With Independent Venue Week starting today and running for seven days in a celebration of the UK’s small music venues and the people who work tirelessly to run them, NME have collated a list of artists who are not to be missed. With opportunities to see growing bands in an up-close-and-personal environment, this is a pretty exciting week to be a music fan.
When: 28th & 31st January, 1st & 2nd February
Where: London, Leeds, Hull, Halifax
Why? One of a handful of artists touring for this year’s Independent Venue Week, the MOBO and Mercury Award nominated south London grime artist isn’t shy when it comes to exploring the social and political climate through honest, raw lyrics. Keeping the grime scene alive and innovative, these are set to be some hard-hitting performances.
When: 28th January- 4th February
Where: Bournemouth, Bath, St Albans, Stowmarket, Hebden Bridge, Birkenhead, Ramsgate
Why? Having just announced their debut album ‘Boat’, Independent Venue Week is the perfect chance to catch Pip Blom live and be won over by her fizzing own brand of grunge-laced indie. Pip, who has spoken of her love for smaller British venues, will even be supported by her dad’s own band, Eton Crop, at the Stowmarket show. Aww.
Beans on Toast
When: 30th January- 2nd February
Where: Cardiff, Portsmouth, Margate, Stowmarket
Why: Nine studio albums later, Essex born Jay McAllister is stilll going strong on the folk scene. Having opened Glastonbury Festival, supported Kate Nash, and worked with folk rock royalty Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, the established musician will no doubt deliver some memorable performances in these cosy venues.
When: 29th January & 1-3rd February
Where: Cambridge, Chester Huddersfield and Birmingham
Why: Following rave reviews of the artist’s debut solo album ‘My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth’, these shows will be your chance to experience the rich vocal melodies which have captivated critics and fans alike.
When: Friday 1st February
Where: Norwich Arts Centre
Why: This group is bursting at the seams with indie ambition, pushing their modern rock n’ roll sound from the streets of Glasgow to countless shows and festivals across the UK. They’ve been one to watch since last year, and after NME described their sound as being fit for mosh-pits and bar brawls in equal measure, there’s no doubt this will be a great gig.
When: 30th January & 2nd February
Where: Cambridge & Halifax
Why: The Independent Venue Week run of gigs will be the first taste of Estrons’ intimate spring UK tour which is throughout March and April. Their off-kilter sound, which is stuffed full of ferocious guitars and cantering drums, is sure to be to memorable in these smaller venues. Having voiced how excited they are to perform in these ‘precious’ independent venues, the Cardiff punk trio are worth catching.
When: 29th January- 3rd February
Where: London, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Southampton
Why? Spotlighted as ‘Idiosyncratic, psychedelic math-rock that challenges at every turn’ in our NME 100 list, there is a buzz around these guys with performance levels that are not to be missed.
When: 21st January- 9th February
Where: Aldershot, Tunbridge Wells, Portsmouth, Reading, Exeter, Plymouth, Stoke-on- Trent, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, London
Why: Unapologetically hardcore punk, these guys aren’t hiding in the shadows of their rock predecessors like Black Sabbath, but are embracing their own festival-ready performance bravado, guaranteeing crazy, albeit intimate shows.
Tim Burgess & The Anytime Minutes
When: 26th January – 4th February
Where: Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Bedford, Worthing, Bangor, York, Norwich
Why: The iconic lead singer of The Charlatans is stepping out alone, offering a set that takes in tracks he’s recorded over the last 20 years and playing material that is 10 years old, yet still brand new to audiences. He’s described the show as what he can only guarantee as a good night out.
Words: Hollie Geraghty