Peter Doherty, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

What exactly does the new "r" stand for in the reformed title of Peter Doherty? In formalising his name from the casual "Pete", perhaps what the ex-Libertine desires is "respectability". But on tonight's evidence that new consonant may just as well stand for "recidivism".

Candi Staton, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

'You're looking at the genuine article tonight," Candi Staton politely boasts before her rich, honey-tinged voice caresses the Elvis Presley hit "Suspicious Minds". The 65-year-old country-soul diva refuses to belt out songs, and has no time for the vocal gymnastics of an X Factor automaton or even for the brassiness of, say, her near contemporary Tina Turner. Staton's exquisite voice is a sweeter, more vulnerable, instrument and her act is a tender, more soothing experience. It's little wonder that the dance act The Source used her comforting timbre for the 1991 chill-out tune "You Got the Love". The dance anthem provides a cosy embrace at the end of the night and evokes a euphoric response here, particularly from a gaggle of suited gentlemen of a certain age.

Tricky, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

For many, Tricky will for ever be defined by the genre he helped create. He has always been darker and more threatening than his contemporaries Massive Attack and Portishead, but he can't seem to escape trip-hop, or for that matter Maxinquaye, his defining debut album.

Coming soon: A new musical explosion

The NME Awards shows dominate the diary throughout February, kicking off tonight with the Gaslight Anthem (pictured) at London's Shepherds Bush Empire (0844 477 2000), and Howling Bells at Islington Academy (0844 477 2000) tomorrow.

Chaka Khan, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

She may be a 55-year-old grandmother, but Chaka Khan can still keep everyone warm on a cold night

Joan as Police Woman, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

From backing musician to arresting performer

The Script, Shepherds Bush Empire, London <br>The Fray, Borderline, London

Every time I see this many people, I think we're the support act," says The Script's guitarist Mark Sheehan, staring out at the hardly vast Shepherds Bush Empire. But on their previous visits, they were indeed supporting the dull likes of The Hoosiers and Newton Faulkner. That was before their self-titled debut album hit No 1 here and in their native Ireland.

Jarvis Cocker, Shepherds Bush Empire, London<br>Ladytron, Concorde 2, Brighton

Barry White meets Serge Gainsbourg with a bit of Max Miller thrown in. It can only mean Jarvis Cocker in top musical and storytelling form

Preview: Donavon Frankenreiter, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Surfing songs of peace and freedom

You write the reviews: Big Star, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Back in the early Seventies, Big Star made their mark on the post-Sixties landscape with their brand of melodic, melancholy pop, and were described by the rock critic Jason Ankeny as the "quintessential American power- pop band". Alex Chilton, formerly a teenybopper pin-up with the Box Tops, had teamed up with Chris Bell, an old mate from his home town of Memphis, Tennessee, to join a band called Icewater. He changed the name to Big Star, and in 1972 they made a debut album, # 1 Record, that was acclaimed as a masterpiece. But it was heard by virtually no one on account of abysmal distribution.

Big Star, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Alex Chilton was a teenybopper pin-up via his first band The Box Tops. In 1971 Chilton teamed up with Chris Bell, an old mate from his home town of Memphis, Tennessee, to join a band called Icewater. He changed the name to Big Star, and they made a debut album, No 1 Record, that critics acclaimed as a masterpiece, but which was heard by virtually no one on account of abysmal distribution.

Jay-Z, International Arena, Cardiff<br/>Wu-Tang Clan, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Live performance was never the rapper's strong point, but he has confounded his critics by reinventing himself as a class act

Craig David, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

In his latest attempt to regain kudos, Craig David has shaved off the carefully manicured facial hair that has long been part of his look – another step away from the Bo' Selecta! send-up that has bedevilled him.

Estelle / Leon Jean Marie, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

As soon as you've put Estelle's support act Leon Jean Marie into a pigeonhole, he quickly leaps out of it. As the east-London pretty boy sings the jerky, twisted pop-funk of "Bring It On", you think he's just like Prince. Five minutes later, he and his band are doing a nice impression of Huey Lewis and The News. As he closes with the heavy metal rock-out of "Scratch", I tell myself not to force my preconceptions on artists. Marie has Mark Ronson's seal of approval: that's all you need to know.

Music &amp; Me: Russel Mael of Sparks

The first record I bought was...

“Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” by The Yardbirds in Los Angeles, in the late Sixties.

The first gig I went to was...

The Rolling Stones in Los Angeles when I was 18 years old. I was dressed to emulate them, trying to look like I was in an English band.

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