The choice is yours: This week’s best rock and pop gigs

The 1975, The Script, Lewis Capaldi, Jape, John Hopkins, Lyra and Choice Music Prize

Saturday February 29

The Workman's Club, Dublin

Originally a trio, Dublin hip-hop group Hare Squead now consists of Tony Konstone and Lilo Blues. Together since 2013, they were a lightning bolt through the live music scene and it looked like they were set to take over the world. However, they left their label in 2017 – and original member Jessy Rose then left to work on his own music. With new tunes and a new vibe, this is a chance for fans to fall in love with Hare Squead all over again. LB

Anseo, Dublin

This is a cheeky but honourable notion in such straitened times – an event to raise funds for the recording of the third compilation album that raises awareness of the amount of indie music talent in Ireland. Bands performing include Problem Patterns, an egalitarian outfit that apply their collective songwriting to, basically, give out about things that annoy them; Slouch, an alt-rock trio whose sound is self-described as "gorillas caged in a polystyrene prison cell"; and the debut appearance of Golden Cleric, a side project from Icebear's Eilis Mahon and Shrug Life's Danny Carroll. TCL


Sunday March 1

Cyprus Avenue, Cork. (Also Tuesday 3, Róisín Dubh, Galway; Thursday 5, The Academy, Dublin; Friday 6, Dolan's Warehouse, Limerick)

Cork singer-songwriter Lyra is a name you should keep tabs on this year. With a powerhouse voice and a wicked sense of humour, she has a radiant stage presence. Influenced by Kate Bush, Lykke Li and Bat for Lashes, she's tapping into an electropop-witch aura that bodes very well for her indeed. With one EP and a string of singles to her name, she's currently honing her sound for her debut album. LB

Tuesday March 3

THE 1975
3Arena, Dublin

Three albums in just over four years is as good a track record as any arena-filling pop/rock band can have these days. Despite the lengthy titles (2016's I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, 2018's A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, and the less verbose forthcoming Notes on a Conditional Form), the band pack neat'n'nifty pop tunes into them. According to advance reports, however, and in accordance with the group's preference for lengthy track listings, the new album will feature more than 20 songs (as well as a music style closer to The Streets and Burial than their heretofore uber-smart pop/rock). How many new tunes the band will play remains to be seen, but we can't imagine the partisan audience will be bothered one way or the other. TCL

SSE Arena, Belfast; also Thursday 5-Saturday 7, 3Arena, Dublin

Dublin trio The Script have come a long way in a relatively short space of time. In just over 10 years, Danny O'Donoghue, Mark Sheehan and Glen Power have gone from little-known background writers/producers (O'Donoghue and Sheehan, specifically, for the likes of Britney Spears and Boyz II Men) to selling more than 20 million copies of their albums. The band's most recent record, the emotive, often poignant Sunsets & Full Moons, nabbed the number one spot here and in the UK, which – along with the success of their previous five – is why the Belfast and Dublin shows (for March 6 and 7) are sold out. TCL

Olympia Theatre, Dublin

Curated by Fontaines DC and with all proceeds going to Focus Ireland, this gig sold out within hours of the line-up being announced. As well as a short set by Fontaines DC, their special guests are a riotous crew: The Murder Capital, Kneecap, Melts, Mary Wallopers, Altered Hours, Stefan Murphy and Just Mustard. The possibility of more high-profile music acts being added under the umbrella title of "surprise guest" should not be discounted. Your tidy host with the very most is Today FM presenter Paul McLoone. TCL

Wednesday March 4

NCH, Dublin

An album released last year that could have easily found its way onto the RTÉ Choice Music Prize Album of 2019 shortlist was Jape's Sentinel, a lush, mood-enhancing listen that has gently pushed its creator, Richie Egan, into a completely different area. This show, however, is something more than just hearing tracks from the album. In conjunction with the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, Egan/Jape will live-score eight videos directed by a batch of established and emerging film-makers. A refreshing audiovisual experience and something of a must-see/hear. TCL

Bord Gáais Energy Theatre, Dublin ; also Thursday 5, same venue

Following the acclaimed performance at last year's All Together Now festival, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will once again bring the songs of Leonard Cohen to life with a show that features guests such as Lisa Hannigan, Mick Flannery, Phelim Drew and Suzanne Savage. There is no small vocal talent here, so expect versions of many of Cohen's best-known songs (including So Long Marianne, Sisters of Mercy, Bird on a Wire, Who by Fire, Suzanne – hhmm, we wonder who will be singing that one?) and a batch of his later, often quite superb work. In two word? Seriously classy. TCL

Thursday March 5

Vicar Street, Dublin

Another year, another Choice Music Prize. This year marks Choice's 15th birthday and, while there was the all-too-predictable (and pointless) gnashing of teeth when the shortlist of 10 albums was announced in early January, the event remains as relevant to the Irish music industry as it has ever been. So pull out the grinding teeth, sit back and wait for the result to be announced as you see performances by the likes of Fontaines DC, Junior Brother, Jafaris, Daithí, Sorcha Richardson, Mick Flannery and Maija Sofia, all of whom will be playing a few songs from their respective albums. TCL

Whelan's, Dublin

There are qualities to Dublin singer Gemma Dunleavy that not many people know about. This year, however, is when that will surely change. She eased her way into public awareness about six years ago with the band UNKNWN, and late last year supported fellow Dubliner Kojaque, delivering performances that broadened her reach to an ever-expanding audience. Tunes such as Better 4 U (her debut single) and I Was Never Young but I'm Not Yet Old have also made deep impressions, as have her collaborations with a diverse range of artists from UK music act Swing Ting (Til the Morning, Addiction) and former Cocteau Twins member Simon Raymonde on his Lost Horizons project (Give your Heart Away, Asphyxia). TCL

Friday March 6

Bord Gáais Energy Theatre, Dublin

By now a regular visitor to Ireland (and he's back in a few months for summer shows), Jon Hopkins has always managed exceptionally well to blend bouncing rhythms with melodic solace, and on his latest tour, Polarity, he's binding the two together in the hope, he says, of creating "some profound moments of stillness". As well as on his stacks of synths and keyboards, Hopkins will be performing some of his music on a stately grand piano and will be suitably accompanied by violin and cello, as well as by his trusty producer/guitarist Leo Abrahams. TCL

The Bernard Shaw, Dublin

To celebrate International Women's Day, which falls on March 8th, all weekend long in the Bernard Shaw the music will be provided by some of Ireland's best women working in music. On Friday night, Gash Collective, the collective that provides a platform for female-identifying and LGBTQ+ DJs and producers, will be steering the good ship Shaw while Eloise, Rosita Moulin and others will keep the party going on Saturday night. From 8pm until close, your entertainment is in good hands. LB

Saturday March 7

The Green Room at the Academy, Dublin

In the pits of winter, it can be a risky game to release an album in case it gets lost in the grey. Thankfully, when Georgia released her second album, Seeking Thrills, in January, it provided hope that we will soon spend nights dancing until sunrise. The gig was originally meant to be on in The Sound House and then the Workman's Club, but demand is high, and hopefully this won't be the last we see of Georgia this year because we just can't get enough. LB

Electric Ballroom, Louth

With the electro'n' techno festival Yurt City set to return to the People's Castle – previously known but still referred to as Charleville Castle – from August 14th-16th, the line-up will be revealed at the launch. To celebrate, they've got a hefty line-up to fill every corner of Electric Ballroom with that festival feeling. Catch NANCY, Yasmin Gardezi, the Bedlam DJs, MD Duffy and Shona Brophy playing back-to-back with Hyyken to get you ready for the castle. LB

Sunday March 8

3Arena, Dublin. (Also Monday 9, same venue)

This guy has been clogging up the charts, the airwaves and the hearts and minds of people across the globe, and now he's about to clog up the 3Arena for two almost sold-out nights. But though he's a dab hand at penning a love song, the Capaldi craze is more than just about his songs. The Glaswegian is a charmer and a joker both on stage and online, so if his songs move you to tears, a gag will always follow to cheer you up. LB