Grooves: Penny Penny; Bananarama; courtiers; rock ‘n’ roll book club


Penny Penny is at the Jazz Cafe

South African disco king Penny Penny has a remarkable story. The youngest of 68 children, he worked in a gold mine at the age of 19, during which time he won several breakdancing trophies and was a nearly homeless janitor before becoming a multi-platinum popstar, playing in stadiums across Africa. But it wasn’t enough. He later became a board member of the African National Congress and is the star of his own reality TV show. Find out what it’s all about at the Jazz Café on August 6. As always, Jazz Café’s upcoming lineup is thrilling: Colombian reggaeton queen Rosa Pistola, nicknamed the Madonna of Mexico, brings the sounds of the Latin underground to JC’s decks on July 29 with the support of Fiyahdred + Felix Hall ; Bermudian reggae favorite Collie Budz plays two nights (August 2-3) + Solo Banton; Songs by Afro-Brazilian singer-songwriter Luedji Luna address the perspective of migrants, structural racism and the empowerment of black women (August 5); and reggae pioneers Black Uhuru on their 50th anniversary tour (August 8-10). PS: Hands down who spotted Jazz Café friend and regular Omar during his – literally – short-lived stint at EastEnders recently?

80s revivalists might be interested to know that Bananarama will play two nights in Lafayette next week (August 3-4).

• Dublin Castle Rock ‘n Roll Book Club rolls again on August 4 with two Manchester/Salford luminaries full of anecdotes from the Madchester music scene of the past – The Hacienda, Factory Records, Tony Wilson – you see the essential. Stockholm Monsters’ Ged Duffy talks to Alison Beale about his book Factory Fairytales, his tale of those Roaring Twenties and why he can be considered Manchester’s luckiest man in music – he could have led New Order, could have been the bass player in The Cult and much more. Drummer Simon Wolstencroft (The Fall’s drummer for 11 years), talks to Tony Gleed about his book You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide, an account of his life and times – no doubt evoking the time he turned down both The Smiths and The Stone Roses. As always, the RNR Book Club DJs will be playing tunes associated with both books – it sounds mint!

Courteners play Electric Ballroom on July 29, then Bingo Loco lands with its first confetti-filled show at the venue on August 13. Expect rave rounds, conga lines, dancing, lip-syncing battles, 90s/00s tunes, DJs and MC sets.

• Head to Seven Dials on July 30 for a free, one-day festival featuring live music from American Tik Tok star Victor Ray, neo soul Zebede, singer-songwriter and contestant at BGT Josh Barry, Irish folk from harp and banjo champ Lisa Canny, and African fusion from Ganda Boys, plus wreath-making, a skate ramp, alfresco dining and more as the area is pedestrianized for the day with the dial covered in AstroTurf so visitors can sit outside in the heart of the West End. Don’t miss Neal’s Yard Silent Disco, Wellness Stage, Charity Raffle and Ice Cream Tricycle, while there will be a fundraiser for the Young Camden Foundation.

Koko embraces the digital side of art with the launch of a series of exhibitions featuring established and emerging artists whose work combines visual art, music, performance, digital and new media. The first in the series is musician artist Orfeo Tagiuri, who presented five new works at Café Koko this week. The exhibition, Fished in the River of Little Passing Thoughts, is a collection of hand-drawn reflections on everyday joy and life’s lighter moments. It marks the start of Koko’s new digital art and music collaboration with digital art incubator Daata, where digital art, videos, NFTs and more will be displayed on screens in the new space. The Luno. The venue is also hosting a free summer party playing house and disco all night long to mark six months since its reopening (July 30). Register for tickets as soon as possible.

• Australian folk trio Bush Gothic will perform The Slaughtered Lamb on July 30th.

Other concerts to come: Screamin’ Irene + Spirit of the Age + Estranger + Imaginary Deamers, The Dublin Castle (July 31); Liz Stringer, Green Note (August 1); DIIV, Koko; Spear of Destiny, Club 100 (August 3); Koko Electronic: Deviation ft Pa Salieu (August 5); Dan Reed Network + Reckless Love, Electric Ballroom (August 6); Orchestra Baobab, Union Chapel (August 8-9); Sanctified with the London Community Gospel Choir, Jazz Café; The Dirty Strangers + The Juvenile Wrecks + The Electrics, The Dublin Castle; Noah Cyrus, The Forum (August 11); Koko Electronic: JME presents Grime MC FM (August 12).

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