Jordan Worland, from local music website Slate the Disco, gives his top gig picks for the month ahead
Having made waves with their country-tinged indie pop, Whitney play the Junction on the 25th – and get our top recommendation this month. The duo formed after the break-up of their previous outfit, Smith Westerns, in 2014; guitarist Max Kakacek was joined by vocalist and drummer Julien Ehrlich, and after only a couple of years they have arguably eclipsed the stature of their former band.
Whitney’s debut LP garnered critical attention for its combination of soul and breezy 60s/70s-inspired rock, while their sophomore offering promises to draw deeper from jazz and soul, finding Ehrlich and Kakacek growing as songwriters and musicians.
The Mercury-nominated jazz/psych/electronic meanderings of The Comet is Coming (on the 30th) would have been our top pick had the gig not sold out months ago, but bag a ticket if you can as this show promises to be epic. Also up at the Junction, fearless recording artist, tireless live performer and peerless political campaigner Billy Bragg plays three unique shows on consecutive nights (26 – 28 November).
The first night’s performance features Bragg’s current set, which ranges across his 35-year career. The second sees Bragg perform songs from his first three albums: his punk-rock debut Life’s a Riot with Spy vs Spy (1983), its similarly raw follow-up Brewing Up with Billy Bragg (1984) and Talking with the Taxman About Poetry (1986).
The third performance sees Bragg perform songs from his second three albums: Workers Playtime (1988), the pop classic Don’t Try This at Home (1991) and the back-to-basics William Bloke (1996).
Our pick of events at The Blue Moon this month begins with the highly regarded State Champion, who bring their deranged country-tinged rock to Cambridge on the 3rd.
It’s been a year since the release of their acoustic-leaning fourth album Send Flowers, a record that saw the band move into a tidier, tighter sound. Mutant delta blues artist Tim Holehouse appears on the 14th, joined by Malcom Tent and Naomi Randall; and Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something (psych, pop, glam rock, indie, all of the above – and lead by a mercurial talent) complete our Blue Moon recommendations when they play on the 18th.
A hectic month at The Portland Arms includes many highlights, and names that stand out for us include Big Joanie and Spector. Big Joanie (13th) are a black feminist punk band – like The Ronettes filtered through 80s DIY and 90s riot grrrl.
Spector (11th), on the other hand, create enigmatic indie with killer choruses. Other notable nights at The Portland this month include Jamie Lenman (12th), The Ninth Wave (18th) and Penelope Isles (26th). Jazz-rock legends Soft Machine play Storeys Field on the 14th.