Rootsy Ryan and Lush Lisa: This week’s rock and pop highlights

Ryan Adams and Lisa Hannigan with Aaron Dessner lead a singer-songwriter pack

Ryan Adams

Ulster Hall, Belfast Friday September 8th 8pm £38/£35 (sold out)

Opera House, Cork Saturday September 9th €40/€35 (sold out)

Olympia Theatre, Dublin Monday September 11th & Tuesday September 12th 8pm €40 (sold out)


Throwing barbed comments at The Strokes. Saying rude things about Father John Misty. Restyling Taylor Swift songs. Making brilliant, only ever-so-slightly flawed albums – it's all in a week's work for US roots/rock singer-songwriter Ryan Adams. True to form, the man's latest album, Prisoner, is borderline superb, and by all accounts he is firing on all cylinders on stage. Gigs of the week, we can safely bet.

The Buttertones

Grand Social, Dublin Monday September 11th 8pm €13

Los Angeles surf/garage/proto-punk act The Buttertones don't do things by half – they cite bands such as The Cramps, The Monks and The Sonics as primary influences, and care little for those who forget to bring along earplugs. The band's most recent album, Gravediggin', is all killer, no filler, and has been described by various outlets as "dynamic and melodramatic garage rock" and the "real deal". Needless to say, on stage these guys – making their Irish debut – light up like firecrackers.

Tom Hickox

Empire Music Hall, Belfast Wednesday September 13th 7.30pm £12

Róisín Dubh, Galway Thursday September 14th 8pm €12.50/€10

Scottish-born, London-based songwriter and singer Tom Hickox – the son of the late Richard Hickox CBE, one of the UK’s most acclaimed classical conductors – has been releasing music for almost 10 years, but for many he is still a new name. More’s the pity, as Hickox is one of the best providers of grand, literate pop music that bears all the hallmarks of being influenced by the likes of Scott Walker, John Grant and Richard Hawley.

April Towers

Dolan's Upstairs, Limerick Wednesday September 13th 8pm €5

The Academy 2, Dublin Thursday September 14th 7pm €10

Nottingham duo Alex Noble and Charlie Burley bring a light and experimental electronic influence to their tautly written songs that reminds you what music would sound like if Jon Hopkins were a member of Pet Shop Boys. Starting off as a guitar band five years ago (via a mutual regard for Arctic Monkeys), they changed direction a year later when they began to appreciate synthesisers over guitars. Big tunes await those lucky enough to get to these debut Irish shows.

Lisa Hannigan, with the RTÉ National Orchestra and Aaron Dessner

Opera House, Cork Thursday September 14th 8pm €30

The opening event of Sounds from a Safe Harbour Festival 2017 is a refined one, with Lisa Hannigan – surely Ireland's most sophisticated singer – teaming up with The National's Aaron Dessner, the producer of her most recent album, At Swim, and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by André de Ridder. Songs from that album, as well as tracks from her back catalogue, will be performed by band and orchestra, so you can expect Lisa lush, Lisa luxurious and Lisa lavish wrapped up in one sumptuous evening.

Dylan LeBlanc

Whelan's, Dublin Thursday September 14th 8pm €17

This US singer-songwriter has an enviable work pedigree and a good choice in friends. The latter comes in the form of Emmylou Harris (who he has duetted with) and Bruce Springsteen (who he has supported), while the former focuses on latest album Cautionary Tale, which sees LeBlanc's songs being hammered into shape by Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes) and John Paul White (formerly of The Civil Wars). Fans of Ryan Adams, George Harrison and First Aid Kit are advised to form an orderly queue.

John Smith

Dolan's Upstairs, Limerick Thursday September 14th 8pm €14

Róisín Dubh, Galway Friday September 15th

Whelan’s, Dublin Sunday September 17th

Black Box, Belfast Monday September 18th

Clonakilty International Guitar Festival, Cork Wednesday September 20th & Thursday September 21st

British guitarist and singer-songwriter John Smith is well known to Irish audiences via his associations with the likes of Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan and David Gray, but if you haven't seen him in a solo capacity then now's your chance. Embarking on a brief nationwide tour in support of his new album, Headlong, the man has versatility to burn as well as no small skills as an acoustic guitarist (influenced by Pentangle's John Renbourn, to whom Smith's album is dedicated).