From tiny, friendly gigs where you feel as if you’re in someone’s living room, to the big, bold and outlandish, 2013 is all about statement venues. Here are a few to whet the appetite.
1. February 17: Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush, west London. Only £5.
A mellow Sunday evening under the chandeliers beckons at this pocket-sized glam dancehall in Shepherd’s Bush. There’s a menu of musicians, which includes folk-based Ali Warren Band. Ali’s voice is reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, and he played two unforgettable sets at Nova Festival.
2. March 30: Suede, Alexandra Palace, north London. £35.75.
Those early-Britpop boys are back after an eight-year hiatus, and their first and what looks like only gig so far is at Alexandra Palace. This iconic building is great for ice skating and exhibitions, but as a music venue it’s uncomfortable and somewhat soulless. If you want to to see Suede, however, it may just be your only option. Supporting Suede are Temples (pictured below), who I saw at Bush Hall with Stealing Sheep last year, so it’s nice to see this young, gutsy psychedelic band getting wider exposure.
3. March 31, The Pretty Things Anniversary Tour, The Trades, Hebden Bridge, Yorks. £18.
There’s nostalgia mode up north too as The Trades indulges in a 60s fest with The Pretty Things Anniversary Tour. Dick Taylor, original guitarist with the Rolling Stones, is still a member.
4. April/May (dates to be confirmed), Northern Soul the film, nationwide.
Wigan seizes the spotlight as this long-awaited film hits our screens. Director Elaine Constantine conducted meticulous research for her film, and is set to reignite all the passion of the northern soul movement. The film tells the story of two teenagers who get caught up in the music, seeking out obscure records and dancing at ‘all-nighters’. It’s the music that formed the backdrop to my teenage years in Manchester, so I’m sold already.
5. August 22-26: Towersey Festival, Oxford.
The popular Spooky Men’s Chorale are returning to friendly Oxfordshire family festival Towersey this year. Also appearing are The Unthanks, Home Service and lots more. Plus of course there will be those Ceilidh classes for you to enjoy. Read about Towersey 2012 here.
6. August 30: Sigur Ros, Jodrell Bank, Cheshire. £38.95
Space-rock (ok, I’m trying not to call them ethereal) Icelandic band Sigur Ros will be playing under the giant Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank at the end of August.
It’s part of the Live from Jodrell Bank series, which aims to marry science and music, and as part of the experience you can take part in workshops and science experiments during the afternoon – no doubt it will be a great family experience, and a more chilled out one for those of us no longer with small sprogs.
7. September 13, 14, 15: Festival No. 6. Portmeirion, North Wales. Adult wknd £170.
Back for it’s second year after a successful debut, despite the rain. Curiosity alone will probably propel me to check out Festival No 6 this autumn, and if you’re feeling that your Bestival days are behind you, this may just fit the bill. The festival takes place in the quirky and beautiful Italian village of Portmeirion on the north Wales coast – check out TV programme The Prisoner to get a feel. I’ve visited Portmeirion and it’s breathtaking, with its scenic village and huge sweep of beach: if the weather holds up this should be pretty amazing.