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Southbank Centre: Summer Highlights festival (2009)

Laura Marling

Story by Jack Foley

THE Southbank Centre in London is to play host to a number of bands and solo artists for a series of special gigs.

The diverse line up includes special shows and takeovers from Laura Marling (pictured), Marianne Faithful and The National to name a few.

Summer Highlights kicks off Saturday, July 19 with art collective United Underground.

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames.

Summer Highlights – Listings:

United Underground:
Saturday, July 18, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 5pm until late, Tickets £5

Taking over the venues and spaces of Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall building and hosted by Riz MC, British Underground and Ctrl.Alt.Shift, United Underground will be a unique mix of cutting edge street culture, club music, artwork and design set against a backdrop of new-school activism. With live performances from a range of guest artists – spanning day into night.

An evening with Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan + Duke Garwood + Ours (Greg Gnecco acoustic)
Sunday, July 19, Royal Festival Hall

Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age) and Greg Dulli (The Afghan Whigs) come to Southbank Centre for a very special gig at the Royal Festival Hall.

Emmy The Great
Sunday, July 19, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 7.45pm, Tickets £12.50

One of the great new hopes of British music, Emmy The Great, returns to London to perform songs from her debut album, the deft, determined and thoroughly enchanting First Love and from her upcoming Edward EP.

Marianne Faithfull
Monday, July 20, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm, Tickets £25-£20

Singer, songwriter and icon Marianne Faithfull performs a special concert at the Royal Festival Hall to mark the release of her new album, Easy Come, Easy Go (out March 2009). As well as songs from the new album, Marianne Faithfull performs hits from her extensive back catalogue.

Album review

The Heritage Orchestra play the music of The Clangers
Monday, July 20, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Through the inter-planetary powers of Johnny Trunk the Heritage Orchestra has been given unique access to Vernon Elliot’s inimitable Clangers score, and has devised the first ever Clangers musical show. Originally created by the genius team of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin (Bagpuss, Ivor The Engine, Pogle’s Wood), The Clangers still manages to captivate viewers 40 years down the line.

On this occasion expect a mixture of music, narration, sound and sights, that in some way will remind us of a small blue cratered planet covered in metal lids, the Soup Dragon, Glow Buzzers, and a race of highly civilised, small, bright pink, long-nosed mouse-shaped persons which stand upright on big flappy feet.

If that isn’t enough, the orchestra has hooked up with the legendary Russ Garcia (Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr, Duke Ellington) to re-orchestrate and produce his classic 1959 album, Fantastica: Music from Outer Space, in all of its electro-orchestral glory.

Tuesday, July 21, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 7.;30pm, £17.50-£15

Gurrumul is perhaps the most important Aboriginal voice of his generation. Born blind, his music and words are like nothing you have ever heard before. He performs a rare London concert.

Black Box Recorder + Madam
Thursday, July 23, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 7.30pm, Tickets £15

Black Box Recorder first came to national prominence in 1998 when their debut album England Made Me garnered rave reviews, before their second album The Facts of Life became a hit in 2000.

Mary Gauther + Special guest Eliza Gilkyson
Tuesday, July 23, Purcell Room, 7.15pm, £20

Folk singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier performs a special London gig, featuring tracks from her acclaimed back-catalogue. A unique lyricist, Gauthier possesses an extraordinary gift for creating beauty out of some of life’s darkest moments.

Buffy Sainte-Marie + Special guests
Tuesday, July 28, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 7.30pm, Tickets £20-£18

Since being voted Billboard’s ‘Best New Artist’ for her very first album in 1964, Buffy Sainte-Marie has been hugely celebrated as a music icon, and recognised as having virtually invented the role of a Native American international activist pop star. Performing tracks from her latest album, Running for the Drum, she comes to London for a rare performance.

Read our review

The National + Broken Records
Monday, August 10, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm, Tickets £20-£17.50

US band The National creates songs about love and war intertwined with songs about money and office life, covering everything from country pop to indie.

Laura Marling and Friends
Tuesday, August 11, Royal Festival Hall, 7pm, Tickets £15-£12.50

Mercury Music Prize-nominated Laura Marling performs with special guests at the Royal Festival Hall. With comparisons to folk heroes Joni Mitchell and Carole King, Laura Marling performs songs from her much-heralded debut Alas I Cannot Swim and showcases material from her eagerly anticipated next album.

Read our review

Tuesday, September 1, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm, Tickets £27.50-£25

Magazine, one of Britain’s most influential bands, are to reconvene at the Royal Festival Hall this September to continue where they left off in 1980, and more recently, in February this year, when they played a select few dates to huge critical and popular acclaim.

Emiliana Torrini
Sunday, September 13, Royal Festival Hall

After her critically acclaimed 2008 album Me and Armini (Rough Trade), Emiliana Torrini plays a hugely anticipated gig at Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
Tickets: Call the Southbank Centre Ticket Office on 0871 663 2538.