It’s a huge year for contemporary music here at Southbank Centre. With a major milestone for Meltdown, and the reopening of the fantastic Queen Elizabeth Hall, we’re gearing up for a gig-tastic 2018.
And it all starts right here, right now, as we launch a packed spring season of contemporary music, featuring performances spanning soul, jazz, electronica, folk, flamenco and indie; from emerging artists and revered veterans alike.
After their incredible ensemble performance blew the roof of Royal Festival Hall in January 2017, we’re delighted to welcome Outlook Orchestra back in 2018, for a very special night. On 2 March, broadcaster and DJ David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan MBE joins forces with the orchestra to celebrate his remarkable 40 years at the forefront of reggae music in the UK.
In April we host some of the finest contemporary composers to help celebrate the reopening of our refurbished brutalist venues Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room. Mica Levi joins forces with celebrated choreographer Holly Blakey in a performance which toys with the structure, sounds and vistas of the Western movie genre. Anna Meredith, whose work traverses contemporary classical, art pop, electronica and experimental rock, joins with Southbank Sinfonia for a live performance of her album Varmints. Former Battles frontman Tyondai Braxton premieres his new orchestral work TELEKINESIS, whilst Hannah Peel returns with Tubular Brass for a performance including her composition Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia.
April also sees Joan As Policewoman take to our Royal Festival Hall stage as she returns with a new album, Damned Devotion. Her most revealing record yet, the album showcases Joan, a thrilling live performer and starkly honest lyricist, at her rawest. Something of a departure from the soulful celebration of her 2014 album The Classic, featuring single Holy City, perhaps? But it all points to a fantastic live performance.
Other live music highlights in April include some of the very best emerging voices across soul, jazz and electronica; Tawiah, Matt Emery, Skeltr and Aadae. We also play host for some fine folk from Sam Lee and fabulous flamenco courtesy of Paco Peña.
In May we welcome American indie band Yo La Tengo to Southbank Centre. Once referred to as ‘the quintessential critics' band, Yo La Tengo have been ploughing their own distinctive music path, since 1984. Hot on the heels of the release of their latest album There’s a Riot Going On (out on Matador Records on 16 March), they play our Royal Festival Hall on 4 May. The group are no strangers to spectacular gig venues, having played a set on a New York rooftop for Pitchfork in 2012.