The best rock and pop concerts in Ireland in 2020
Albums and gigs to check out from January to June: Green Day, Slipknot, Diana Ross, Damon Albarn, Tenacious D and more
All gigs in Dublin unless otherwise stated. At the time of our deadlines, there was no news of Irish dates for scheduled 2020 world tours by Billie Eilish (embarking on her debut stadium tour), Taylor Swift, and Alanis Morissette (celebrating 25 years of Jagged Little Pill).
(14th) Slipknot, 3Arena. The menacing masked men of metal return to scare the children.
(22nd-26th) Tradfest, various venues in and around Temple Bar. Acts performing include Hothouse Flowers, Afro Celt Sound System, Ralph McTell, Stockton’s Wing, Turin Brakes, Seamus Begley, and The Henry Girls.
(28th-29th) Mabel, Olympia Theatre. UK singer plugs her acclaimed 2019 debut album, High Expectations.
(1st) Isobel Campbell, Liberty Hall Theatre. Highly rated Scottish singer performs tracks off her forthcoming album, There Is No Other.
(2nd) Ozzy Osbourne, 3Arena. Black Sabbath singer celebrates (it says here) “five decades of the Prince of Darkness.” Special guests are Judas Priest. It’s a Brummie blitzkrieg and no mistake.
(6th-9th) Quarter Block Party 2020, various venues, Cork. The sixth iteration of this invigorating arts/music festival features God Alone, The Bonk, Maija Sofia, Lemoncello, and Post Punk Podge. More acts tbc.
(10th) Tenacious D, 3Arena. Actor/comedian Jack Black and the other bloke get back to juvenile basics.
(12th/13th/19th) A Woman’s Heart Orchestrated, NCH, sees the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Eleanor McEvoy (who wrote the perennial title song), Wallis Bird, and Maura O’Connell perform the best-selling album live.
(23th) Kaiser Chiefs, 3Arena. UK pop/rock band return from the no-cred wilderness (as do special guests, Razorlight). Irish emerging act, Somebody’s Child, will open the show.
(29th) Gavin James, 3Arena. Check the date, ladies – yes, it’s a Leap Year gig from the writer of many a tearjerker.
(1st) Sleater-Kinney, Vicar Street. Iconic indie rock band bring their new album, The Centre Won’t Hold, to their avid Irish fanbase.
(2nd) James Arthur, 3Arena. One of X Factor’s biggest success stories, and no stranger to weepy ballads.
(3rd) 1975, 3Arena. A glorious return to Ireland, following 2019’s success at Electric Picnic.
(3rd) An Evening with Whitney Houston, Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Is that a hologram I see before me? Yep, along with troupes of in-the-flesh musicians, singers and dancers.
(4th/5th) The Words and Music of Leonard Cohen, Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Lisa Hannigan, Mick Flannery, Suzanne Savage, Phelim Drew (and others tbc) interpret selected songs of the dear, departed Mr Cohen.
(5th-7th) The Script, 3Arena. Irish band promote latest album, Sunsets and Full Moons.
(6th) Jon Hopkins, Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Inventive UK composer and musical alchemist.
(8th/9th) Lewis Capaldi, 3Arena. Scottish singer-songwriter and purveyor of heartfelt tunes. God, we love him over here, as these sold-out shows confirm.
(10th) Halsey, 3Arena. American electro-pop singer unafraid to mess around with styles. That’s music, by the way, not Harry.
(12th/13th) Ludovico Einaudi, Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Italian pianist/composer for all your ambient music needs.
(13th-15th) Country 2 Country, 3Arena. Featuring US country stars young (Darius Rucker, Luke Combs, Eric Church) and not-so (Tanya Tucker).
(18th) The Who, 3Arena. The vintage UK rock band refuse to f-f-f-fade away.
(28th/29th) Elbow, 3Arena/Waterfront, Belfast. Mature rock/prog-pop for mature people. You have a problem with that?
(29th) Santana, 3Arena. Guitar bliss from a guitar God - just for you.
(2th-4th) David Gray, 3Arena. UK singer-songwriter celebrates the 20th anniversary of his breakthrough album, White Ladder.
(5th) Pussycat Dolls, 3Arena. The US group’s first Irish date in ten years. You can’t wait, can you?
(10th) Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbot, 3Arena. UK singers and songwriters in their own right, as well as providers of some very fine Beautiful South tunes.
(19th) Harry Styles, 3Arena. A rare thing, if not a virtually extinct species – a natural pop star. The show is sold out, as if you didn’t know.
(22nd) Simple Minds, 3Arena. Scottish band deliver 40 years of hits. Has it really been that long?
(29th) Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Dublin Convention Centre. A must for Pink Floyd fans – the pre-Dark Side of the Moon years unveiled by original member, Mason.
(8th-10th) It Takes a Village, Trabolgan, East Cork. Cracking little self-contained (and self-housed) festival. Line-up tbc.
(19th) John Grant, NCH. A rare stripped-back show from a really significant songwriter.
(29th-31st) Saltwater Festival, Westport, Co Mayo. A new addition to the festival calendar takes pales at Westport House. Confirmed so far are Dermot Kennedy, Johnny Marr, Maverick Sabre, and The Stranglers.
(29th-31st) Vantastival, Beaulieu, Co Louth. One of the country’s neatest smaller festivals located in a truly picturesque setting. Line-up tbc.
(31st-1st) Damon Albarn, NCH. As part of the venue’s Perspectives Series, the occasional Blur singer presents his latest music project, The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows, which is inspired by the landscapes of Iceland.
Various dates: Live at Marquee, Cork. Acts include Dido, Yusef/Cat Stevens, Jenny Greene, The National, Sinead O’Connor, Christy Moore, Orbital, Crowded House, and Diana Ross.
(2rd/3rd) Dermot Kennedy, INEC, Killarney, Co Kerry. Is there no stopping the rise of this Irish singer-songwriter? Apparently not. He also plays St Anne’s Park (5th), Malahide Castle (26th), and Irish Independent Park, Cork (27th).
(6th/8th) The National, Botanic Gardens, Belfast. Intense, edgy but eminently tuneful US band – they are friends of Ireland and we of them.
(6th) Lionel Richie, St Anne’s Park. An open-air gig, so there’ll be no dancing on the ceiling at this one, d’y’hear me now?
(7th) Sinead O’Connor, Botanic Gardens, Belfast. She is back with a bang, and we’re good with that.
(7th) Duran Duran, St Anne’s Park. The ever-ready Durannies are back in Ireland – lock up your mothers!
(8th) Camila Cabello, 3Arena. The Cuban-American singer and former US X Factor alumni makes her headline Irish debut.
(13th-14th) Sunstroke, Punchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare. A new (or revisited?) hard rock festival. Features Faith No More, Deftones, Jesus & Mary Chain, Killing Joke, and many more. A strong Irish contingent across the two days includes Fangclub, Vulpynes, Thumper, Bitch Falcon, Paranoid Visions, and The Scratch.
(16th-17th) The Killers, Malahide Castle. Brandon Flowers and friends plug new album, Imploding the Mirage. Special guest is Sam Fender.
(17th) Rammstein, Boucher Road Playing Fields, Belfast. Pyrotechnics ahoy as the German metal band set off those summer crackers.
(18th/20th/21st) Lewis Capaldi, Irish Independent Park, Cork/Malahide Castle/Ormeau Park, Belfast. From indoor shows in March to sold-out open-air summer gigs, the Scottish performer is the gift that keeps on giving.
(18th-19th) Dua Lipa, 3Arena. Hugely successful UK singer delivers tunes from her new album, Future Nostalgia.
(19th-21st) Sea Sessions, Bundoran, Co Donegal. Headline acts so far include Versatile, Sigrid, and Gavin James.
(19th /21st) Gerry Cinnamon, Irish Independent Park, Cork/Malahide Castle. Another Scottish singer-songwriter that Ireland has adopted? Yep.
(20th) The Frames, Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Glen Hansard and old friends celebrate their band’s 30th birthday. Yeah – make us feel old, why don’t you?
(20th) David Gray, Irish Independent Park, Cork. More climbing the White Ladder, this time outdoors and in the sunshine.
(23th) The Script, Irish Independent Park, Cork. More pop/rock/hip-hop hybrids from the immensely successful Dublin band.
(25th) Twenty One Pilots, RDS Arena. Columbus, Ohio pop/rock/hip-hop group force-land in Ireland. Special guests include Blackbear, and Nothing but Thieves.
(26th) Diana Ross, Royal Hospital Kilmainham. As a gig billed “a Diamond Diana Music Celebration”, we’d expect nothing less from Tamla Motown royalty.
(26th-27th) Picture This, Irish Independent Park, Cork/Malahide Castle. The rise of this Irish pop/rock group continues.
(26th-27th) Fever Pitch, Galway Airport. Another new music festival for the West of Ireland. Confirmed headliners are The Kooks, with many more acts to be announced.
(29th) Green Day/Fall Out Boy/Weezer, RDS Arena. Three US punk/pop bands for the price of one – all of your pogo dreams have come true, right?
(30th) Chemical Brothers, Irish Independent Park, Cork. We can feel those Corkonian block-rockin’ beats from here.
(30th) HAIM, Trinity College. US group kick-start the Summer Series at this elegant venue. Also featuring Crowded House (July 1st), Keane (July 2nd), Walking on Cars (July 3rd), The Specials (July 4th).
Ready to go in 2020 but as yet not scheduled for dates are albums by Dua Lipa, The Killers, Rihanna, Drake, Adele, Vince Staples, Childish Gambino, Coldplay, and loads more.
(10th) Selena Gomez: SG2
(24th) Pet Shop Boys: Hotspot
(31st) Kesha: High Road
(31st) Louise Tomlinson: Walls
(31st) Ozzy Osbourne: Ordinary Man
(7th) Green Day: Father of all Motherf**kers
(14th) Tame Impala: The Slow Rush
(14th) Eden: No Future
(21st) Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
(21st) 1975: Notes on a Conditional Form
(6th) Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbot: Manchester Calling
(6th) Cornershop: England is a Garden
(6th) Luke Haines & Peter Buck: Beat Poetry for Survivalists
(27th) The Orb: Abolition of the Royal Familia
(3rd) The Monkees: The Mike and Mickey Show
(10th) Gerry Cinnamon: The Bonny
(1st) Alanis Morissette: Such Pretty Forks in the Road
(15th) Weezer: Van Weezer