We wrote last month about how busy October’s live schedule was here in Cambridge – and there’s no sign of it slowing down in November. There’s a host of shows we have our eye on at The Portland Arms, most noticeably Younghusband, Bully (pictured right) and VANT.
Younghusband put out their sophomore record, Dissolver, last month, which offered a slice of soaring psychedelia at its most euphoric. The band close their UK tour here in Cambridge on the 17th. Making the show just that little bit better is the news that the mesmeric space-folk artist Grimm Grimm will be opening. Fronted by charismatic vocalist/guitarist Mattie Vant, the much-tipped VANT have been compared to The Pixies with echoes of Queens of the Stone Age. London-based newcomers VANT have already made a huge statement with extensive support from Annie Mac, Zane Lowe, XFM and 6 Music, shows with Royal Blood and Hinds, and a succession of positive press coverage. They play Cambridge on the 4th.
Bully (pictured) are hands down one of the best stateside exports of 2015, and they play The Portland on the 3rd. The Nashville four-piece masterfully evoke 90s mainstays such as The Breeders, Afghan Whigs and Hole, while at the same time bringing their own unique twists to addictive grunge-rock melodies. Other Portland tips this month include Seafret (pictured above), who impressed with their bewitching vocals, honest lyricism and contemporary guitars at this summer’s Cambridge Folk Festival.
Alt bluegrass outfit The Coal Porters (12th), the Bouquet of Dead Crows’ album launch (6th) and The Greenaways (2nd) are also recommended. There’s plenty to see if you get down to Cambridge Junction this month, too. Our top pick is a band who are continuing their quest to bring experimentation and ambition back to pop music.
Everything Everything are in town on the 17th, touring after the release of brilliantly conceived third album Get To Heaven. Moulettes are a Brighton-based British band of Björk, Frank Zappa and Gentle Giant loving multi-instrumentalists that weave in and out of several genres with a three-part harmony of female vocals and an array of instruments. The results are an incomparable alt-pop/rock/folk universe, and they play on the 2nd in the J2.
Veteran rock star turned genial 6 Music radio presenter Tom Robinson & Band are in J1 the same night. A supergroup featuring four of the major stars of British Folk music today – Eliza Carthy, Jackie Oates, Lucy Farrell and Kate Young – play the J1 on the 15th. Other Cambridge Junction highlights include noughties indie anthem masters The Fratellis (23rd), the utterly distinctive multi-instrumentalists Katzenjammer (16th), Lau (10th), Thea Gilmore (19th) and Dreadzone (12th).
November is truly a blockbuster month for the Cambridge Corn Exchange – possibly their biggest month in years, with a host of festival main-stage acts set to appear. Pick of the bunch has to be Foals, who bring their left-field grooves and angular art-rock anthems to town on the 16th. Mancunian outfit The 1975 posted cryptic messages about breaking up in the summer, but it turned out to be a hoax and the band returned with their second LP in October. They play the Corn Exchange on the 19th.
The Vaccines are an arena-ready band these days, with a catalogue of indie gems. They bring their high-octane dystopia and monster riffs back to Cambridge on the 25th. Break-out band Catfish & The Bottlemen are suitably shaped to propel themselves to a similar level as The Vaccines, and are playing the Corn Exchange on the 11th, while Marina and The Diamonds return to the city on the 20th.
Our final must-see Corn Exchange act this month are the impeccable Maccabees, who play on the 22nd. The band, who recently celebrated their first-ever UK number-one album with the acclaimed Marks To Prove It, never disappoint live and through a series of beautifully crafted records are a truly irresistible force in British music. We end with a nod to the inaugural Cambridge Jazz Festival, which happens between the 19th and 29th across various venues in town. There’s a host of amazing acts scheduled, including The New York Standards Quartet and Julian Joseph Trio, but our top pick just has to be the legendary Hiatus Kaiyote at the Cambridge Junction (21st).
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