Review: Altın Gün at the Troxy – an unmissable date that hit all the required spots deliciously

This week, Altın Gün packed out East London’s art déco gem Troxy for an exhilarating evening of infectious music and vibrant energy as 3,000 fans danced with wild abandon to the sounds of these Amsterdam-based masters of Anatolian pysch-folk.

Thursday’s concert was likely the last London performance with front lady Merve Daşdemir. Her vocal talents beautifully compliment those of Erdinç Ecevit Yıldız, who also plays bağlama and keys for the band.

Fans first heard the news of Merve’s departure when the band posted about it on social media two months ago: “After almost eight years with Altın Gün, Merve has decided to start a new musical chapter and quit the band.” Merve will depart at the end of their current tour with no further details, leaving us to speculate as to what led to the decision and how Altın Gün can possibly fill the void when their inimitable lead singer leaves them this summer.

It’s not multi-ethnic Altın Gün’s first cast change, of course. Thijs Elzinga previously replaced Ben Rider on guitar, while Chris Bruining took over from Gino Groenveld on percussion. Yet Merve’s distinctive vocals have come to define the sound of Altın Gün and it’s difficult to imagine the band without their red-headed starlet.

The imminent split seems to have impacted the band’s stage presence too, as anyone who went to Altın Gün’s previous London concerts, including XOYO in 2019, EartH in 2022, and Electric Brixton last year where Merve bounced around the stage exuberantly with her tambourine, could testify. The start of their Troxy show initially seemed more muted, lacking the cohesive spirit and audience engagement that was so palpable in their earlier gigs.

And yet, as the evening wore on, the distance with the audience became less as their funked up sounds reverberated around this stunning venue, and the Altin Gün that we have come to know and love rocked a diverse and eclectic crowd of all ages.

The sextet opened their London show with new release Vallahi Yok, a gorgeous original composition that blends the band’s retro-modern sound perfectly. They followed this by their groovy cover of Kolbastı, a popular folk song from the Black Sea region, before delivering their fabulous interpretation of Zülfü Livaneli’s crowd-pleasing Leylim Ley about love and exile.

Altın Gün lead singers Erdinç Ecevit Yıldız (left) and Merve Dasdemir, Troxy, London, 11 April 2024. Photo © Sonya Karafistan


Over the next 75 minutes Altın Gün coursed through an array of songs plucked from their five studio albums, including Goca Dünya and Aşk, setting the crowd loose as they built up to a storming finale that concluded with Turkish psychedelic funk classic Yali Yali, which Merve delivered in the true spirit of the Queen of psychedelic folk, Neşe Karaböcek.

For lovers of Altın Gün, playing their biggest ever gig in London, this was an unmissable date that hit all the required spots deliciously.

There was an added bonus for those of us of Turkish heritage, witnessing this mainly non-Turkish audience get fully immersed into music where they don’t understand the lyrics.

It is a testament to the brilliance of Altın Gün and its reimagined sounds of Turkish 70s and 80s music that their appeal – as well as interest in Turkish psychedelic rock, pop and folk – has grown so massively not just here in the UK, but worldwide.