The ELL guide to live music this summer

Werkhaus, Brick Lane. Pic: Press

It may still be a few months until live music officially comes back, but with the reopening of bars to punters across London, now is the time to get back out there and enjoy some of London’s best music venues in a completely different way.

Live music is expected to return in a normal capacity by June 21, here’s a rundown of shows we recommend for then, at some of East London Lines’ favourite London venues and hotspots.


New Cross Inn 

Spotlight show: Wife Swap USA (seated only) May 27

The Brighton-based punk band have been on the underground scene in the south coast for a couple of years, ELL predicts that this show will be a handful and a warm welcome back for punters looking to ease back into live shows. 

Amersham Arms

Spotlight show: PreGoblin (socially distanced) June 9

With its huge main room, there should be little issue with missing out on experience at an Amersham Arm socially distanced show. For fans of other cult favourite London bands like Fat White Family, Pregoblin offer a brand of abrasive, wonky noise-pop. Ear defenders are advised. 

Venue MOT unit 18

Spotlight show: Pink Eye Club (socially distanced) June 10 

Venue MOT is a venue that sells itself. Known for being the hub, and one of the only remaining venues south of New Cross Gate, the venue is known for its grungey vibe and off the road setting.

Shows often hosted there are independently run by some of the cities up and coming independent music promoters, so whatever you see, you may be in for an amazing surprise.  


Oslo Hackney

Spotlight show: TV Priest (socially distanced) July 3

In the vein of artists such as IDLES and Fontaines DC, TV Priest have swung into action over lockdown, releasing their exciting debut album ‘Uppers’ on the elusive Sub Pop records.

Oslo Hackney have made it very clear that venue capacity will be 12.5% of normal for this show, so be quick if you want to get a ticket for this limited performance.

Studio 9294

Spotlight show: JOHN (socially distanced with an added early show for demand) June 19

A punk rock duo who both share the same first name, JOHN have profited from the rise in demand for shouty and loud energy in the UK music scene. JOHN are a must-watch, and are guaranteed to blow away a few cobwebs that may have collected over lockdown.

Paper Dress Vintage

Spotlight show: Silvertwin (Socially Distanced) May 19

A vintage clothes storefront, with a modern upstairs venue, Paper Dress Vintage was recently done up in time for Independent Venue Week 2020. Sadly, the venue has been unable to show off its new lick of paint since the pandemic.

Fortunately, the new, London-based, 70’s inspired indie band Silvertwin provides an ample opportunity to check the venue’s upgrade out for yourself.

Tower Hamlets

Werkhaus – Brick Lane

Spotlight show: Kid Kapachi (socially distanced + seated) May 29 

Sitting on the border of Tower Hamlets and Brick Lane, Werkhaus sits opposite one of London’s largest record stores, Rough Trade East. The Hasting’s rock 4-piece have impressed over the last few years, with a Reading and Leeds line-up slot to boast in 2019. If you can get a ticket, this gig isn’t one to be missed. 

The Engine Rooms – Bow

 Spotlight show: The Young Hearts – July 11
Having recently been saved through a venue crowdfunder to keep the venue going through the pandemic, the Engine Rooms looks like it’s past its dark days. The Engine Rooms presents a fresh batch of new, up and coming pop-punk talent. 

The George Tavern

Spotlight show: Hard of Hearing Presents: Talk Show + Supports – June 12

Blending Post-Punk, Darkwave and techno into one hyper-active 4-piece, Talk Show have impressed at every tastemaker festival over the UK, and beyond, over the last few years. The band were also tipped by NME as ones to watch for 2020. 


BoxPark Croydon

Although this venue has no gigs or live music booked in yet, the Boxpark franchise is known for hosting lively DJ sets and showcase shows from some of London’s best acts. We’re sure as the months progress, BoxPark will feel more comfortable booking shows once more!

FairField Halls

More commonly used as a theatre for larger shows, Fairfield Halls sits in the heart of Croydon. The venue is well known for its involvement in the BBC orchestra, and it’s use in recording television and radio.

The legendary American singer/songwriter, Dean Friedman performs there on July 16th.

Soultown Festival 2021 – Croydon Recreation Ground

Bringing in immense summer vibes, Croydon hosts one of London’s largest MoTown and Soul festivals on September 4th. So far, the festival have only announced their headliner, the American R&B/soul group from the 80’s, ‘Shalamar’. The band broke through with their tracks ‘A Night To Remember’ & ‘Second Time Around’

It’s fair to say that the ELL boroughs are packed with talent, and opportunity to see acts old and new over the next few months. Which artists will you decide to see first?

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