Going live: Concerts for spring
January is always the quietest month of the year for live music, as most musicians are either touring in the sun Down Under, ensconced in the studio or drying out in rehab. However, towards the end of the month things will pick up with a vengeance. February is looking pretty hot and there's a great selection of fantastic gigs over Valentine's weekend.
March and April is high season for the live-music industry, as it tends to coincide with a very busy release schedule and frantic touring before the summer festival merry-go-round kicks off in late May. And, before we know it, we'll be tucking into the turkey and ham again. Between now and then, there should be more than a few unforgettable nights.
OLYMPIA, DUBLIN (€65.70-€131.25) TONIGHT;
ROYAL THEATRE, CASTLEBAR (€65.70-€131.25) MONDAY; KILLARNEY INEC (€65.70-€131.25) TUESDAY
In 2000, Bryan Adams headlined Slane alongside Moby, Macy Gray and Muse. Now, it appears that he's taking the absolute mickey when it comes to ticket pricing, as a seat at Dublin, Castlebar or Killarney could set you back up to €131.25. Meanwhile, tickets for his night in Derry are a relative snip at up to £65. I know he wrote Summer of 69, but seriously?
THE ACADEMY, DUBLIN (€26.50) WEDNESDAY JANUARY 20; ROISIN DUBH, GALWAY (invite only-Heineken Greenspheres) THURSDAY, JANUARY 21
Wayward singer and one-time boyfriend of Kate Moss postponed these Irish dates last October as he was hospitalised due to "exhaustion". Snigger if you like, but Doherty has since revealed that he had to be put on a life-support machine after collapsing.
THE ACADEMY, DUBLIN (€33.60) FRIDAY, JANUARY 29
You'll nearly be seeing the back of January and, hopefully, the long cold winter, so this is a perfect opportunity for a lot of raving and no behaving. French champagne techno specialist Vitalic was responsible for some cracking dancefloor anthems in the past decade, notably La Rock 01.
TALIB KWELI / MESSIAH J & THE EXPERT
TRIPOD, DUBLIN (22.50), SATURDAY, JANUARY 30
Once a member of the wonderful hip-hop outfit Blackstar alongside Mos Def, Kweli is in town for this rare live appearance. While there are persistent rumours doing the rounds that Blackstar will reform, Kweli and Mos Def are probably both doing better as solo artists. Responsible for the immortal and often-quoted sample, "I'm a victim, brother. I'm a victim of 400 years of conditioning. The man has programmed my conditioning. Even my conditioning has been conditioned!"
THE LOW ANTHEM
WHELAN'S, DUBLIN (€18) MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8
When The Low Anthem played Electric Picnic and supported Ray LaMontagne in the Gaiety last year, they were a bit under the radar, but all that has changed with the album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin riding high in the end-of-year polls.
WHELAN'S, DUBLIN (€16.95) FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12
Last year, Tune-Yards supported the ridiculously over-rated and so hip it hurts Dirty Projectors. Unlike the headlining act that night, Merril Gerbus, aka Tune-Yards, is a genuinely talented singer and has one of the quirkiest yet most pleasing voices in modern American music.
WHELAN'S, DUBLIN 2 (€18.50) SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13
Dream pop duo Beach House release their third album and first for Sub Pop Records at the end of this month. Hot on the heels of the bonkers electronica of Dan Deacon, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, they look set to be the next big thing to come out of Baltimore. They come with glowing references and Paul McCartney-esque thumbs up from MGMT, Grizzly Bear and The Strokes.
VICAR ST, DUBLIN (€23) SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14
The perfect Valentine's Day date. This terrific, lush-sounding Texan quintet release their third album, The Courage of Others, on February 1. Blending elements of 70s heavyweights such as Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with analog synthesisers, they're one of the most underrated American bands of recent years. Check out Mornings Will Be Kind on their Myspace and let them be your Valentine.
O2, DUBLIN (€36.10/€44.20) SATURDAY (SOLD OUT) and SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 20/21
Apparently, the top three Irish internet searches in 2009 were Michael Jackson, swine flu and Lady Gaga. Her reinvention of glam rock in a pop context is stunning and these shows promise to be a visual treat. If you're rich or stupid enough, €328.05 will buy you a photo opportunity with pop's newest diva in chief.
CRAWDADDY, DUBLIN (€15) FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26
Baby Dee has worked alongside Antony Hegarty, Marc Almond and the Sex Pistols, but it's her singular piano-based work and stirring voice that set her aside. Last seen on these shores opening for Bonnie 'Prince' Billy in Vicar St, this transgender street legend really has to be seen to be believed.
THE BUTTON FACTORY, DUBLIN (€17) TUESDAY, MARCH 2
In addition to being a member of the Raconteurs with Jack White, Brendan Benson has released four acclaimed solo albums. He was also responsible for getting the Raconteurs to cover Floating by Jape after hearing a DJ play it in Whelan's.
CHOICE MUSIC PRIZE 2010
VICAR ST, DUBLIN (€27) WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3
Who will follow in the footsteps of Julie Feeney, Neil Hannon, Super Extra Bonus Party and Jape? We're not Nostradamus, but we can guarantee that as many nominees as possible will perform at this year's live event and ceremony. Plus, you'll get to witness somebody's big Oscar moment. May the best girl, guy or band win.
PASSION PIT/ ELLIE GOULDING
THE ACADEMY, DUBLIN (€21) SATURDAY, MARCH 13
The double bill of the year so far, Goulding's fame will probably eclipse the slightly over-rated American party band Passion Pit by the time the Ides of March come round. The Welsh songstress has been the hippest new name to drop since the release of Under the Sheets and her forthcoming album Lights threatens to be a huge hit. Such is the excitement, she's just landed her own headline gig the following night in the Academy (March 14, €17.45). Miss it, miss out.
MUMFORD & SONS
THE ACADEMY, DUBLIN (€18.95) (SOLD OUT) THURSDAY, MARCH 18
People have been asking me if I could get Mumford & Sons tickets for ages. Associates and friends of Noah and the Whale, this London folk rock band went through the roof in 2009 with the release of their debut album Little Lion Man.
O2, DUBLIN (€40-€55) SUNDAY, MARCH 21
Curtis James Jackson III, or just 'Fiddy' to his homeboys, recently co-wrote a book with Robert Greene, an expert on power, strategy and seduction who is also revered by Kanye West and Busta Rhymes. For these two Irish shows, Fiddy returns to what made him famous in the first place. While his latest studio venture, Before I Self Destruct, wasn't a patch on Get Rich or Die Tryin', he still pens great rap songs such as Death to My Enemies about his notoriously numerous feuds.
ROISIN DUBH, GALWAY (€15) THURSDAY, MARCH 25; CYPRUS AVENUE, CORK (€17.45) FRIDAY, MARCH 26; THE ACADEMY, DUBLIN (€17) SATURDAY, MARCH 27
Music writers at Hotpress awarded Wild Beasts' second album, Two Dancers, the album-of-the-year title for 2009. The Cumbrian quartet peddle a highly original blend of art rock and baroque pop and are yet another protege of the hotbed of talent that is Domino Records.
DANIEL JOHNSTON & BEAM ORCHESTRA
VICAR ST, DUBLIN (€30) SATURDAY, APRIL 3
Daniel Johnston had never played in Ireland as recently as 2007, but he has since become a welcome regular fixture. For this very special show, Johnston will be accompanied by the Dutch ensemble the Beam Orchestra. Vicar St will also host a unique one-off exhibition featuring more than 40 of Johnston's drawings, tape and 7-inch covers.
CRAWDADDY, DUBLIN (€14) FRIDAY, APRIL 16; ROISIN DUBH, GALWAY (€8 MEMBERS/€10) SATURDAY, APRIL 17; THE SAVOY, CORK (€12), SUNDAY, APRIL 18
Oxford has punched well above its weight musically with Ride, Radiohead, Young Knives, Foals and Supergrass all putting the city of dreaming spires on the map. Cerebral folk outfit Stornoway are the latest hotly tipped musical force to emerge from the Oxfordshire capital.
O2, DUBLIN (€76.25-€106.25) SATURDAY, APRIL 17, SUNDAY, APRIL 18, TUESDAY, APRIL 20
In 2009, it was Tina. In April, it'll be Whitney Houston's turn to take to the O2 stage. Aretha Franklin's god-daughter is marking the 25th anniversary of the release of her multi-million-selling debut album with the release of a deluxe edition and tour.
DAN LE SAC VS SCROOBIUS PIP
THE PAVILION, CORK, (€16.50) WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21; ROISIN DUBH, GALWAY, (€14/€16) THURSDAY, APRIL 22; TRINITY ROOMS, LIMERICK (€13.33) FRIDAY, APRIL 23; WHELAN'S, DUBLIN, (€17.45) SATURDAY APRIL 24
This madcap duo purvey a dazzling blend of hip-hop-meets-spoken-word-meets-stand-up-comedy and whatever you're having yourself. A new album entitled The Logic of Chance drops in March.