After London @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

As I have written here many times, I still don’t know why more people aren’t taking advantage of all the free live music gigs that are on around London. For us folks that frequent the live music scene, we feel spoilt for choice, and a lot of evenings we have to make (relatively) difficult (first world) decisions about which gig to go because there are so many great (as-yet-unknown) bands playing. If the bands aren’t familiar, then trusting the venue and promoter can be a great help. Chris from Lost in the Manor, is something of an old hand and he rarely puts on a bad evening, and even calling it bad is probably more down to personal taste than his curation. Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, was one of my regular haunts when it was run by Mama. I even had a three-month long photo exhibition there (there’s a link to the catalogue on the left column). However, following Mama’s buy-out by Live Nation, and the selling off its venues, there were major changes with them. The venues were refurbished, and some even renamed (RIP The Barfly), to cater for a different audience with more focus on “club nights” and even the live music was less indie guitars and more synth pop. In fact, I think I only went to one gig in each of those venues in a year. However, this year there seems to be a switch back to supporting new music, especially at Camden Assembly (The Barfly), with their month-long Spotlight sessions throughout January.

Anyway, it was nice to be back in Hoxton for a surprise evening of new music that was ostensibly for After London’s record launch. They were a band I’d neither seen nor heard. Support act Bokito I’d seen at Leefest, so I knew I’d see at least one entertaining band, but I had faith in Chris’s choices.

Openers Good Guy Clarence were superb; a nice psych-shoegaze blend with a touch of jazz. Definitely worth checking out if, like me, that’s your thing. Great guitars and some excellent drumming.

Bokito upped the tempo with some sunshine infused afro vibes.

After London are a female-fronted rock band in the same vein as personal favourites Yonaka, who are already storming the country this year with big sold out gigs. Thankfully there is plenty of room and demand for more bands of this ilk, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing more of After London.

Good Guy Clarence

Bokito

After London

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