Now into its ninth year, the Roundhouse Rising Festival festival has become renowned for showcasing new generation talent and some of the best live music London has to offer. This year’s festival sees a huge range of influences and genres merging, giving it a real sensation of being fresh and innovative. A great and exciting event to be a part of if you’re looking to have your own knowledge and view of music challenged in all the right ways.

The festival’s vibe is an eclectic one; bigger names often draw in the crowds but that doesn’t mean that less known ones can’t channel just as high an octane atmosphere in the venue with that size audience. So it’s an event both to listen and reflect and also let go to more well known music. This isn’t the first time that the festival’s acts have been politically relevant or politically charged in their performance (to be expected maybe at a festival celebrating newer and more underground sounds), so it’s fair to suppose that there might be a particularly charged atmosphere, one which could give the audience a real sense of catharsis  and connection with the music and one another.

The acts

Headlining the festival is South London’s experimental artist Gaika. His musical style notoriously defies categorisation, fusing together his own version of grime, dancehall and electronic music. With tracks such as the hypnotic “Spectacular Anthem” and the pulsating Yard”, his show at the Roundhouse sounds set to push things even further. He’ll be appearing on stage with a ten-piece jazz ensemble headed by composer Jason Yarde as part of a multi-sensory and audiovisual set.


He is known for his anti-establishment views and his performance promises to be both personal and political. As part of the show he’ll be unveiling a short film he’s directed and made with young people, envisaging hope for the future, despite the turmoil and political chaos we’re currently living in.

With his gig taking place on the 28th of October – two days before the current proposed Brexit deadline – it seems certain that it’s going to be a remarkable show. There couldn’t be a stronger or more pertinent time for him to unveil his work.

Continuing to push the political messages are female collective, The F Word, a group who promote gender parity across the music industry by curating, promoting and organising female led music events and performances (at venues across London including at the Roundhouse in previous years also), finding new female artists to front them and then providing social and networking events after the gigs. In collaboration with the festival, they’re presenting a night of exciting, all female, new music.

Headlining the night are Liverpudlian trio Stealing Sheep. At turns quirky, but also mellow, their sound is eclectic. Think dreamy melodies and synths of “Show Love” building into the glittery pop and fizzling electro found on “Jokin’ Me”. Also known for their extravagant costumes and choreography, they’re sure to put on a sparkling show. Supporting them is Swedish singer Eva-Lina who creates playful, unabashedly poppy tracks and IORA, who combines folk with electro and has been promoted by the likes of BBC Introducing and is a Resident Artist at the Roundhouse.

Another exciting act that’s leading a charge- this time of the post-punk resurgence- is Sinead O’Brien. The Irish poet and performer brings her beguiling mixture of spoken lyrics against a backdrop of krautrock-esque beats to the Roundhouse. Tracks like “Living With a Fugitive” bring a strangely deadpan mixture of romanticism and surrealism whilst recent single “Taking on Time” is an urgent stream of consciousness. With an established following in literary print circles and support slots for acts such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre and John Cooper Clarke, O’Brien is certainly one to watch.

The night she headlines is presented by Great Escape and includes support from indie band, Weird Milk. They combine 60s style vocal harmonies with definite echoes of the indie giants from the late 90s and early 2000s. Continuing this 90s vibe is the other support R.A.E. a rap artist who brings 90s influences to her work. 

The Green Room Live is hosted by Transmission Roundhouse (the venue’s audio platform). It’s a night of all things jazz, spoken word and rap including both DJ sets and live performances. The festival’s edition will feature the Roundhouse Resident Weyland McKenzie, a 21 year old London local who combines rap with electro and techno style beats. Headlining the night is Ego Ella May who’s combines soul and jazz to beautiful and easy listening effect. 

Another night of blurring genre lines features Anais and Martha Da’RO. Anais has been gaining some serious traction for her combination of soul and pop. You can hear why on the searing track, “No Control” and the haunting, “Nina”. Similarly Belgian artist Martha Da’Ro continues to refuse to sit in only one musical camp. An actress and a singer her sounds melds pop, poetry and hip hop, her lyrics in both French and English. Check out the tracks “Summer Blues” and “Sugarman”.

Roundhouse Rising has long held a reputation for being an innovative festival and this year’s line up promises to bring a new level of artistry and eclecticism to its stages. If you want a night out that’s going to really push your experience of what live music is, then this is the year for you. Oh, and you’ll be able to state that you “saw them first”.

Grab your tickets before they rise up out of your grasp and sell out.

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