Review: Summer Series boasts incredible scenes

Make the most of the season by attending an open-air concert at London’s historic Somerset House.

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Do you love live music? What about hanging out in an architecturally awesome setting? If the answers are yes, then here’s something you won’t want to miss: Summer Series at Somerset House.

Spanning 11 consecutive nights through 16 July, the programme features a truly diverse range of concerts. Enjoy world-class artists performing everything from indie rock and neo-soul to reggae and synthpop in one of London’s most spectacular spots.

This annual music extravaganza has roots stretching back to 2001 when American alt-country band Lambchop played the first ever gig at Somerset House. Now Summer Series is a juggernaut in the city’s warm-weather concert scene.

Situated between the Strand and the banks of the river Thames, Somerset House itself has a long and storied past. Dating back to 1547, it’s housed royalty and an army as well as the Navy Board, Stamp Office and General Register Office. Somerset House has served as apartments, offices, storage space and even stables. Plus, a treaty was signed there and it hosted the first Royal Academy Exhibition.

So attending Summer Series is a one-a-kind experience because you can get into the groove on the same stone paving where nearly 500 years of venerable history have taken place.

The concerts are held in the main courtyard. Doors open at 19:30 and a DJ is usually on hand to set the mood and kick up the social vibe before the headlining artist appears. Two large bars flank the courtyard and you can grab nibbles and delicious street food (things like pulled lamb shoulder and BBQ mushroom sliders) from pop-up food stalls.

As the sun’s rays fade, lights illuminating the building’s stunning statuary come into sight on the iconic dome and along the roofline. Geometric shapes flicker on the facades while the stage itself is bathed in pink and purple spotlights. All of this creates a fabulously funky club scene complemented by a sound system that will envelop you in audio glory.

On Tuesday night modern jazz master Robert Glasper and his special guests had the crowd humming and swaying during an amazing hip hop-infused R&B performance.

Alt-rock fans will want to catch five-piece Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, known for their rousing anthems and bittersweet ballads, on 15 July. Fans of punk and blues have got great pickings too. Check out Songhoy Blues, a four-piece from northeastern Mali, along with the Submotion Orchestra on 16 July.

So head over to Somerset House and make the most of what’s left in this year’s Summer Series. Trust us, these concerts really blow the roof off on entertainment!

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