In The Round 2019, Roundhouse, London
January 21 - January 31
In recent years, the Roundhouse has done a little mid-winter shapeshifting. The great Victorian hemisphere in Camden Town, now one of London’s most cherished rock venues with its heritage vibe and excellent sound, is transformed to host an intimate, all-seated series of gigs called In The Round.
For 2019, the fourth In The Round, the shows fall between 22 and 31 January, and the billing is typically exciting and eclectic. Three giants of popular music will take the stage this year: Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes, Patti Smith and Shirley Collins.
Gruff Rhys, The Hot Sardines, Ana Moura, Sam Palladio, Jim James, This Is The Kit and Fatima will also play.
The Ronettes have always enjoyed a special affection in the UK, as artists, and in their association with groups such as the Rolling Stones and The Beatles, who they often headlined over and struck close friendships with as early as 1964, their first British visit. The Ronettes’ sound also bore a striking resemblance to Brit beat; anthemic, pounding and rawly teenage.
The Roundhouse show will mark 55 years since that first British tour and is sure to feature their hits (Walking In The Rain, Baby I Love You, Breakin’ Up and Be My Baby) and material from Ronnie’s 50-year solo career.
Equal in stature but very different in style is Patti Smith. These days the Chicago-born singer is as devoted to environmental campaigns such as Pathway To Paris and various human rights causes as she is to poetry and music, the twin forces that bought her fame on the underground scenes of New York in the 1970s.
But these drives come together brilliantly on stage, where Patti can modify original compositions such as Horses or her singular take of Van Morrison’s Gloria with whatever’s on her mind. Live she is never preachy, but a rock’n’roll thrill ride, and fans can expect Smith classics such as Because The Night and Free Money, surprise cover versions, much mischief and fun.
No one sounds like Shirley Collins, who sings in the accent of her speech, a plain tone that stops the listener dead. Her story is worth recapping for those not familiar. Collins was a vital force of the British folk revival of the 60s and 70s, often singing with her sister Dolly. The women were interested in the lost and occult songs of the isles – when bands like Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention were busy fusing folk with rock and psychedelia – and the pair recorded a handful of albums together.
In the very late 50s Collins became involved with ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax and joined him on a “folk song collecting” trip of the States. She later married Fairport’s Ashley Hutchings but her split with him in the late 70s damaged her badly and she was diagnosed with dysphonia after losing the ability to sing and so quit the scene. It took David Tibet of folk-noise group Current 93, a man with a passion for the arcane, to coax her back to the stage, which eventually happened in 2014 at Islington’s Union Chapel. Lodestar, from 2016 and her first album for 38 years, was a triumphant return, typically full of the horror and beauty of England’s deep past, and was nominated for a BBC Radio 2 Folk award. Shirley Collins has an extraordinary presence and her closing show at In The Round should not be missed.
The Round 2019 line-up
22 January – Ana Moura
23 January – Fatima
24 January – Gruff Rhys
25 January – An Evening Of Music And Words With Patti Smith
26 January – The Hot Sardines (see cover photo)
27 January – Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes
28 January – Sam Palladio
29 January – Jim James
30 January – This Is The Kilt
31 January – Shirley Collins
For more information about In the Round 2019
Read Travel Begins at 40’s Essential Travel Guide to UK Holidays for the Over 40s.
Preview by Rob Spellman.