Thursday, January 27, 2011

Calling London # 5 with 27 Leggies

An old feature is making a comeback. When I first moved to London I contacted a few bands, shops and writers about the best of London, both for me and anyone who ever wants to come visit this fine city. First off is Ernie from 27 Leggies, a blog that puts my notion of musical diversity to shame. It really is a wonderful education in, for want of a better phrase, World Music. And not in an "Pan Pipes in Ambient Moods" C.D in the Health Food Shop kind of way. For example, listen to this track that was posted yesterday:

Next time I go to watch another Velvet Underground documentary, I'm gonna head this way instead. Mindblowing stuff! So anyway, I asked Ernie a few questions about London.

-Favourite Venue?

I am on the look-out for a new one. Until recently I would have said The Luminaire in Kilburn but that has sadly closed down. The runner-up would have been What's Cookin' in Leytonstone, but they have scaled back and now only have one gig a month. They are still worth checking out though, and the venue - The North Star pub - is worth a visit any time if you in the area.

A handy hint in these hard-up times is to keep an eye out for free gigs in the foyers at The Southbank and The Barbican. They have some surprisingly good acts sometimes.

-Best thing about music in London?

The sheer variety.

-Any downsides?

I'm sure you will have heard this one before, but the idiots that insist on holding loud conversations throughout the entire gig. If they want to chat, why don't they just go to a bar and save themselves some money and everyone else the earache? It may just be me getting old but it definitely seems to be getting worse. I blame Twitter. I'm not sure why, but I do.

-Recommend a record store:

These days I tend to buy most of my music online or an overseas visits. In London I tend to visit second-hand and charity shops, the fun being that you never know what you'll find. A couple of favourites are the Oxfam Shop in Crouch End, which usually has a decent selection of promo CDs going for £1 each, and the basement of the Music & Video Exchange in Berwick Street, which always has some weird and wonderful bargains. Sadly Daddy Cool Records, the reggae specialists that used to be across the road from them, closed a few years ago - now that was a proper record shop.

My local record shop is Rough Trade East - which isn't a bad one to have, although the prices compared to buying things online mean I don't tend to spend a lot when I go in.

-Where's best to find out what's going on?

Songkick has been an absolute blessing. It has greatly reduced the number of times I have only found out a favourite artist is playing in London a week after it has happened. For example, without it I would never have found out that Mike Heron of the Incredible String Band - a personal hero and someone I have wanted to see for years - was playing at the Cafe Oto in Dalston. That was one of my musicall highlights of 2010.

Here's one of my favourite discoveries from the blog.

The Moon People - Hippy, Skippy Moon Strut

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