Essential gig guide

Some of the best live acts on tour in November
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The Independent Culture

Arab Strap

On tour 1-8 November; Manchester Academy 29 November

Not so much Goodbye, Mr Chips as adios Scotland's best-loved miserabilists, these dates see Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton ink a full stop on all things Strap. There's was a somewhat edgy writing partnership, but as their upcoming compilation Ten Years Of Tears underlines, dysfunction was always thought-provokingly rendered in Aidan's lyrics, and few play a haunted-sounding guitar arpeggio as well as Malcolm. So long, and thanks for all the angst.

Midlake

On tour 1-9 November

Midlake's enchanting album The Trials Of Van Occupanther looks set to dent Best Of 2006 lists. Support comes from Belle Union label-mate, Fionn Regan, whose literate folk should provide the perfect aperitif.

The Hedrons

On tour 26 October-16 November

William Hill doesn't offer odds on The Next Big Thing, but Glasgow's The Hedrons (pictured) are a safe punt for gig goers fond of Patti Smith or The Runaways. Fronted by young Joan Jett look-alike Tippi, the youthful all-girl quartet only formed last year, yet gung-ho tunes such as "Heatseeker" earmark them as stars-in-waiting. Online savvy, the group recently became the first British band to play a virtual gig.

Sufjan Stevens

London Barbican, 3 November

Not content with trying to make an album themed around every US state (two down; 48 to go), this prodigiously gifted songwriter has somehow found time to record Songs For Christmas, a three-CD celebration released on 21 November. The point to note is that Stevens' eclectic, brilliantly orchestrated compositions and multi-faceted lyrics hold heart and brain in perfect balance. With he and his band sometimes performing in cheerleader outfits or while wearing giant, multi-coloured wings, he clearly likes a giggle too.

Antony & The Johnsons

London Barbican, 4 and 5 November

What do Bryan Ferry, Laurie Anderson and Joan As Police Woman have in common? All are artists with whom Antony Hegarty has collaborated since winning The Mercury Prize in 2005. Billed as part concert, part art installation, these Barbican shows should be something else again, Hegarty and his band performing while film-maker Charles Atlas creates live video portraits of a number of New York models. We're told the whole shebang aims to explore "issues of innocence, gender metamorphosis, and transcendence." Crikey.

Jarvis Cocker

London Koko, 15 November

Mr Cocker's wit, bite and insight have long made him Britpop's most agreeably subversive son. He has raised the bar still further, though, with his foul-mouthed new single "(C---s Are Still) Running The World ", as featured in Alfonso Cuarón's film, Children Of Men. By the time this gig in support of Cocker's self-titled debut album for Rough Trade rolls around, the words to his caustic protest song should be common knowledge.

Scritti Politti

On tour 16-23 November

Not sure whether to blame the stage fright Green Gartside sometimes experiences, or the technical demands of reproducing his softly sung, delicately idiosyncratic music, but a Scritti tour is still a comparatively rare thing. Currently backed by a band he stumbled across at his Hackney local, Gartside will here be airing tunes from his fine, Mercury-nominated album White Bread, Black Beer. Brian Wilson, no less, is reportedly a fan, hence the group will play support to him in the US ahead of these dates.

Brian Jonestown Massacre

Northumbria University 24 November; London Astoria 26 November

Anyone au fait with Dig!, the lauded film portraying the intense rivalry between the Massacre and fellow psychedelic rockers The Dandy Warhols will be keen to catch Anton Newcombe's band live. Still, given that the volatile, drug-addled singer was jailed in 2002 for kicking an audience member in the head, avoiding the front row might be wise. Rumours of a new album from the self-proclaimed revolutionaries abound, and their back-catalogue houses gems aplenty. Personally, I'm hoping to hear "Never Become Emotionally Attached To A Man, Woman, Beast Or Child."

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