The unparalleled festival experience in the heart of London, Somerset House Summer Series, returns this July with eleven nights of electrifying gigs, this year featuring rising stars such as Greentea Peng and Beabadoobee.
The series, which began in 2003 and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, offers music fans the chance to experience a trailblazing line-up of breakthrough music artists and established acts from across the globe in the intimate and immersive setting of Somerset House’s spectacular courtyard. Over the past 20 years, Summer Series has continually celebrated a wide range of diverse and eclectic genres, providing a platform for some of the most influential artists in today’s industry, whilst supporting the breakthroughs of many others.
This year, superchic French rockers La Femme kick off the 20th anniversary celebrations. The psych-punk band – formed in Biarritz by keyboard player Marlon Magnée and guitarist Sasha Got – shot to acclaim when they booked a US tour despite only having one EP. Tight and accomplished, La Femme open the series with a night of psychedelia, surf rock, electronica, and plenty of sass.
Brit Award nominees for Best International Group, LA-based trio Gabriels join the bill on Friday 7 July with their dazzling vision of spiritual soul-pop. Their single ‘Love and Hate in a Different Time’ scored them a huge fan base; with Elton John calling the work “one of the most seminal records I’ve heard in the past 10 years”. One of the hottest tickets on the live circuit, Gabriels are here to hypnotize with their spine-tingling soul, original jazz, classic R&B, all smoldering with the timeless gospel vocals of singer and choir director Jacob Lusk.
The opening weekend introduces Greentea Peng. Born and raised in South East London, ‘Psychedelic R&B’ protagonist Greentea Peng deals in blissed out dub-flected neo-soul which speaks of renouncing ego and bringing down Babylon. Placed fourth in the 21 BBC’s ‘Sound Of’ list, and with a critically acclaimed 18-track debut album under her belt, this performance is set to send good vibrations throughout the crowd, weaving magic with her relaxed voice.
Best known as one half of multi award-winning synth-pop duo Goldfrapp, vocalist, songwriter and producer Alison Goldfrapp, returns to perform her own new solo material. Building on her forward-thinking yet timeless discography, Alison’s hypnotic new single “So Hard So Hot” from the hotly-anticipated inaugural solo album The Love Invention, out via Skint on 12 May, presents an intoxicating showcase of the electronic and house influences at the heart of her musical DNA, adorned with glossy synths and a blissfully contorting bassline. With her reawakening as a dancefloor priestess, this rhythm-inducing Summer Series performance is guaranteed to get people moving in the courtyard.
New York titans Interpol have rightfully cemented their position as one of the essential indie mainstays of the 21st century. Interpol join the Summer Series line-up as part of the world tour for their latest studio album The Other Side of Make Believe, out on Matador in July, with what is set to be a mesmerizing show, drawing on a raft of hits from their seven albums.
Olivia Dean takes to the stage on Tuesday 11 July. With a beautiful soulful voice, feel-good performances and down-earth-lyrics speaking to matters of the heart, Olivia is a fast-rising UK pop talent, who began touring with Rudimental when she was just out of college. Now an established act in her own right, with a sold-out UK tour in March, as well as support slots with Kojey Radical and Loyle Carner, Summer Series offers the perfect setting to catch one the UK’s brightest young stars on the rise.
Beatrice Laus is Beabadoobee – creator of flawless, shimmering, star-gaze pop which reflects the lives and loves of her huge fanbase. Her output has been entirely self-released and her last three EPs on indie London label Dirty Hit – and has amassed millions of streams. Expect a gorgeous confessional of a show with, her now trademark, sweetly cinematic, starry-eyed pop.
2012 Grammy-award winners of Best World Music Album, Tinariwen are the pioneers of mesmerizing desert-blues grooves. Hailing from the Sahara Desert region of Northern Mali, the group’s guitar-driven style combines traditional Tuareg and African music with Western rock. The band’s rhythms and musical prowess have been leading audiences to undulate with joy for over four decades now, and they will light up the Summer Series stage with their commanding stage presence, shrouded in traditional robes with a fluid line-up of musicians.
Cosmic jazz trio The Comet is Coming (Shabaka, Danalogue and Betamax) will be presenting a special one-off show for the series with special guests and stunning visuals. Channelling the spirit of Sun Ra, The Comet is Coming play with the freshness of the improvised, wielding their interstellar rhythms and mythical imagery to create a mind-blowing collective euphoria. Where their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album, Channel the Spirits set the star-gazing tone and follow up Trust in The Lifeforce of Deep Mystery dialed up the tripped-out avant-jazz further still, the latest release Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam tips firmly into club territory.
The trio are joined in this unmissable performance – their last in London before the band return to near-Earth orbit for a break from touring – by ground-breaking visual artist and filmmaker Daisy Dickinson. Together they’ll present a unique audio-visual collaboration inspired by the band’s latest album. With Shabaka Hutchings returning to the stage following an electrifying 2019 Summer Series performance with Sons of Kemet, this revelatory live experience is set to transport the crowd to new worlds and other dimensions.
Young Fathers, the multi-award winning group, continue to smash expectations and following a sell-out UK tour, we welcome them to Somerset House. The new album Heavy Heavy has received a multitude of great reviews and is a feast of joyous noise released by long-term specialists of the alternative Ninja Tune. Playing the penultimate show in the series, the infectious and melodic cross-genre hits that won them the Mercury Prize in 2014 have gone from strength to strength across four albums, becoming more infectiously optimistic with each release. This performance will be an essential treat and is not to be missed.
Afro-fusion R&B star Gabzy closes the series on Sunday 16 July. The South London-based artist is a leader in the Alté Afrobeats scene, and has a raft of underground, critical and commercial support, selling out his first headline show at Koko in under a minute. The singer worked with US producer Melvitto on the ‘Summers’ EP – a punchy backing to his smooth vocals. After the release of ‘Summers’, Gabzy’s following has flourished: from students, young adults and artists to industry recognition from the likes of Masego, Saweetie, Darkoo, Chip, Tion Wayne to name a few. Gabzy has earned the reputation of selling out every show in record time – tickets for this spectacular closing night to the series are not to be slept on.
Over the last two decades, Somerset House Summer Series has championed the most exciting musical talent, from The Prodigy, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Underworld, The XX, Florence and The Machine, Soul2Soul via Gil Scott Heron to Kelis, Cat Empire, Blondie, Jill Scott, Jorja Smith and more.
The forward-thinking curation of Summer Series line-ups over the last twenty years reflects Somerset House’s commitment to championing and nurturing exciting creative talent across its cultural programme, and its establishment as a revered space for live music experiences. Previous collaborators on exhibitions, installations and innovative events include Björk, PJ Harvey, Neneh Cherry, Gaika, Beatrice Dillon and Anna Meredith.
SOMERSET HOUSE 2023 LINEUP:
THURSDAY 6 JULY: LA FEMME
FRIDAY 7 JULY: GABRIELS
SATURDAY 8 JULY: GREENTEA PENG
SUNDAY 9 JULY: ALISON GOLDFRAPP
MONDAY 10 JULY: INTERPOL
TUESDAY 11 JULY: OLIVIA DEAN
WEDNESDAY 12 JULY: BEABADOOBEE
THURSDAY 13 JULY: TINARIWEN
FRIDAY 14 JULY: THE COMET IS COMING
SATURDAY 15 JULY: YOUNG FATHERS
SUNDAY 16 JULY: GABZY