London Calling 2014 – Who Should You Go See?

Twice a year, a selection of Britain and America’s most promising talent and unsung heroes all descend on the legendary Paradiso in Amsterdam for the 2-day London Calling Festival. Many fantastic names have graced the Paradiso stages during the festival, with last May’s edition featuring the already massive Royal Blood and funk legends in-the-making, Jungle. Recent editions have also seen the likes of Haim, Peace and Cloud Nothings take to the Amsterdam stage. This year, the festival takes place on 31 October and 1 November with another exciting line-up.

When we wrote about London-quartet The Bohicas following their set at Metropolis Festival in July, we noted that they were a band to watch out for in the coming years with a lot of promise. Since then, things have only gotten better for the Dominic McGuiness-fronted group. This year’s double single of XXX/Swarm showed us their ability to combine upbeat fuzzy rock with witty lyrics and just enough distortion to get the crowd going. Their set at the previous London Calling saw the 250-capacity small room filled to the rafters, having been hailed the best set of the weekend. This summer saw them appear at the likes of Down the Rabbit Hole and Glastonbury, pulling off shows that people couldn’t stop talking about. Don’t be surprised if The Bohicas yet again pull off the best set of London Calling in two weeks’ time, their explosion is imminent.

A few months ago, the future was looking extremely bright for Scottish trio The Amazing Snakeheads. Then, in a sudden twist of fate, both bassist William Coombe and drummer Jordan Hutchinson left the band following personal issues with surviving frontman Dale Barclay. With two full-time replacements already on board, the Snakeheads have been living up to their hype during a busy summer which saw them play tracks from debut album Amphetamine Ballads. The album, which was released in April, is a mixture of absurd indie rock, garage punk and all-round menace in Barclay’s haunting vocals. When they take to the stage on Halloween night, expect Barclay to “take you dancing” during Nighttime, in a set which will most likely be the most intense show of the weekend.

North Dakota quintet Gengahr made a name for themselves by originally sending in songs to BBC 6 Music’s Introducing Uploader, which garnered a lot of positive attention from renowned radio DJ Huw Stephens. Their hypnotic, reverb-flecked indie rock saw them fill out the Introducing Tent at Glastonbury this year with good reason, as they’re simply one of the most exciting young bands around right now. Gengahr may sound like the name of a fighting-ready Pokémon, but their music will leave you far off from fighting. In fact, you’re more likely to completely get lost in this band as they take to the stage on the first day of London Calling.

London Calling headliners don’t come more established than the Britt Daniel-fronted Spoon. Having formed some 20 years ago, they’ve been a constant presence in the indie rock scene, with brand new album They Want My Soul yet again reaffirming and solidifying their legend status. The likes of handclap-ready Do You and the anthemic groove of Rent I Pay set to light up the whole venue. The rest of their set will likely send nostalgic vibes vibrating through the room as they close the festival. If you’re going to watch one band this weekend for sure, make that band Spoon.  You don’t want to miss out on these legends while you have the chance to see them in a venue as beautiful as the Paradiso.

A bit further down the bill, and with far less experience, are British boy-girl duo Coves.  Their very minimal and downbeat electro-pop has made them an everpresent name in the pages of NME, as well as on the radio playlists of stations nationwide. Recent single Beatings proves exactly why, with Beck Wood and John Ridgard collaborating on a mixture of sweet vocals and ear shattering feedback, all underpinned by swaying synth lines and haunting lyrics. Their live show is just as mesmerising, which is exactly why you should watch Coves if you’re up for a haunting hour of synth-pop which will leave you in awe.

If the above names aren’t enough for you, then we also recommend you try and make time for fellow headliners Wild Child and Sebadoh, as well as Fever the Ghost, DMA’s, Nimmo & the Gauntlets and Southern. London Calling tickets are still available from