It’s the start of the new year. Crimbo bingeing means your house is overflowing with empty Rennie packets and unopened bottles of Baileys. And now, you’re ready to kick-start your 2024 as a transformed person, with a long list of resolutions that you absolutely definitely will not break. Like you, London is gearing itself up for another year of bloody good events. Just look at the festival line-ups that have been dropping. Instead of doomscrolling through in and out lists (in: snogging on the dancefloor, wearing capris to the club, Ke$ha; out: Lost Marys as accessories, Bluetooth wireless headphones, Taylor Swift) have a looksie at what our venues have on this month. From fabulous pop to post-punk-blasting fundraisers, there’s something for all tastes.
For gigging for a good cause
Gig promoter and record label Eat Your Own Ears is once again hosting their annual ‘Recommends’ series this January, showcasing a plethora of new artists that it backs to be big in 2024. Taking place at Dalston’s Shacklewell Arms, it’ll not only help to you broaden your Spotify playlists but also help raise money and awareness for two great charities: food poverty charity Hackney Foodbank, and Help Musicians, which supports music creators in times of crisis and provides career opportunities. We recommend checking out Talia Goddess, Reuben’s Daughters and Redolent.
The Shacklewell Arms, E8 2EB. Wed Jan 10, 17, 24, 7pm. From free.
Music for Palestine: Heartworms
Legendary music venue The George Tavern will also be hosting a special fundraising night this month, this time in aid of Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. Live music comes from rising London post-punk musician Heartworms, who will be headlining, alongside opening sets from Skydaddy and Bande A Part. Topping it off, a raffle will take place on the night with the opportunity to win band merch and donated items from local artists.
The George Tavern, E1 0LA. Sun Jan 7, 7pm. From £10.
Staged by disability awareness charity ABLE2UK, Stop the Shadows is an annual fundraising gig aiming to tackle loneliness and isolation among disabled people via a stellar line-up of live music and laughs. Hosted by comedian Neil Morrissey, it’s headlined by comeback queen Sophie Ellis-Bextor and The Kooks’ Luke Pritchard, while comedian Josh Widdicombe, musical legend Tony Christie, telly’s TV presenter Steve Brown and Paralympian Anne Wafula-Strike.
Hard Rock Cafe, W1K 1QZ. Tue Jan 23, 7pm. From £48.
For the feel-good pop seekers
Sporty Spice is taking over KOKO for a one-off headline show celebrating her 50th birthday. Catch the pop icon performing songs across her trailblazing 30-year career, and joined by very special surprise guests, for an intimate night of partying with fans and friends. And if you’ve missed the main event? Mel C will be flexing her DJing skills with good friends Sink The Pink afterwards.
80s icons Depeche Mode are back in London (not too far from their native Basildon) for a night of nostalgic synth-pop, electronic rock, new wave and dance-rock excellence. Yes, you will hear ‘Never Let Me Down Again’, ‘Enjoy the Silence’ and ‘Personal Jesus’ in the massive three-and-a-bit-hours-long setlist, alongside some of the group’s newer stuff like 2023’s ‘Ghosts Again’. So, it’s a mixed bag.
The O2, E10 0DX. Mon Jan 22, Sat Jan 27, 6.30pm. From £76.10.
For brilliant Afrobeats
While most of us don’t really care about what Obama’s listening to, the idea of the former president rolling his hips to Davido’s ‘Unavailable’ is still quite a novelty. If you, like Barak, fancy the idea of grooving along to this Afrobeats anthem, then don’t miss his turn at The O2 this January. He’ll be bringing his infectious blend of pop hooks and club-ready beats to London, promising a show that will display exactly why his three Grammy noms (for ‘Unavailable’, ‘Feel’ and the album ‘Timeless’) are well-deserved.
The O2, SE10 0DX. Sun Jan 28, 6pm. From £55.
For the alt kids
Sometimes you have to embrace the gloominess of January. And where better to weep over lost loves, cold winter nights and Christmas-induced gout than with these guys? Foxing are celebrating their seminal debut album ‘The Albatross’ with a very special show at the O2 Academy Islington. It is a brilliantly indulgent sad boi record, with mellow riffs, barking vocal delivery and introspective lyricism about crumbling relationships. Something to help you feel good about the new year.
O2 Academy Islington, N1 0PS. Fri Jan 19, 6pm. From £23.60.
Bring Me The Horizon
With a back catalogue encompassing everything from metalcore and alt-rock to electropop and nu-metal, Bring Me The Horizon are a band that sound different with every album, and it’s a formula that’s clearly worked well for the Sheffield rockers. Expect to hear hits from throughout their eclectic 18-year discography at these two massive O2 gigs, which will feature special guests Bad Omens, Cassyette and Static Dress supporting.
The O2, SE10 0DX. Sat Jan 20 and Sun Jan 21, 5.30pm. From £58.
Wicca Phase Springs Eternal
The solo project of Adam McIlwee, ex-Tigers Jaw member, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal combines emo, hip-hop and witch house. His gothic rap verses often touch on themes of occultism, while his drawling vocals glitch over signature 808s, resulting in a sound that balances moaning with being spooky. It’s an indulgently miserable way to wrap yourself up in the January blues. Try ‘Spider Web’ for a taste of what to expect.
The Garage, N5 1RD. Mon Jan 29, 7pm. From £18.
For hyperpop clubbers
American hyperpop artist Dorian Electra is known for their non-conforming fashion, queer aesthetics and experimental pop sound. Their previous collaborations include Charli XCX, Rebecca Black and Tove Lo as a featured artist, while their captivating solo work on the third album ‘Fanfare’ explores themes of celebrity fandom in the age of social media. Lead single ‘Freak Mode’ comes with a particularly striking music video featuring a kind of Irish jig that you can recreate when you see them.
Electric Brixton, SW2 1RJ. Fri Jan 26, 7pm. From £28.50.
For fresh indie sounds
The Five Day Forecast is an annual festival celebrating the best in new music at The Lexington in Islington. Previous editions featured the likes of Self Esteem, Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, Squid, Black Country, New Road and Jockstrap, so expect big things from this year’s roster, even if you’ve never head of them. Making up the 2024 list are Viji, Jess Williamson, HotWax, Eaves Wilder, Divorce, Borough Council and gglum, who will take to the stage across runs across five consecutive nights from January 15-19.
Manchester-based group Porij have quickly become darlings of the indie scene, cementing themselves at the forefront of queer-led dance-pop. In 2022, they released the ‘Outlines’ EP, selling out London’s iconic Heaven and performing at Glastonbury. This show will preview material from their forthcoming debut album, as teased by the single ‘You Should Know Me‘. The band’s new material is co-produced by the legendary David Wrench, who worked with Frank Ocean, The xx and Young Fathers, so you can keep expectations high.
The Windmill, SW2 5BZ. Thu Jan 18, 8pm. From £10.
Bill Ryder-Jones may have broken through as a co-founder of the band The Coral, but his solo work is just as attention-worthy as his past as a noughties guitar band hero. His lyrical themes drift from introspection to redemption, told through a distinctly personal tone. The intimate feel of his delivery makes the music feel instantly relatable. The song ‘Don’t Be Scared, I Love You’ from 2019’s ‘Yawny Yawn’ is a strong starting point.
Rough Trade East, E1 6QL. Fri Jan 12, 7pm. From £12.50.
No one really sounds like Gretel Hänlyn. Her deep smooth vocals set her apart in an oversaturated indie market. Taking inspiration from influences such as Nick Cave and Wolf Alice, her dark introspective music borrows from grunge, psychedelic goth and indie, perfectly suiting her brooding tones. Catch the London-based singer, guitarist and songwriter, at the 100 Club as she performs a variety of excitingly haunting tunes including the earworm, ‘Drive’.
The 100 Club, W1D 1LL. Thu Jan 25, 7.30pm. From £15.44.
Paper Dress Vintage is one of the city’s best venues for finding new music. And this month, it’s giving you a b2b of post-punk rising stars. Headliners Cowboyyy come via Nice Swan Records (English Teacher, Sprints, Opus Kink), captivating listeners with their mix of 00s indie riffs, jazzy guitar parts and arty, experimental sounds. Don’t miss support from Neuroplacid, who describe themselves as ‘if Johnny Rotten had a rap career’, erratic punk rockers Funhaus and noise rock trio Uncle Junior.
Paper Dress Vintage, E8 1HR. Sat Jan 13, 7.30 pm. From £8.
For something a little different
Fabio and Grooverider
Fabio and Grooverider are gearing up for a big night at the Eventim Apollo this January, presenting a special score with The Outlook Orchestra that traces back the history of jungle and drum and bass through some of the scene’s most well-known tracks. The duo are forefathers of a scene they helped build from the ground up. See why they’re considered to be legends when they play at this spectacular event where iconic tracks come to life by a full orchestra.
Eventim Apollo, W6 9QH. Fri Jan 19, 7pm. From £51.35.