O2 Love Music Column – December 2013

Preview by George Sully | 25 Nov 2013

December wastes no time in getting up and moving; the first day of the month takes us back to 1988 when the Happy Mondays released second album Bummed, and now they’re commemorating its 25th anniversary with a 16-date UK tour. Boasting corkers like Mad Cyril and Lazyitis, it’s a seminal record from the then burgeoning baggy scene, and is well worth revisiting, particularly since they’ve reformed (er, again) with the definitive original lineup. Get your northern psychedelic groove on at the O2 Academy on 1 December.

Almost two decades since they started their Brixton club night of the same name, Basement Jaxx are coming to the O2 Academy on 3 December to help us fight the cold, amping up the dance vibes and dropping tracks from their upcoming, yet-to-be-named seventh studio album. The BRIT award-winning London duo are a household name for most British electronic music fans, responsible for many an ear-worm (Bingo Bango, Where's Your Head At, and Good Luck to name a few) over the years, drawing on dashes of house, garage, pop and R 'n' B. A hot ticket for the winter season.

The first of a hip-hop double-shot this month is North Carolina rapper J Cole (O2 Academy, 7 Dec), touring latest LP Born Sinner which was released this past summer. Headhunted by Jay-Z thanks to his debut mixtape The Come Up in 2007, Cole has enjoyed considerable success with two number one albums and frequent collaborations. Before being signed, he sometimes rapped under the moniker Therapist, but soon changed it out of fears his MySpace URL would look like ‘The Rapist’. Fair point.

Second is Ill Bill, the snarling Jewish/American alternative hip-hop juggernaught, an embodiment of the relentless collaborative energy of the old Brooklyn underground scene. Born William Braunstein, Bill cut his teeth with the Non Phixion crew in the early 90s, and quickly moved on to work with numerous producers and artists (such as Jedi Mind Tricks’ own Vinnie Paz), over the next two decades. Friday 13 December sees him supported by the Mixkings DJs, Sicknature, and DJ Illegal at the O2 ABC. With such hip-hop pedigree on offer that’s definitely a lucky date.

Two of Glasgow’s hottest club nights and O2 ABC mainstays spoil us with a Vaccines Hogmanay DJ set on 31 December at Love Music vs Propaganda, while on the same night the world's biggest burlesque act Club Noir (now holders of the Guiness World Record for biggest burlesque club) comes to the O2 Academy with a New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Do you dance and mosh to some infectious indie choons spun by the London boys, or do you doll up for a bit of kinky glamour with Glasgow’s finest cabaret purveyors? The latter features over 15 acts, as well as a ceilidh and a speakeasy. How do you choose?  [George Sully]