Jake Bugg is a big name. He has headlined the Other and the John Peel stages at Glastonbury, headlined Cambridge Folk Festival (which I missed due to a clash), and in Dublin he has played at the Olympia and Marlay Park. Therefore when it was announced that he would come to Whelans, fans were at the ready online. A first date sold out instantly, so a second one was added. That sold out too, but that was the one I managed to get a ticket for.

Performing as part of the 'Creativity Transforms Lives' programme (along with the likes of GoGo Penguin, Levellers and Beth Orton) at London's Roundhouse, Nadine Shah took the Friday night slot in an intimate, 'in the round' stage setting.

The decision to go and see Lau was made last summer, when I was at Beautiful Days. I had spent a long, rainy day watching bands and trundling through the mud. I walked into the tent where Lau were playing and it was packed. I suddenly felt very tired and when I saw a space in line with the stage where I could sit on metal rather than muddy grass I decided to have a sit down and a picnic. I had my back to the stage and could not see the band, but I could hear Lau's music reverberating through the tent. The crowd was loving it and it sounded brilliant. I knew I should have been out there watching them.

This series of gigs was Sigur Ros’ first in Iceland since their ‘Heima’ tour 5 years ago. Tonight was the first of four consecutive nights at Reykjavik’s Harpa centre, the central point of a four day art and music festival ‘Nordur Og Nidur’ (loosely translated as ‘Go To Hell’).

The live music scene in Dublin is healthy at the best of times, but goes into overdrive the weeks before Christmas. If time and money were no object you could go to top gigs for a fortnight straight. The Kíla Christmas show is something of an institution now and I cannot recall exactly how many I have been. I remember Whelans, Vicar Street and the Meeting House Square. For the last few years they have held it at the Button Factory, a great venue that unfortunately programmes tribute acts a lot of the time.

Ye Vagabonds released their self-titled debut album in October. Carlow-raised Dublin-based brothers Diarmuid and Brían Mac Gloinn launched their album at Marrowbone Books in the Coombe and celebrated with two sell out gigs in the Cobblestone pub. I managed to miss all of that, but did go to the bookshop to get a copy of the album. This then got snowed under in the avalanche of excellent releases this autumn and I did not give the album the attention it warranted.

The Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin's Docklands area opened in 2010. These days it goes by the less attractive name Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. It is mostly used for musicals, which is a shame as it is a great place for live music. On 3 December the venue hosted Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, with support from Devon folk musician – and new Space Shifter – Seth Lakeman.

I arrived at the Bello Bar a little early, just before a queue formed that stretched all around the corner of the Lower Deck – the Portobello pub that houses this cool venue in its basement. I had come to this show because I knew I liked the support act and I was curious about the headliners. The majority of the folks queueing were presumably already aware of the brilliance of Anna & Elizabeth.

I first became aware of Sam Carter via his role in folk- rock (although a better description is probably rock-folk) band False Lights and their 2016 album 'Salvor'. False Lights headlined the final night at this year's Derby Folk Festival and based upon that performance I bought a ticket for tonight's solo show.

Whilst False Lights make have a great time electrifying, (or electrocuting) a number of trad. folk tunes tonight Sam who was named Best Newcomer at the 2010 Radio2 Folk Awards is flying solo playing tracks from his latest album 'How The City Sings'. The album reflects on his 10 year relationship with London, the city he recently left for the folkie-friendly city of Sheffield.

I still have a really fond but increasingly distant memory of the first time I saw tonight's headliners. It was 1987 at Wembley Stadium where they were one of the supports for a four piece band from Dublin who were on a World tour promoting their latest album which had sold in inexplicably huge quantities, but that day The Pretenders blew them off stage. They were a more engaging band, with a better lead performer and had the better songs. So it was surprising that it's taken me 30 years to catch up with The Pretenders live (the other lot I never bothered with again).


When I saw this concert advertized I immediately decided I wanted to go. I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan plus a great admirer of Liam Ó Maonlaí, who is best known as the singer of the Hothouse Flowers, but who is an über-talented and versatile musician. Whatever he is involved in is worth hearing. Liam is a an Irish speaker, which made him the perfect choice to front this show.

Page 1 of 27