2010: gigs to go


The credit crunch is changing the face of live music as promoters find themselves working harder to sell tickets to punters making hard decisions. Jim Carroll reports

LIKE every sector of the economy, the Irish live music industry had a tough 12 months. Gigs that would have been instant sell-outs in the past required more radio ads, bigger billboard posters and stronger support bills to get a decent audience.

There was a strict divide between gigs that went on sale in 2008 and 2009. For example, Coldplay had no problems selling out shows in the then newly-opened O2 in December 2008. However, it was a far different story in the Phoenix Park nine months later, with tickets still available in the days leading up to the show, even with high profile acts Elbow and White Lies on the bill.

In 2010, promoters will have to re-learn how to sell shows. It’s not as simple as just offering more money than your rival promoter for the act, making the tickets available on the Ticketmaster system and sending out a press release.

Peter Aiken from Aiken Promotions believes promoters will certainly be more cautious in the future. “You’ve got to be careful when it comes to pitching the right acts at the right time. I’d love to bring Bob Dylan back, for instance, and that Christmas album has done a lot of good for him, but you ask yourself if he has been here too much of late. You think about things like that a lot more.”

While Aiken has a number of big acts such as Pink, Whitney Houston, Black Eyed Peas and Rod Stewart already booked for 2010, he believes it will be a quieter summer all round for open-air gigs.

“Everybody who has been out on tour in the past three years has visited Ireland, so there will not be as many acts to come here this summer.

“We did 110,000 tickets with Beyoncé in 2009 and I’d love to do an outdoor show with her, but she’s taking two years off so that won’t happen. Justin Timberlake should be absolutely enormous when he comes back, but that won’t be until 2011.”

Another problem is the lack of breakthrough blockbuster acts. While there’s certainly no shortage of Irish and international acts on the road, it’s a different story when it comes to acts who are going from playing small rooms to headlining arenas and stadiums within a few years.

Changes in the record industry amplify these problems. The lack of investment capital and a focus on short-term revenue means the money-men have little patience for giving bands time to develop. For every Kings Of Leon or Green Day who do complete the big jump, you have bands such as Kaiser Chiefs who never manage to develop or maintain the core fanbase a stadium act requires.

“You need new acts to be breaking through because it brings in a new audience,” acknowledges Aiken. “We did some great shows with Miley Cyrus in December and it was great to see so many kids coming to the shows and probably going to a live gig for the first time. You need that new blood and it helps the business at every level. You can’t survive without it.”

Ones to Watch: Who's on, What's on


Friday 8

Dark Room Notes, Academy 2, Dublin

The Coronas, Academy, Dublin

Christy Moore Declan Sinnott, Vicar St, Dublin

Saturday 9

The Coronas Academy, Dublin

Christy Moore Declan Sinnott, Vicar St, Dublin

Tuesday 12

Henry Rollins, Vicar St, Dublin

Wednesday 13

Wolfmother, Olympia, Dublin

Thursday 14

O Emperor, Róisín Dubh, Galway

Bryan Adams, Olympia, Dublin

Friday 15

Bryan Adams, Olympia, Dublin

Saturday 16

Bryan Adams, Millennium Forum, Derry

Sunday 17

Bryan Adams, Waterfront, Belfast

Monday 18

Bryan Adams, TF Royal Theatre, Castlebar

Tuesday 19

Bryan Adams, INEC, Killarney

Wednesday 20

Peter Doherty, Academy, Dublin

Thursday 21

Peter Doherty, Róisín Dubh, Galway

Friday 22

Kerrang! Tour, Academy, Dublin

Peter Doherty, Mandela Hall, Belfast

Saturday 23

Kerrang! Tour, Academy, Dublin

Tuesday 26

John Spillane, Button Factory, Dublin

Adam Green, Academy, Dublin

Thursday 28

Phil Vasser, Whelan’s, Dublin

Temple Bar Trad, Button Factory, Dublin

Friday 29

Lacuna Coil, Academy, Dublin

Malcolm Middleton, Academy 2, Dublin

Tom Russell, Crawdaddy, Dublin

Vitalic Academy, Dublin

Temple Bar Trad, Button Factory, Dublin

The Christians, Whelan’s, Dublin

Saturday 30

Talib Kweli ,Tripod, Dublin

The Christians, Spring Airbrake, Belfast

Malcolm Middleton, Róisín Dubh, Galway

Temple Bar Trad, Button Factory, Dublin

Sunday 31

Malcolm Middleton, Cyprus Avenue, Cork


Thursday 4

Cobra Starship, Academy, Dublin

Friday 5

Kelly Clarkson, Olympia, Dublin

Monday 8

The Low Anthem, Whelan’s, Dublin

Xavier Rudd, Academy, Dublin

Tuesday 9

Jamie T, Mandela Hall, Belfast

Wednesday 10

Jamie T, Academy, Dublin

Jonatha Brook, Whelan’s, Dublin

Thursday 11

Mariza, NCH, Dublin

Ne-Yo O2, Dublin

Jonatha Brook Cyprus Avenue, Cork

Friday 12

The Aftermath, Academy 2, Dublin

Eddi Reader Button Factory, Dublin

Saturday 13

Beach House, Whelan’s, Dublin

Sunday 14

Midlake, Vicar Street, Dublin

Dickie Rock, Olympia, Dublin

Judy Collins, Spring Airbrake, Belfast

Monday 15

Mika, Olympia, Dublin

Tuesday 16

Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, Waterfront, Belfast

Wednesday 17

Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, Olympia, Dublin

Thursday 18

Alphastates, Whelan’s, Dublin

Friday 19

Yeasayer, Academy, Dublin

Saturday 20

Lady Gaga O2, Dublin

Hayseed Dixie, Tripod, Dublin

Codes, Academy, Dublin

Xiu Xiu, Whelan’s, Dublin

Sunday 21

Lady Gaga, O2, Dublin

Monday 22

Lady Gaga, Odyssey, Belfast

Seasick Steve, Vicar Street, Dublin

Tuesday 23

Air, Olympia, Dublin

Tinchy Stryder, St George’s Market, Belfast

Wednesday 24

Air, Olympia, Dublin

Thursday 25

Tinchy Stryder,

Olympia, Dublin

Friday 26

Finley Quaye, Róisín

Dubh, Galway

Baby Dee, Crane Lane, Cork

Thirty Seconds To Mars, O2, Dublin

God Is An Astronaut, Academy, Dublin

Groove Armada, Olympia, Dublin

Saturday 27

JLS, O2, Dublin

Newtown Faulkner, Radisson, Galway

Baby Dee, Crawdaddy, Dublin

The Saw Doctors, Olympia, Dublin

Hockey Spring Airbrake, Belfast

Newton Faulkner, Radisson, Galway

Sunday 28

Hockey, Academy, Dublin

JLS, Waterfront, Belfast

Chipmunk Spring Airbrake, Belfast

Newton Faulkner, Ulster Hall, Belfast

Machinehead, Olympia, Dublin


Monday 1

JLS, Waterfront, Belfast

Newton Faulkner, Olympia, Dublin

Chipmunk, Academy, Dublin

Girls, Whelan’s Dublin

Machinehead, St George’s Market, Belfast

Tuesday 2

Two Door Cinema Club, Dolan’s, Limerick

Brendan Benson, Button Factory, Dublin

JLS, Waterfront, Belfast

Wednesday 3

Choice Music Prize, Vicar Street, Dublin

Thursday 4

Two Door Cinema Club, Róisín Dubh, Galway

Blaze Bayley, Limelight, Belfast

Friday 5

Christy Moore Declan Sinnott, Odyssey, Belfast

Saturday 6

Ocean Colour Scene, Olympia, Dublin

Fionn Regan, Dolan’s, Limerick

Sunday 7

Fionn Regan, Cyprus Avenue, Cork

Ocean Colour Scene, Mandela Hall, Belfast

Tuesday 9

Dave Matthews Band, O2, Dublin

Tom McRae, Cyprus Avenue, Cork

Wednesday 10

Local Natives, Academy 2, Dublin

Fionn Regan, Nerve Centre, Derry

Tom McRae, Dolan’s, Limerick

Lynyrd Skynyrd, O2, Dublin

Fairport Convention, Whelan’s, Dublin

Thursday 11

Tom McRae, Róisín Dubh, Galway

Fionn Regan, Empire Music Hall, Belfast

Local Natives, Limelight, Belfast

Friday 1

Fionn Regan, Róisín Dubh, Galway

Fairport Convention, Pavilion, Cork

Tom McRae, Academy 2, Dublin

Hadouken, Button Factory, Dublin

Power Of Dreams, Whelan’s, Dublin

Saturday 13

Passion Pit, Olympia, Dublin

Power Of Dreams, Pavilion, Cork

Avett Brothers, Crawdaddy, Dublin

Fionn Regan, Vicar Street, Dublin

Sunday 14

Fionn Regan, Riverbank Theatre, Newbridge

Tuesday 16

X Factor, O2, Dublin

Tom McRae, Spring Airbrake, Belfast

Paloma Faith, Vicar Street, Dublin

Wednesday 17

X Factor, Odyssey, Belfast

Kila, Olympia, Dublin

Thursday 18

Smokie, Olympia, Dublin

Mumford and Sons, Academy, Dublin

Friday 19

Tiesto, O2, Dublin

Jack L, Vicar St, Dublin

Saturday 20

Skindred, Academy, Dublin

Mumford Sons, Spring Airbrake, Belfast

Sunday 21

50 Cent, O2, Dublin

Skindred, Limelight, Belfast

Monday 22

50 Cent, Odyssey, Belfast

Ronan Keating, Waterfront, Belfast

Tuesday 23

Ronan Keating, Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin

Thursday 25

Wild Beasts, Róisín Dubh, Galway

Errors, Academy 2, Dublin

Nine Below Zero/Glen Tilbrook, Pavilion, Cork

Friday 26

Christy Moore Declan Sinnott, INEC, Killarney

Kate Walsh, Whelan’s, Dublin

Wild Beasts, Cyprus Avenue, Cork

Nine Below Zero/Glen Tilbrook,, Spring Airbrake, Belfast

Saturday 27

Wild Beasts, Academy, Dublin

Archie Bronson Outfit, Whelan’s, Dublin

Sunday 28

You Me At Six, Olympia, Dublin

Monday 29

X Factor, Odyssey, Belfast

Tuesday 30

X Factor, O2, Dublin

Wednesday 31

X Factor, O2, Dublin


Thursday 1

X Factor, Odyssey, Belfast

Sunday 4

Chris Rea, Olympia, Dublin

Crookers, Academy, Dublin

Monday 5

Chris Rea, Waterfront, Belfast

Friday 9

Jack L, Vicar Street, Dublin

Saturday 10

Laura Marling, Academy, Dublin

Wednesday 14

Stornoway, Black Box, Belfast

Friday 16

Stornoway, Crawdaddy, Dublin

Saturday 17

Whitney Houston, O2, Dublin

Stornoway, Róisín Dubh, Galway

Sunday 18

Whitney Houston, O2, Dublin

Stornoway, Savoy, Cork

Tuesday 20

Whitney Houston, O2, Dublin

Wednesday 21

Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon, Ben Frost, Valgeir Sigurosson, NHC, Dublin

Friday 23

Joan Armatrading, Vicar St, Dublin

Sunday 25

Efterklang, Whelan’s, Dublin

Tuesday 27

Josh Ritter, Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin

Wednesday 28

Rufus Wainwright, Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin

Thursday 29

Christy Moore Declan Sinnott, Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin

Friday 30

Christy Moore Declan Sinnott, Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin


Westlife (Odyssey Belfast May 2-4; Croke Park Dublin, June 5) Pavement (Tripod Dublin May 4) Kiss (02 Dublin May 7) Randy Newman (Grand Canal Theatre Dublin May 7) Metallica (Odyssey Belfast May 11-12) Rod Stewart (O2 Dublin May 11-12; Odyssey Belfast 15-16) Alicia Keys (O2 Dublin May 21) Rihanna (O2 Dublin May 22) Chic (Tripod Dublin May 26) Snow Patrol (Ward Park Bangor June 5) Pearl Jam (O2 Dublin, June 22) Pink (Kings Hall Belfast June 16; RDS Dublin 19; Thomond Park Limerick 20) Live at the Marquee (Cork, June 17-July 3) Green Day (Marlay Park Dublin, June 23) Deep Purple (Custom House Square Belfast June 28) Leona Lewis (O2 Dublin June 27; Odyssey Belfast July 1 3) Oxegen (Punchestown Co Kildare, July 9-11) Electric Picnic (Stradbally Co Laois, September 3-5) Andrea Bocelli (O2 Dublin, November 22)