Pay a small price to see the Next Big Thing 2011 - initial line-up now announced
For the second year running, 2011's coveted Next Big Thing festival, in association with retailer HMV, keeps the remit very simple - "The best new bands, eight UK venues (OK, mostly London), 3 bands a night, £10 a gig (or thereabouts)". Done.
From 4th to 13th February, around 50 artists will descend on London venues Heaven, the Borderline, the Garage (and the upstairs bit), Jazz Cafe and the Barfly, as well as Edinburgh's HMV Picture House and Birmingham's HMV Institute, offering you the chance to witness what could be the name that everyone will be chattering about in the coming months and, ultimately, years.
The Birmingham and Edinburgh acts have yet to be announced, but the London gigs have been provisionally confirmed (with more to be added) and, over the course of ten days, there are some true highlights.
The first venue 'up for it' is The Garage and Upstairs at the Garage with an array of bands-on-the-cusp and record-label nights. Blow Up Records kick off with appearances on the 4th from alt-latin act The Bongolian, atmospheric fuzzy electro-heads Baltic Fleet and Silvery.
The gigs then come thick and fast at this venue with Fenech-Soler on the 5th, a Memphis Industries Night on the 7th starring the excellent Dutch Uncles plus more and an excellent-looking Moshi Moshi Records Night on the 10th that will feature the not-so-dulcet tones of Trophy Wife.
Other key highlights include Transgressive Records Night (5th) and Clare Maguire (11th) appearing the Borderline, an evening of electro-retro-house movers and shakers at Heaven's Deconstruction Records Night (9th) with Retro/Grade, Diagram of the Heart and the man behind Deconstruction Records, Mike Pickering.
You also have the Jazz Cafe appearances of Josh Weller, Rose Elinor Dougall and Mike Marlin (all on the same night - 9th) and acclaimed Brit-rap hopeful Wretch 32 (11th) and the Camden Barfly nights of Futures (10th) and the lovely Caitlin Rose (11th).
All nights will feature support (most are yet to be confirmed) and the full list of gigs is below - keep 'em peeled for more additions plus those soon-to-be-announced Brum and Edinburgh events. I'll remind you of the price again - that's £10 to you sir/madam (plus usual fees).