This time of the year is frequently given over to looking back and catching up with old friends so it's no surprise that most of the more prominent gigs taking place this weekend feature acts who have a fair bit of mileage on the clock.
Although they haven't released any new music for the best part of a decade, the traditional Something Happens' festive gig in Whelan's remains a firm fixture on my gig calendar. Sure, you pretty much know what you're going to get but even so, it's only when you get to hear some of the best songs ever written or recorded by an Irish band played at full pelt that it dawns on you just why this band were and are so thoroughly special.
Last year's gig was an absolute joy, focusing on the 23rd anniversary of the Stuck Together With God's Glue album (oh yes, there was a lot of 'Jesus - was it that long ago?' on the night) and the band only playing songs they'd released or covered up to 1990. Suffice to say that the Crazy Horse-inspired version of Sabrina's Boys (Summertime Love) induced pandemonium among certain sections on the balcony and yes, your honour, I was definitely among the guilty parties. Roll on Whelan's tonight.
Alas, my powers of bi-location having deserted me in recent years means that I won't be able to make it to Vicar Street this evening for Aslan's annual bash. Things have been pretty fraught in the 'Lan camp over the past couple of years with singer Christy Dignam's battle against cancer seriously restricting their activities. Only a couple of months ago Christy gave an interview in which he didn't sound too optimistic about the future so we can only hope that tonight won't be the last time we see this great band on their home turf.
If any outfit can claim two genuine, stone-cold Irish rock anthems then Aslan are well in the frame with This Is and Crazy World, songs which dig deep into the soul, probably because that's where they came from in the first place.
Another act who pretty much defined the sound and heart of Irish rock were the Radiators From Space, now operating under the name The Trouble Pilgrims since the death of Philip Chevron from cancer last year. Now fronted by Pete Holidai and with original Rads' singer Steve Averill on board on vocals and bizarre keyboard noises, the band still perform Radiators' classics along with material from Pete's solo albums and vintage r'n'b covers and you can catch them at their end-of-year recital in the Workman's Club tomorrow night. Beery requests from the back for Mr Averill to perform Love Detective are to be expected.