripped back down the core and are wrenching out the true meaning of music – what its really all about.

Many inspired from the great original artists of soul and blues comes the new contemporary folk scene.  We are not talking skirts made of wheat and boys in gingham here, instead, new, fresh talented instrument players and timeless unaffected vocals.  These guys are breaths of fresh air from the music industries uninspiring chav pop culture. There is less ego and showiness than wannabes.  You will experience a tightness and rawness and leave with a feeling of nourishment and fulfilment. Basically, if you have the intelligence and capacity to dig deeper into some moving music, here is where I can point you in the right direction.

First of all The Betsey Trotttwood.  This beautiful old Pub is heaving with nights of fantastic artists and their acoustic achievements.  Having two rooms of music and a separate bar area. You are in for a special varied night.  The atmosphere is cosy and very intimate, almost gastro, but with far more character, the owners are so friendly you will feel like old friends.  This venue is currently attracting the crème de la crème of pure raw musical talent, you will not be disappointed.

Then we have the 12 Bar Club.  This place is a classic. Situated right in the centre of all things Soho, this bizarre intimate venue has an upstairs loft type of seating area and a downstairs that gets you close enough to smell the bands’ guitar strings.  An eclectic bunch of musicians play here from a rockier crowd, through world music to quirky country.  A great detailed description of forthcoming performers are on the website.  They also have a café by day with a famous chilli to die for.

The Apple Tree.  A beautiful, home from home feel, large pub tucked away in Mount Pleasant. Every other Sunday we have ‘Come down and meet the Folks’ the most relaxed unpretentious gig in town.  Former ‘Rockingbirds’ singer Alan Tyler hosts this wonderful evening full of beautiful talents with an Americana edge.  More of a country vibe with a DJ between sets this great bunch will have you dancing to Johnny Cash before the night is out.

The Gladstone is another great busy little pub that has just started to be recognized on the music circuit.  Again it attracts the coolest musicians around. The audience pretty much surrounds the stage on little candlelit tables and there is a great vibe and chatty ambience.
The Borderline on Charing Cross Road is a well established venue that hosts more established bands as well as up and coming ones too.  It attracts overseas musicians and is definately worth checking out.  A more rocky gig feel is felt here, less cosy but still intimate.
And whos hot at the moment to check out?

Well heres some of my faves, all seen at the venues above.

I hope they inspire you to get out and watch some real music in our wonderful city.


Writer and Photo: Annabel Vere

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  1. What a great piece! It really made me want to go and check out some of the bands. That whole scene is so underrated so it’s great that someone’s promoting it. Although let’s not have it get too big or it’ll lose all it’s charm!!
    Thanks again for the article!

  2. This is just what i need for my trip here! Was looking for some really intimate venues to check out and your home grown talent never fails to amaze and inspire me. Thanks so much, really useful! Rebecca

  3. This reminds me of a review I read about London on my way to LA

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