Concerts and Exhibitions at St John’s, February & March 2015

3 February 2015


Richard J Birkin, with Iskra Quartet

Support: Grawlix

7.30pm Tickets £5.95 from here

Hear his music

Richard Birkin is a composer from Derbyshire, United Kingdom. His music can take the form of soundtracks, string quartets, intimate folk songs, ambient soundscapes, instrumentals, piano pieces, audio tinkering or post-rock.

Launching the EP/App ‘Songs For Spoken Words’, this event will see Richard J. Birkin perform the EP in its entirety (plus tracks from his forthcoming album) with strings by Iskra Quartet (Johann Johannsson, Radiohead).

The performance of the EP will include the live debut of the Rubato platform, developed by Richard and software developer Tom Armitage. Everyone in the audience with an internet capable phone can view synchronised images and words to view and read along with the instrumental performance.

7 February 2015


Jo Quail

6.45pm Tickets £13.20 advance here

See Adder Stone from Jo’s album Caldera here

 Check out this except from This Path With Grace

On 7th February, cellist and composer Jo Quail will perform a special concert, ‘Nocturnes,’ at St John’s on Bethnal Green. The evening will evoke ‘nocturnal’ themes of dreaming and meditations though a combination of Jo’s own compositions. These are influenced by classical as well as rock and metal influences. Jo is working with Chaos Theory, who will be celebrating 5 years of amazing underground music. They say:

“Following the sold out release of her second album ‘Caldera’, Jo Quail, with special guests, will perform music from her albums ‘From the Sea’ and ‘Caldera’, plus the premiere of her new work ‘This Path With Grace’. The concert will also include pieces by composers as diverse as Schein and Bartok, arranged by Jo for four cellos. The first half will see the quartet joined by violinist Daniel Merrill (Dead Rat Orchestra), percussionist Al Richardson, and poet Mohan Rana to perform pieces from ‘From The Sea.’ During the second half, Jo and Al Richardson will perform works from ‘Caldera’ and will include the premiere of ‘This Path With Grace’ with the Green Army Choir.”

Trained at the ILEA Centre for Young Musicians, Jo continued her musical education at Leeds University, graduating with a degree in Music. She returned from a seven-year hiatus in 2010 by launching her solo career, which includes two successful albums and extensive touring including in Denmark, Australia, and Japan.

12 February 2015

Bitten By A Monkey

joined by Alex Bonney

8pm. Tickets £8 (£4) on the door.

Bitten by a Monkey’s special guest for February’s gig at St John on Bethnal Green will be Alex Bonney.

Alex Bonney is a trumpeter, electronic musician and recording/mix engineer and producer based in London. He is a member of Human, Splice, Leverton Fox, BABs, Golden Age of Steam, Brass Mask, a duo with bassist Dave Kane and a variety of other improvising ensembles.
When not performing Alex works with a variety of artists producing and engineering music for leading UK jazz and improvised music labels including Whirlwind, Babel, Loop, Chaos Collective, Jellymould, Not Applicable and Edition. He also works as a music educator and photographer.

This is the latest in a series of concerts curated by London improvising trio Bitten by a Monkey, who will also be performing (featuring Steve Myers on great bass recorder, Dylan Bates on violin, xaphoon & bongos, and Roland Bates on piano).


26 February – 5 March 2015

Belfry Exhibition: Rhizome’0003 “Liberty”

 Weekdays 12-5pm, Weekend 1-6pm

This is the third in a series of exhibitions (the first two – “The Flickering Synapses of June”, “The Indian Summer” – held at the Camden Image Gallery over the summer and autumn) in which different groups of artists explore a common theme through a variety of art forms, expressions and viewpoints. They say:

‘Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof’ (Leviticus. 25.10)…”Liberty” will encapsulate a vision of our era & its multiple ways of representing freedom. Several UK based artists will respond to this invitation with site-specific art works & in situ installations. A fusion of conceptual art, raw & participatory installations, photographs, sculptures, drawings, texts….”

Further information about this and the previous exhibitions here.

Closing Event: Lab 451London

Thursday 5 March, 6-10pm

The idea of Lab451London is that of a moveable laboratory for international artists to express & emphasize through their own unique art form; a language, whom as a Freedom embodies the way we see & represent the world around us.

The title refers to the dystopian novel from the American writer Ray Bradbury published in 1953 during the McCarthy era & the French New Wave filmmaker François Truffaut who wrote & directed a film adaptation of that novel in 1966.”

10 March 2015

Laura Groves


7.30pm. Tickets £7.50 here

“A sense of place plays greatly into Laura Groves’ music. Back in 2009, she released a self-titled debut album through XL Recordings under the name Blue Roses, a record that was produced over a year in and around her small hometown of Shipley, Yorkshire, with Groves often recording at the houses of friends and families. Her new EP Thinking About Thinking is Groves’ first solo release in nearly four years, recorded in her new home, London. It’s an exquisite effort, comprising four intimate, autumnal pop songs, and there’s an audible sense of dislocation throughout it—you can hear it in Groves’ voice, that feeling of being both in awe of, and slightly overwhelmed and isolated by, the city.
Besides her solo work, Groves is also a member of wistful pop group Nautic, profiled in a FADER GEN F earlier this year, alongside bassist/guitarist Tic and multi-instrumentalist/producer Bullion (one half of Blludd Relations), both of whom collaborated with Groves again on her EP. Nautic are another group whose music seems informed by location—their name is in ode to the British tradition of sea shanty sing-alongs.”

From an interview with Lauta Groves by Selim Bulut. Read the full interview.

Hear her music here.

A review of her concert last August as St Pancras Old Church

Thursday 12 March 2015

Bitten By A Monkey

Joined by Trombone Poetry


8pm. Tickets £8 (£4) on the door.

Paul Taylor, trombonist extraordinaire, will be performing a solo set at 8pm on Thursday 12th March at St John on Bethnal Green. Over the last twenty years, Paul has been much in demand as a sideman, particularly in bands such as Roberto Pla’s Latin Ensemble and Snowboy & The Latin Section. He can also be heard in more retro and unorthodox settings such as the Vintage Tea Dance Orchestra and the Yiddish Twist Orchestra. At home in any and every style of music, Paul is also a consummate improviser, and this forms the central focus of his own Blowpipes Trio and Click Beetle. This evening’s concert is an opportunity to experience Paul Taylor’s solo set, which features his own poetry – a unique combination of dry wit and philosophical curiosity.

This concert is the latest in the series curated by London-based improvising group Bitten by a Monkey, comprising Roland Bates on piano, Dylan Bates on violin, musical saw and xaphoon, and Steve Myers on great bass recorder. They have been performing together since October 1997 and have played at such diverse venues as Hampton Court, the Vortex Jazz Club, the British Museum (when they wrote and performed original music for a production of Aristophanes’ Wasps), the Klinker, Chelsea Physic Garden, the White Bear Theatre, and other venues around the country.


13 – 28 March 2015

Belfry Exhibition:Lumen II – Darkness From Night

Friday 13 March, 6-9pm: Private View

14-15, 20-22, 27 March, 1-5pm

Saturday 28 March, 6-9pm: Closing Event

Lumen are an art collective based in London. The members of the collective are Louise Beer, Raymond Hemson and Melanie King. We explore themes of astronomy and light, and will be exhibiting works in selected churches around the UK. This show aims to inspire a dialogue around how humanity understands our existence. During December 2014, Lumen held our first show as a collective, at the Crypt Gallery, Euston. We have chosen the title Darkness from Night  to draw comparisons between our endeavours to understand the universe, both scientifically and spiritually. Light is an important metaphor within Christian theology, and is often present in religious artworks. For example, representing a divine presence or to portray the process of enlightenment. Light is also used in a scientific context to view and understand our universe in more detail, through telescopes and microscopes. What are we trying to find? This exhibition intends to open a dialogue about our existence and offers the opportunity to appreciate the heavens from our terrestrial standpoint. Each artist will respond to the space in and around St John on Bethnal Green.


21 March 2015


beginning to see the light….

A festival of music, light and creativity


Hackney Secular Singers

The Elementals

Christine-Marie Louw

and more

4-8pm, entrance free

Food stalls, competitions, craft activities. See their Facebook page

22 March 2014


Richard Skelton: Landscape

Support: Laura Cannell and Rob St John

7.30m Tickets £15 (£11) in advance here

Richard Skelton will launch his new Inward Circles album ‘Belated Movements for an Unsanctioned Exhumation August 1st 1984’ at three headline UK shows including 22 March at St John on Bethnal Green as part of Saisonscape, Art Assembly’s bi-monthly series of experimental music inspired by the seasons.

Titled Landscape, these spring shows will reflect on sound born out of, or inspired by, the land, and will see Skelton performing new compositions from his forthcoming album, which will be launched at the first show where advance copies will be available. Over the past decade Skelton has amassed a significant body of work that distills the essence of natural landscapes, from the moors of Lancashire (Landings) to the mountains of Cumbria (Limnology) and the karst terrain of the west coast of Ireland (Verse of Birds). He is at the vanguard of a new movement of artists who place the land at the core of their practice.

Richard Skelton will be supported by:

Laura Cannell – Inspired by the Norfolk/Suffolk Borderlands, Laura Cannell explores the spaces between ancient, improvised, traditional and experimental music performing on overbowed fiddle and double recorders. Haunting drones drift across the flatlands and river valleys breathing new life into the lost and silent landscape.

Rob St. John – A musician and writer from East Lancashire. Working with nylon string guitars, tube organs, analogue synths, tape loops and field recordings, he’s released a string of records rooted in the landscape, both solo and with projects such as Folklore Tapes, Water of Life and Bastard Mountain. His Saisonscape performances will feature live projections using organic materials and microscopic film by David Chatton Barker (Folklore Tapes).

24 March 2015



Support: Sophie Jamieson + Hilang Child

7.30pm Tickets £10 in advance here

From The Guardian: Sivu is a singer-songwriter known by his adopted Finnish name (he’s James Page on his gas bill) and for a tremulous quaver that if it’s not falsetto certainly aims high. He sounds like a one-man Wild Beasts, which admittedly is easy to say of any male solo artist these days with a voice that isn’t as deep as a chopped and screwed Tyler, the Creator. He’s managed by ATC (Nick Cave, Laura Mvula), and he’s about to be signed to a major to work on an album with Alt-J’s producer Charlie Andrew, on the back of a couple of singles that occupy the polite middle ground between An Awesome Wave’s idiosyncratic indie and Hayden Thorpe and Co’s neo-operatic pop, with a dash of Gotye’s textured Australiana. The accompaniment, whoever is responsible for it (our info just mentions Sivu, no other musicians), is ornate but not overblown, going beyond the usual bass and drums,. The lyrics, evincing a preoccupation with the religious, point towards a sensitive individual, not a Liam Gallagher type. Although he is a self-confessed doubter, fully expect to hear a choir of Sivus on several of the tracks.

His debut single, Better Man Than He, released in February, came accompanied by a video – possibly something of a first? – filmed at Bart’s Hospital in London and featuring a 24-year-old musician singing live from within an MRI scanner. It has been viewed half a million times on YouTube, indicating that the barometer hasn’t quite swung away from quirky indie yet. It opens with some askew la-la-la’s (they’re more like lo-lo-lo’s) and grows into a melody that, if it had a temperature, would definitely be warm. “We’ll find faith in the most magical of places,” sings Sivu, an agnostic whose mind sounds pretty open. Follow-up single Bodies further posits Sivu as the new Gotye, of which there have been several this year, albeit not quite as many as new Adeles. His voice suggests a more embraceable Thom Yorke while the producer works the pitter-patter of a beat and the glissando of strings to maximum effect as Sivu gets all Old Testament. There’s another track entitled God Speaks In Tongues while on Family Tree he comes over all forlorn as he realises, “I guess heaven ain’t the safest place”. Think Jake Bugg with a degree in Religious Studies.