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In The Round 2020, Roundhouse London
January 23 - February 1
The gig calendar at the Roundhouse in Camden Town begins with a series of intimate shows called In The Round. These all-seated late-January shows, now into their fifth year, are geared towards voice, song and an up-close-and-personal sense of the performer.
In The Round has hosted greats such as Marianne Faithfull, Ronnie Spector, John Cale, Lambchop, Patti Smith and Shirley Collins, and the 2020 line-up is typically exciting and varied.
Michigan’s John Grant will turn down his spacey synths and electro treatments for his show on 29 January, with a stripped back set that’s sure to foreground his talent for song craft and composition. Gifted with a rich baritone and an ability to be caustic, tender and comic in his writing, the BRIT-nominee will perform songs from high-charting albums Love Is Magic, Grey Tickles and Black Pressure.
UK indie veteran Badly Drawn Boy takes to the stage for his first London show in five years. The Guardian dubbed his debut album The Hour of Bewilderbeast “a lo-fi masterpiece” and further vindication came with a Mercury Prize. In the intervening 20 years Brian Gough wrote the soundtrack for the film adaption of Nick Hornby book About A Boy, the movie Being Flynn and a handful of critically acclaimed albums have made him a big touring attraction, particularly in the States. Gough is a multi-instrumentalist with a natural ear for melody and his 25 January show promises new material as well as back-catalogue favourites.
British soul singer Alice Russell is a world-class session singer and creative force in her own right, with a clutch of arresting blues-soul albums that started with 2005’s My Favourite Letters. She has worked with Massive Attack’s Daddy G, David Byrne, Fatboy Slim and Mr Scruff. Paired with producer Nostalgia 77, Russell turned White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army into a big club hit, and she has supported Lonnie Liston Smith, Femi Kuti and De La Soul on tour. Russell’s latest album is due for release this year and was conceived for her In The Round show on 27 January.
Another UK soul great will perform on 1 February. Beverley Knight will continue to celebrate her 25-year career at her In The Round Show, following the release of live set BK25: Beverley Knight with The Leo Green Orchestra at The Royal Festival Hall in November 2019. Knight has scored several top 10 albums over the years, won three MOBO awards and was awarded an MBE in 2007. Her startling vocal powers have wowed Quincy Jones and Andrea Bocelli and she has sung with Prince, Chaka Khan and Take That. The show will include hit songs Shoulda Woulda Coulda, Come As You Are, covers and new material.
The extraordinary Jorge Drexler will bring his warm, grainy music to the Camden Town stage on 24 January. The Uruguayan guitarist combines bossa nova and jazz with tango and milonga and other styles from his place of birth to create accessible songs with a poppish bent. Originally a doctor, the 55-year-old made the career switch in the mid-90s and has subsequently released 13 albums and won five Grammys. His Oscar-winning song Al Otro Lado Del Rio featured in the 2005 biopic of Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries.
Also at this year’s In The Round are London-based Afro-beat band KOKOROKO on 28 January, Radio 2 Folk Award winner Anaïs Mitchell on 31 January and Mali’s Fatoumata Diawara. The Malian’s fearlessly eclectic work has involved everything from traditional kora and kamel ngoni string playing to work with Herbie Hancock, Bobby Womack and Damon Albarn’s Africa Express. Catch her on 30 January.
When is In the Round 2020?
The festival is from 23 January to 1 February.
Where is In the Round?
The Roundhouse, Camden Town, London.
For further Roundhouse events
Read Travel Begins at 40’s Essential Travel Guide to UK Holidays for the Over 40s.
Preview by Rob Spellman. Cover photo: JORGE DREXLER credit SILVIAPOCH.