Essential gig guide

A selection of the best live acts on tour this month
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Billy Bragg

On tour 1-17 December

These are busy times for Billy Bragg. Having just published his autobiography/polemic on the meaning of British identity, The Progressive Patriot: A Search For Belonging, he embarks on the second leg of his "Hope Not Hate" tour. The dates are in support of five of the UK's leading anti-Fascist organisations, and a set comprising highlights from the Billy Bragg Volume 2 box set plus some brand new songs is promised.

The Buzzcocks

On tour 1-9 December

A tour and an exhibition of artwork and photography celebrating 30 years of the band. Such is the durability of frontman Pete Shelley's songwriting gift that latest album Flat-Pack Philosophy ranks among the best of the Mancunian band's career. You can almost certainly expect the old John Peel favourite "Ever Fallen In Love" when the encores roll around, but The Buzzcocks' singular (in the seven-inch vinyl sense) talent didn't stop there.

Basement Jaxx

London Wembley Arena, 2 December

Not every dance act can fill Wembley, but then tons of folk out there would rather Jaxx than Fleetwood Mac. Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton will once again be drawing upon guest singers and a "proper" live band. Album Crazy Itch Radio may be patchy, but live, all roads lead to party central.

Gary Numan

On tour 5-9 December

Recent props from Jarvis Cocker and Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor (together with Vince Noir using Numan's "Cars" as his ringtone on The Mighty Boosh) remind us that pop's first synthesizer star is still a force to be reckoned with. Here, Numan performs his 1980 No.1 album Telekon in its entirety for the first time, together with the B-sides of its attendant singles. We're told the big budget stage production will include plenty of white light and dry ice. Hurrah!

Juana Molina

London Scala, 7 December

Molina's latest album, Son, is a treat, the Argentinean comedienne turned electronica artist creating soundscapes part inspired by birdsong and animal noises. Titled "0 Degrees Of Separation", this Scala show sees her headline an intriguing four-act bill alongside pastoral pop man Adem, veteran folkie Vashti Bunyan, and lauded Americana band, Vetiver. The four acts will collaborate on the night, creating new arrangements of their songs. A full "0 Degrees of Separation" UK tour follows in January.

The Aggrolites

On tour 8-20 December

Paying homage to the reggae sunsplash sound of Kingston, Jamaica circa 1967, this Los Angeles-based quintet should cheer those troubled by seasonal affective disorder. Some of these dates see them open for fellow ska merchants Madness, gaining arena-date exposure for an eponymous second album on Hellcat records. Who was it who said that white men can't skank?

Half Man Half Biscuit

London Shepherds Bush Empire, 21 December

Trouble Over Bridgewater and Achtung Bono: just two of the album titles which make these acerbic indie veterans so loveable. Factor in frontman Nigel Blackwell's spurious claim that there is a HMHB tribute band named It Ain't Half Man, Mum, and you realise you are dealing with comic genius. This one-off offers a rare chance to commune with the Birkenhead act. Expect Achtung Bono material and - fingers crossed - "All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit".

Comments