A different kind of tattoo...

Music and tattoos have gone hand-in-hand for decades. It's rare to find a rock or metal band these days that doesn't sport any body art. If you're a fan of the medium, or just curious then the Fifth London International Tattoo Convention will be right up your street.

The show, featuring the hottest tattoo artists, great music and incredible art, takes place at Tobacco Dock (50 Porters Walk, Wapping, London E1W 2SF) on 25/26/27 September.

Established in 2005, The London International Tattoo Convention has attracted huge amounts of media coverage worldwide over the last four years and become the Number One Alternative Event Of The Year in London, let alone one of the most crowded and important conventions in Europe.

More than 20,000 thronged Tobacco Dock last year and even more tattoo aficionados are expected to attend what has become THE Number One Alternative Event Of The Year in London, in 2009.

Over 200 of the world´s most famous tattooists will be practising their art in public, including such UK luminaries as London Ink´s Nicole Low, Alex Binnie from Into You and Lal Hardy of New Wave. Numerous international stars will have flown in from all corners of the globe, including, (to name but a few) Filip Leu and Shige who will represent the best of the Japanese style, Boog and Jose Lopez the Chicano style and Robert Hernandez the realistic-cinema-like style; every different style known worldwide will, in fact, be on offer (and on parade!).

There will be a huge amount of complementary entertainment and visual experiences to enjoy, including various exhibitions, artistic events, live rock bands, seductive Burlesque performers from round the world and numerous dark, jaw-dropping, alternative dances and sideshows, let alone a wide range of traditional East End themed bars, restaurants and food stalls.

The massive, spectacular underground vault floor, with extensive sprawling nooks and crannies, hosts a fetish market, a varied and vibrant alternative market place, coffee shops and other chill out zones with bars licensed until 1.00am. The ‘Vince Ray Rock´n´Roll Voodoo Crypt´, hosted by the man himself, will once again have a nightclub vibe created by none other than Torture Garden, who provide numerous dark, alternative sideshows and entertainment.

(In)Famous model Vikki Blows, the star of the 2010 Tattoo Energy Calendar, who combines punk and fashion in a disrespectful and nonconformist style and is considered the ‘enfant terrible´ of the fashion world, will be signing copies of The Tattoo Energy 2010 Calendar all weekend.

The Tara Art Project is a collection of original works made by various tattoo artists all over the world which represent the typical icons and symbols of the Tibetan culture and religion filtered through the sensitivity of each artist and the beauty of tattoo art. The promoter of the initial project was Graham Martin who asked Thou Art and Jondix of LTW to create a series of works on this subject to collect in a book to raise money to help raise the awareness of the general public on the violation of human and cultural rights in Tibet and the progressive destruction of the traditional Tibetan culture. Tibetan art is often mentioned by many artists as being their source of inspiration for many of their pieces and there is great interest in its rediscovery and evolution. The list of prestigious artists who stepped up to the challenge is: Phil Kyle, JFK, Alex Binnie, Claire Reid, Jondix, Javi Castano, Luca Ortis, Mike Young, Oliver Jerrold, Patrick Huttlinger, Horiren, Paul Naylor, Rico, Helen Brown, Steve Whittinberger, Kevin Le Blanc, Jarno Kantanen, Jason D'Leisge, Chris Dettmer, Ami the Bearded Lady, Tomas (Into You), Joe McEndree, Matthew Amey, Suzi Q, George Bardadim, Cody Meyer, Tacho, Jamie Ruth, Becca Marsh, The Boy, Dawnii Sayers and Rinzing. 4moreInfo: www.myspace.com/taraproject

The anthropological / historical Oxford British Tattoo History Museum, hosted by founder/ creator Lionel Tichner, features various machines, flash (tattoo designs) and tools used over the ages and early documents and photographs. Visitors are taken on a journey through the tattoo styles and techniques of different populations, cultures and traditions, searching for the deep religious, psychological and ritual meanings of tattoo art.

The biggest show of all, however, (and we will never get tired of repeating this) will once again be that offered by the visitors themselves, who become the lead characters when they compete in the tattoo contests for different categories, such as Best Tribal, Best Backpiece, Best Black & Grey, Best Colours and Best of Show.

For more info check www.thelondontattooconvention.com from which tickets are available, priced at £20 per day or £50 for a three day pass.

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. In addition to testing the latest music gear, with a particular focus on electronic drums, it's my job to manage the 300+ buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear for them at the best prices. I dabble with guitar, but my main instrument is the drums, which I have been playing for 24 years. I've been a part of the music gear industry for 20 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance music writer, during which time I worked with the world's biggest instrument brands including Roland, Boss, Laney and Natal.