Expect music-makers representing old-world tango, straightahead jazz, fusion-funk, math-rock, R&B, folk-pop, gypsy jazz, pop-rock, electronica and other genres unleashing a maelstrom of sublime sounds varying from the brutal to the beautiful, the seductive to the cerebral, extreme frequencies to feather-light wisps in this year's Mosaic Music Festival.
Five acts you can't miss
Over 20 years, the Manchester alt-rockers have evolved from college boys dabbling in ‘chill funk’ to specialising in cinematic, orchestral art-rock. Sidestepping the latest indie trends, they continue to charm with latest disc Build a Rocket Boys!, a folksy, nostalgic ode to childhood and finding yourself. More recently, they’ve been asked to compose the BBC’s soundtrack to the London Olympics after 6 Music presenter Stuart Maconie described their performance at last year’s Glastonbury Festival as ‘career-defining’ – proof, if any were needed, of their stadium-worthy status. Let’s hope the Esplanade can contain their soul-tingling stage presence as they bring down the curtain on this year’s Mosaic. Esplanade Concert Hall, 18 Mar.
Further listening: www.myspace.com/elbowmusic
John Butler Trio
Australian busker-turned-roots superstar John Butler, along with current jamming buds Nicky Bomba and Byron Luiters, form undoubtedly one of the world’s best modern blues-rock acts. As part of the Trio, Butler’s guitar wizardry has powered five much-acclaimed albums – the last three premiered at number one on Australia’s ARIA charts. Expect an electrifying session of foot-tapping, funk-driven roots rock. Esplanade Concert Hall, 15 Mar.
Further listening: www.myspace.com/johnbutlertrio
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are synonymous with the late ’70s/ early ’80s new wave movement that included Talking Heads and Joy Division. Although core members Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey originally planned to play just one live gig, the band has now been performing for 33 years, with the ‘classic’ line-up re-forming in 2005 following McCluskey’s temporary departure in 1996. History of Modern (2010), their first album in 14 years, marries their punchy synth energy with an electro-pop lilt. Be sure to catch comeback single ‘If You Want It’ alongside nape-tickling early-career standouts such as ‘Enola Gay’ and ‘Joan of Arc’. Esplanade Theatre, 10 Mar.
Further listening: www.myspace.com/officialomdmyspace
Armed with violins, keyboards, a melody horn and a glockenspiel, Welsh seven-piece Los Campesinos! bust out boisterous tunes with cheeky titles like ‘2007, The Year Punk Broke (My Heart)’. Despite the fizzing, tinkling riffs and a ‘twee-pop’ pigeonholing that’s clung to bands such as Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura, the lyrics often deal with love and heartbreak – especially on latest album Hello Sadness. Theirs, however, is a sugar-sweet sadness. Esplanade Theatre, 17 Mar.
Further listening: www.myspace.com/loscampesinos
Walking a line between post- and math-rock, this Japanese quartet avoids the wall-of-noise path so often taken by peers like Explosions in the Sky and Mono. Instead, crisp, melodic guitar lines and drummer Kashikura Takashi’s sharp beats have drawn a cult following both in Japan and across the rest of Asia. Their frenzied live performances are mesmerising. Esplanade Theatre Studio, 16 Mar.
Further listening: www.myspace.com/toemusic