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Best Gigs in East London


Tuesday December 11


This nine-piece soul-fusion outfit hails from the eternally funky city of Leeds (now also known as the alt-home of Channel 4) and has been making plenty of waves up there. Time, then, for the rest of us to play catch up and hear what the fuss is about. Fusing elements of hip hop, afro beat, soul and ambient to strong effect, the hard-working crew have released an EP and have been touring the UK with Tetes de Pois. It may be quite a squeeze for them all to fit on the Sebright stage, but it will no doubt be worth the wait. 
Doors at 7pm. Tickets £7
Sebright Arms
31-35 Coate Street, London E2 9AG 
020 7729 0937 

Wednesday 12 December

Lilly Ahlberg

One-hundred and twenty-thousand people can’t be wrong – particularly in the cutthroat virtual universe that is YouTube. That’s how many subscribers newcomer Lilly Ahlberg has right now. A good moment to unpack what the lady’s all about in the intimate surrounds of the Waiting Room. Expect to hear favourites like Bad Boys and Flashing the Lights, plus a few less-expected highlights. It’s over 18s only, plus tickets are not cheap (£8.80 a pop), so it’s fair to expect a discerning Dalston crowd to show up. Doors at 7.30pm. Curfew at 11pm.
The Waiting Room
175 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 0LH
020 7241 5511 

Thursday December 13 


The Irish two-piece alt-rockers are in the midst of a UK-wide tour, travelling up and down the country with their infectious blend of guitar-led vibes. The debut album Afterthoughts is out now, with the requisite videos available to view online to get you in the mood. They’ve just been supporting You Me At Six and are clearly on a roll, on this, their debut headline tour. Live, they can cut it with the best of them. The merch ain’t half hot, neither. Support comes from Miss Vincent (the English punk outfit from Southampton, no relation to the ‘Saint’ American indie queen).
The Garage
20-22 Highbury Corner, London N5 1RD
020 7619 6720 / 0844 847 1678


There was a time, many moons ago, when being on the dole was a pre-requisite for being in a band. These days, of course, things are radically different. Wearing their tertiary education on their sleeves – or at least, not hiding it (why bother?) – the London-based quartet returns to the Old Blue Last to headline a festive ‘DIY’ bag of bands that also takes in Hartlepool’s Para Alta, the curiously titled Super Ego and South London-born Glossii.
Doors at 7pm. Entry is free.
The Old Blue Last
38 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3ES
020 7739 7033 

Friday December 14

Sorry to Bother You

What do rappers do when they’re not busily busting a rhyme? Well, if your name’s Raymond Lawrence ‘Boots’ Riley, it’s writing, directing and providing the soundtrack to a breakout hit movie. Based on his own experience as a would-be telemarketer, Riley’s off-the-wall urban satire is brutal in its cutting, racially charged message, with a slew of terrific performances underpinned by some fine tunes. Little wonder the movie went down a storm at the Sundance Film Festival earlier in the year and has been on critics’ lists ever since (Riley himself was in town to support the film’s London premiere). An excellent cast is led by Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson, with Armie Hammer putting in a equally fine turn as a deranged, cocaine-snorting CEO. You won’t forget this psychedelic head-spin in a hurry. 
The Castle Cinema
First Floor, 64 – 66 Brooksby’s Walk, London E9 6DA

Saturday December 15


We’re not sure they’ll be performing, but the brothers Hartnoll will be at Rough Trade to sign copies of their new long-player, Monsters Exist. Hailing from Sevenoaks in Kent – where many a weary commuter resides – Phil and Paul have notched up almost three decades of road-tested experience, playing everywhere from Glastonbury to Fuji Rock to Coachella. Inspired by the current political landscape, the pair drew on their pre-rave squat punk days for their first new album in five years. You’ll no doubt get to hear plenty of it in the room – and meet the duo cited by many (this scribe included) as one of the finest live experiences going on the planet. Queue up nice and early. Runs 1pm-4pm.
Rough Trade East
Dray Walk, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
020 7392 7788

Friday December 21

The Moth Christmas Ball 

For those planning on seeing Mariah Carey at the 02 – and for those who aren’t (or can’t) – Moth Club are hosting the East’s best festive shindig to get the jingles jangling. Expect to hear All I Want for Christmas and other seasonal follies in abundance, with mistletoe and wine aplenty (and possibly, even Cliff). There’ll be plenty of glitter (and that giant glitter ball, though no Glitter Band), plus all manner of surprises along the way. A Moth night to delight the weariest of souls, we venture. The party’s on. The spirit’s here. It only comes, this time of year. 
Moth Club
Old Trades Hall, Valette Street, London E9 6NU
020 8985 7963

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