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Summer of Rock

Avril Lavigne, the self proclaimed punk princess comes to London, on a tour that spans North America, Europe and bits of the rest of the world, and while you may not enjoy her fashion attempts, her furrowed brow, or even that steely voice - it seems she just can't be adequately ignored. See her at the Apollo Hammersmith, on May 20 or 21. Believe it or not, tickets are still on sale. Bring your darkened eye-makeup...

Still, fiesty Avril is only part of a summer that starts and ends with R-O-C-K. UB40 is coming, catch the beloved Billy Bragg and other assortments of older rockers at Patti Smith's Meltdown, embrace Ben Fold's newfound seriousness, tear down the house with Mastodon, or ease into the vibe with soulful Saul Williams.

It's your summer, and it's your choice of how to rock. LondonNet has all the information you need, just check below...

Top Five Gigs
(21 Apr - 18 May 2005

1) REM

2) James Brown

3) Snoop Dogg
4) Sum 41
5) Aimee Mann


UB40, courtesy of

Birmingham, England 1978. Eight unemployed wannabe musicians form a band. Reflecting both their situation and attitude they call themselves UB40 (the
official code for an unemployment form). Today, they're still playing strong. This tour features the band playing old favourites such as One In Ten, The
Earth Dies Screaming and Rat In Mi Kitchen plus a selection from their
recent albums.

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Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg joins a host of musicians at the Meltdown Festival.  Image: courtesy Billy

To people of a certain generation and outlook, roughly those served by Meltdown, Billy Bragg is a straight-up hero. Back in the 80s he managed to revive protest-folk almost single-handed and had the political commitment to back it up. Songs like A New England, Milkman of Human Kindness and Between the Wars flew the red flag with a wit and beauty not usually associated with the radical left. More recently, Bragg teamed up with Wilco to put music to some of Woody Guthrie’s lyrics, to great acclaim. The New England may have been lost, but Bragg has found himself still hugely respected as a musical innovator and performer.

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Ben Folds
Ben Folds.  Image:  courtesy Ben

Apollo Hammersmith
31 May, 2005
Girded with his new album, Songs For Silverman, and hipster makeover, Ben Folds launches his European tour beginning with London. Still recovering from much critical scrutiny after the big-five-breakup, Folds has tossed off the sometimes gag-inducing banter of Rockin' The Suburbs, replacing it with a thoughful pause. Welcome artistic maturity, Mr. Folds...

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Mastadon rocks at The London Astoria on July 11.

11 July, 2005
The Astoria, London
Storming in on the black horse of "face-melting" metal, Mastodon plagues London Astoria. Known for shows that embody legendary metal, with glimpses of hardcore, and teeming with proud fans, Mastadon is necessary for an education in proper butt-rock.

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Saul Williams
Saul Williams at Scala on May 3rd.  Image:

100 Club, London
3rd July 2005
This electric bard and social incendiary, who couples spoken-word performances with urban beats and instrumentation including violins, piano and guitar, has revitalised the art of protest music and revolutionised hip-hop with his hybrid of erratic speak-sing verse and call and response style. After gigs supporting the Mars Volta and Nine Inch Nails, Williams is embarking on a solo tour of the U.K and Europe. Although many of his protest songs might be specific to America and, particularly, the African-American experience, Williams' poetry is truly transcendent.

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The Bravery
The Bravery.  Image:  Heidi Hartwig

Southampton Guildhall
18 November, 2005
NYC-based 80s revivalists and Cure-worshippers The Bravery have comandeered the eyelinered-synth pop of bands like the Killers and the Faint to create pulsating dance-floor anthems. In league with Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs, the Bravery are flag-bearers of the skinny-tie revolution.

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John Donne Celebration

Credit: Bill Cooper ONDINE - act I,The Royal Ballet - Royal Opera House 02 / 2005. Mixed Programme - Ashton Celebrations; Music: Hans Werner Henze; Choreography: Frederick Ashton; Designs: Lila de Nobili; Lighting: John B

An Asian Tsunami- charity concert featuring John Donne's best-loved works. Alan Rickman, Mark Rylance and other classical actors bring Donne's sermons, letters and poetry to life.

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Top Classical
(21 April - 18 May 2005)

1) Proms 2005

2) John Donne Celebration

3) Classic FM Live Opera Gala
Great Deals for London gig-goers

Featured Hotel:

Royal Garden, KensingtonThe Hempel*****
Craven Hill Gardens
The Hempel, West London's stunning Boutique hotel, is an architectural statement in original design. Simple and minimalist, The Hempel is a new experience in hotel living.

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