5th March 2014


Full disclosure: I’m involved in this one – I’ve picked Selectric and Theo to open the day at the Amersham Arms.


And now for something completely different: an untrodden music and arts festival – the first of its kind in the area – set over three venues in Deptford and New Cross. On Saturday 3 May, Crosswires will present a multiform blend of the arts to all comers for free.

Conceived in the tradition of John Peel’s radio sessions: a feast of unpredictable, wondrous and challenging sound, the roots of which stretch from the southern American states, Jamaica, Africa, South London and Eastern Europe. Many of the artists will present contemporary music and performance, while others faithfully preserve their traditions to the present day.

At the Amersham Arms in New Cross live music will abound from 3pm-3am, featuring local and emerging artists, including the hazy horns of part-improv/part-impulse five-piece Selectric; Amy Tru + band, delivering soulful hip-hop flecked with jazz and contemplative lyrics, and Con + Kwake: Kwake a consummate drummer and producer (recently working with MF Doom and Kate Tempest) whose remarkable one-man-band is complemented by Con’s conscious flow and tight delivery.

From slightly further afield we have Tottenham’s Imperial Works, who effortlessly combine London soul, blues, funk and freak-rock with sultry vocals and off-beat rhythms that will lift your spirits and shift your hips. One man behemoth Theo will also be down to show us all how it’s done.

This afternoon session is completely FREE. The evening session – from 8.30pm – is ticketed, but thrifty, with early bird entry on sale for a solitary fiver.


The evening session at the Amersham Arms welcomes Crosswires headliner Resonators – a unique nine-piece dub reggae band who craft their own hypnotic and beautiful take on the genre; and the mighty débruit, who brings his energetic and irresistible wonky beats, married beautifully with samples drawn from the Congo to Tunisia, LA and Kingston, finished with synths that elevate electronica to previously unheard realms. The Busy Twist continue on the electronic afro-beat tip, fashioning cutting edge bass music with traditional African rhythms and vocals. DJs charged with the setting the tempo include Too Many Ts’ Savage Henry, playing old skool hip-hop, dancehall and mash-ups; and Mango Park, spinning his indomitable brand of tropical bass.

From the cutting edge to the traditional; five minutes’ walk away Crosswires offers a very different musical stock. Deptford’s The Albany presents an assorted variety of folk music, originating from places as far-reaching as America’s deep south, with the otherworldly acapella community ‘happening’ Sacred Harp Singing. Book a free workshop, and perform the powerful and elemental spirituals in the venue’s garden. Local paragon Sarah Faith Turton delivers her glistening spoken-word compositions on harp, and we round off the evening with Cajun dance music from The Boat Band – come shake your shimmy! The entire day’s schedule at the Albany is free, too!

Over at the Deptford Lounge, between 11:30-2:30, a showcase of the best in the area’s home-grown musicians, performing in the heart of their community with a relaxed atmosphere setting up for the rest of the day’s journey. Catch some spoken word from Radio 4’s Richard Tyrone Jones, as he takes you on a Misguided Tour of Deptford, part urban myth, part local history, with some definite bare-faced lies thrown into the mix. This will illuminate the neighbourhood in a new hue.