The fifth instalment of the annual Choice Music Prize takes place in Vicar Street, Dublin, on Wednesday with eight of the 10 nominees for best Irish album of 2009 playing the live show.
My money is on Valerie Francis to collect the prize for her fantastic debut, Slow Dynamo, although I should confess that I've never managed to predict the winner before.
Joining the Dubliner on the night will be And So I Watch You From Afar, Codes, Adrian Crowley, Dark Room Notes, Duckworth Lewis Method, former winner Julie Feeney and The Swell Season.
Due to prior live commitments in the US, the remaining nominees -- Bell X1 and Laura Izibor -- are unable to attend. Not that it is likely to affect the actual prize-giving -- it would be very surprising if either, despite the merits of their latest albums, emerged victorious.
Tickets for the event are €27 and Today FM's Paul McLoone will be providing live coverage, kicking off at 8pm.
I have a place on the guestlist for a reader and friend. To win, simply email me with the name of last year's Choice victor and I'll pick a winner at random.
- Think of a national DJ offering a boost to the country's reams of unsigned acts and Gerry 'Operation Transformation' Ryan is not the first name that springs to mind.
But, from today, the veteran broadcaster will introduce a new Friday feature called Undercurrents, which will showcase an unsigned act who hasn't previously been playlisted by 2fm. Information, pictures and details of the artists will also be featured on the Gerry Ryan Show homepage.
"This is exactly what RTÉ 2fm is good at doing," Ryan gushes. "It's what we have been doing since the early days of the Dave Fanning Show and we are continuing to do it."
Er, well actually, Gerry, 2fm have not been doing it. Just ask any number of bands out there who have struggled to get their music played on RTÉ's so-called "youth" station. "With the exception of people like Dan Hegarty, it's next to impossible to get your music played on 2fm," says the manager of one of this year's Choice-nominated bands.
- Dublin is set to be one of eight cities worldwide to be played by MGMT in support of their forthcoming album, Congratulations.
The duo will play the Academy on Saturday, March 20. Tickets (€27.50) went on sale on Wednesday. The short tour kicks off in London's Heaven on March 18 with final shows in Tokyo on April 1 and Sydney on April 6.
Congratulations will be released on April 9 with production courtesy of Pete Kember, ex member of UK psychedelic band Spacemen 3.
- Fresh from his appearance at the Meteor Awards last Friday, the UK's biggest grime star, Dizzee Rascal (below), has been announced for this year's Trinity Ball on April 16.
Rascal is part of an impressive line-up that comprises Mystery Jets, Mr Hudson, Uffie, Digitalism, Example, Jape, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Jesse Rose, Louis La Roche, Japanese Popstars, Fred Falke, Delorentos, The Law, Darwin Deez, Planet Parade, Replicatorrs, Definitely Mightbe, Adored, Police Force, Bitches With Wolves and War Stage.
Tickets for the five-stage ball went on sale this Wednesday from trinityball.ie priced at €78, but you have to be a Trinity student to claim a pair.
- Canadian crooner Michael Bublé is the first act to be announced for the new Aviva Stadium, or Lansdowne Road to you and me. Bublé will play on September 24 with tickets, priced €65.70, on sale today.