London is awash with arty-farty venues in 'up and coming' areas, that normally turn out to be drab sheds with germy loos and hot and cold running crack-heads scowling in nearby door-ways. Yum.
However, a few friends of mine have been to Cafe Oto, exclaiming its virtues and singing its praises as a friendly place to see a gig (or just hang out). This is NOT the place to see the latest NME-adoring indie fops, grimacing about how rubbish their fringes look, this is a venue for expressionist rock, blues, jazz and everything else that ISN'T within those (or any other) genres. If you remember the days of Recommended Records, These or Touch Records, then Cafe Oto may have something for you to appreciate in the coming weeks.
Dalston's Cafe Oto has a swathe of excellent artists coming up - just the other night they hosted the Sun Ra Arkestra! We haven't the space to cover every gig available, but noteworthy events appear to begin on 12th July with the free-jazz quartet headed up by Harrison Smith (sax and clarinet). He teams up with Eddie Prevost, co-founder with the groundbreaking AMM and Wire journalist, Philip Somervell (piano) and Oli Hayhurst (bass). Tickets are just £5.
A Hawk and a Hacksaw
Neither folk or world-music but always atmospheric and gripping is Hawk and a Hacksaw. After a modicum of adoring music-press coverage a few years ago, the sometimes-duo, sometimes-quartet have continued to push boundaries on the Leaf-label, not least with last year's East-European / Turkish-inspired "Delivrance" album. £12.50 and well worth a watch.
Ikue Mori is indescribable, yet firmly rooted in the avant-garde world of laptops, drum-machines and concrete-musique. Improvisation and uncompromising, Mori appears at Oto for a three-day residency with John Edwards (12th August), Steve Beresford (13th) and the legendary Chris Cutler (14th) all at £10.
David Thomas & Two Pale Boys
Pere Ubu's David Thomas returns to London with his project, Two Pale Boys, for an evening of contemporary improvised avant-folk, the like of which you won't have heard since the last David Thomas album! He uses brass and electronics, drums and guitars to full effect. Often challenging, this is likely to sell through pretty quickly, especially at £8 a ticket - 11th September is the date to remember.
Acid Mothers Temple
Finally, as part of the Japanese New Music Festival 2010, Acid Mothers Temple will play a rare seven-part show that will comprise (deep breath) a solo performance by ATM's bassist, Tsuyama Atsushi, solo fuzz-guitar riffing from Kawabata Makoto and slots by Ruins Alone (solo drumming), Zubi Zuva's acapella ensemble and much more including Acid Temple Mothers in a full psychedelic trip. £10 for a massive set like this is damn well worth it! This all takes place on 14th November.
Check below for a summary of these and other gigs coming up.