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When: May 11, 2013

What do you usually experience after tapping in your battered Oyster card and hurling yourself between the loudly beeping train doors? Chances are you’re either launched into a writhing, sweaty maelstrom of commuter-flesh or, if you manage to secure a seat, find yourself deposited between a man wrapping his gigantic jaw around a sloppy, stinking steak and potato pasty and a woman absent-mindedly peeling loose bits of skin from her scalp. And then eating them.

When a frenzied pack of screeching schoolkids get on at the next station you try to block out their ear-splitting exuberance by resolutely fixing your gaze upwards; yet only endless adverts for dating agencies await you there, with each airbrushed, lovestruck smile simply serving to remind you of the crushing loneliness of your existence.

But forget this nightmarish vision – it doesn’t have to be this way. For one day of the year public transport isn’t merely a method of getting to a destination – it’s the destination itself. When the inaugural Sound Tracks Festival took place in 2011, the East London line metamorphosed into the city’s most unique gig venue – not only were musicians booked to play shows at various venues along the route, they also performed on the actual trains themselves (the first time TfL has allowed such an event to happen), entertaining ticket-holders as they were ferried between Dalston, Shoreditch and New Cross.

This Saturday Sound Tracks returns to the rails; and thanks to the recent expansion of the East London line it now extends all the way down to Peckham. On the trains there’ll be talented composers vying for your attention rather than disaffected commuters scrambling for seats, with drivers announcing bands rather than delays. In fact, if it wasn’t for the stunning line-ups being curated along the route at great venues like Dalston Old Boys Club and the Bussey Building, you wouldn’t want to get off at all…

Highlights include an appearance in the Bussey Building by fucked-up folk-punk miscreants The Leg, the first band yours truly ever wrote about on The Monitors, describing them as “a marriage between folk tradition and punk snarl; only this is a wedding where the church is on fire, the Vicar is on Buckfast and the bride has fled, screaming, into the woods”, while other must-sees include local folk wizard Theo Bard, acid-brass nutters Off-Key He-Man, the darkly atmospheric singer-songwriter Dooks, the reliably raucous South Londoners the Dulwich Ukelele Club, and Woodpecker Wooliams, who recently collaborated with the composer of our Album of the Week, Ghostpoet (who DJed at the first Sound Tracks event). If those in the know are to be believed, it could be one of the last opportunities you’ll have to see soul sensation Tawiah in such a small (and beautiful) setting as Dalston Roof Park too.

With music and art events taking place at such incredible venues as the Geffrye Museum and the Brunel Museum’s historic shaft, there’s a hell of a lot else to see this Saturday. Better get your Oyster card topped up now…

Previous in Live

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