1883 Magazine

Rather like craft ale, folk was once strictly the preserve of rather eccentric fringe enthusiasts, but has gatecrashed the mainstream of late.  Appealing alike to hipsters searching for a more authentic alternative to manufactured pop and those seeking something a little more relaxed and thoughtful, its various strands have brought us massive household names like Ed Sheeran and Mumford & Sons, as well as a thriving underground scene, a self-contained network of clubs and promoters that is thoroughly thriving.

The London Folk & Roots Festival, which starts this week and runs until November 18, is in its fourth year and aims to straddle that divide by providing a variety of already beloved and up and coming scenesters, playing in venues across London from Shepherds Bush Empire to the Slaughtered Lamb.  A full list of shows is available on the festival’s website (link below) but here are a few highlights that 1883 thinks are worth checking out.


Kitty, Daisy & Lewis - Islington Assembly Hall, 28 Oct

Anyone who thinks folk is, by its very nature, a twee and bashful affair needs to check out this British five piece, all members of the same family.   They may favour old skool recording techniques over technological sheen, but their five albums to date – the latest being this year’s ‘Supersonic’ – bear more than a hint of rockabilly aggression in addition to the more traditional harmonies and textured musicality.




An Evening with Foy Vance, Union Chapel, Nov 2-4

Probably the most obvious poster boy for the success of London Folk & Roots Festival, as they’ve been booking him since his early days, Foy Vance returns to London to headline three consecutive nights at the Union Chapel, tickets for which will no doubt be hotter than the jacket potatoes in hell. Skipping between guitar and piano, his stripped down vocal sessions, dripping in the tradition of his native Ireland but unrestricted in their outlook, expect his army of fans (many no doubt sporting their fake Foy moustaches) to invade the pubs of Upper Street throughout the weekend.




Mark Eitzel & Band featuring Bernard Butler - St Pancras Church, Saturday November 11.

Former frontman of American Music Club and a massive influence on stadium fillers like R.E.M. and Nirvana, Mark Eitzel’s recent pairing with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler resulted in what many critics are calling his best album yet, ‘Hey, Mr Ferryman’.  Butler only performs very rarely alongside San Francisco-based Eitzel, who is currently playing his last British shows for the next year, but the magical surroundings of St Pancras Church will see them team up for a night of the sardonic and the uplifting.




Ailbhe Reddy - St Pancras Old Church, Thurs 2nd Nov

Combining the tenderness and delicy of folk with a dash of ballsy indie attitude and a knack for highly memorable tunes that has genuine (whisper it) pop appeal, Alibhe Reddy is another fast rising star from the Emerald Isle, like Foy Vance she puts her distinctive voice at the centre of everything she does.  No wonder she’s already racked up over two million Spotify plays.




House Above The Sun - The Islington, Thur 16th Nov

Based in South London but with roots in Arizona, Costa Rica and France as well as the UK, House Above The Sun released their debut album ‘Five Hours North’ to a wealth of acclaim from British and American tastemakers alike.  Their sound has echoes of classic rock like the Stones and Zeppelin, but is swathed in the various roots sounds, echoes of country, gospel, folk and blues all rapturously entangled in their highly personal and effortlessly executed songs.  Catch them in support of the equally upcoming Marc O’Reilly at this intimate North London venue.




Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders featuring a Cast of Thousands - Bush Hall November 4&5

Sussex born renaissance man Wesley Stace has assembled a genuinely stellar line up of literary, comedy and musical names for two nights of cross genre pollination. What’s going to happen?  Well, we’re not entirely sure, but we can tell you that across the two nights the fun  will include appearances from author Jonathan Coe, Harry Hill, Monty Python/Rutles legend Neil Innes, composer Gavin Bryars and Rich Hall among many, many more.


For more info visit www.londonfolkandroots.com


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