The week’s best rock and pop gigs: From Mick Flannery to Delorentos

Plus: Andrew Weatherall, The Coronas, and Club Comfort’s alternative birthday party

Saturday, December 21st

Scary Éire
Sugar Club, Dublin
Something is stirring in the undergrowth. First, there was the surprise gig late at night or early in the morning, depending on the status of your body clock, at this year's Electric Picnic ("they were ferocious value as they stormed the Salty Dog" reasoned this paper's reviewer), and now there's a return to the Sugar Club. Scary Éire are rightly considered to be Irish hip-hop pioneers, having laid down paving stones for the likes of Mango x Mathman and Kojaque (and too many others to mention) to walk on. Better late than never, then, that their influence is not only recognised but also heard. Prediction? The roof will be raised. TCL

Mick Flannery
Bantry House, Co Cork
"I try to write the best ones… It's like a kid kicking around a football on the streets – he wants to be Lionel Messi, not a player in a lower division. It's hard to kill off that level of ambition – I just want to be good at the craft." Mick Flannery has had it right from the very start. The quiet-spoken Cork singer-songwriter has been a staple of the Irish music scene for over 15 years, and with six albums to his name he looks set to continue for some time to come. Flannery's latest album (self-titled, released six months ago) is one of the year's best, and these intimate shows will enable him to perform in the best light. TCL

The Claque
The Sound House, Dublin
With ticket prices sitting at €11.80, this gig is one hell of a steal. Dublin band The Claque are Kate Brady, Alan Duggan (Girl Band) and Paddy Ormond (Jetsetter), and even though they've been making music together since 2017, their debut EP Hush was released earlier this year to critical acclaim. Meshing together the different musical tastes of the three members, they navigate a dark and melodic soundscape that leaves its mark on you. Joining them on the night as support is Dublin band Angular Hank. LB

Andrew Weatherall 
The Bernard Shaw, Dublin
Having moved from Portobello to Phibsboro, the Bernard Shaw and the Bodytonic gang have given their gig schedule a makeover. Adding in a rake of new nights and events, they are also throwing a belter of a Christmas party to christen the new gaff and they've asked techno legend Andrew Weatherall to do the honours. A long time favourite of the in-house team, he's played Twisted Pepper (now Wigwam) and the southside Shaw umpteen times so it only makes sense for him to shake the rafters here. LB


Whelan's, Dublin
This Irish electro-shock-pop group might be under the radar, but 2020 looks as if it could well be the year to push them into the public eye. Most of this year was spent performing at small festivals (including Whelan's Ones to Watch, Youbloom, Vantastival, Oakfest) and playing shows in Germany and the UK. The band, however, also found time to write songs that from November have been released weekly as single tracks. Smart people. Really good songs. Crunchy music. TCL

Morrissey & Marshall
Workman's Club, Dublin
Greg Marshall and Darren Morrissey are the indie-pop duo not too many know about, but their collective perseverance will more than likely pay off. This year alone, the London-based pair have toured parts of Scandinavia and supported The Magic Numbers on selected European dates. Expect seasonal hints to this show, the proceeds of which will be donated to "a good cause". Special guests include much-admired Irish folk singer-songwriter, Steo Wall, and English singer-songwriter, Tom McQ. TCL

Just Mustard
Button Factory, Dublin; also Saturday 28th, Dolan's, Limerick
Following Just Mustard's inclusion on the 2018 RTÉ Choice Music Prize list (for their debut album, Wednesday), the Dundalk group experienced a further rise in profile this year by supporting the likes of The Cure (chosen by Robert Smith, no less) at Malahide Castle. Next month sees the band perform at Eurosonic Noorderslag, Groningen, and in March during SXSW, Austin, Texas. Special guests for the Dublin show are Belfast's raw-boned jazz outfit, Robocobra Quartet (whose drummer/vocalist Chris Ryan assisted in the recording of Wednesday). Come on feel the throbby noise, you might say, but a nagging question remains: when are Just Mustard and HamsandwicH going to co-headline? Can someone please make this happen? TCL

Sunday, December 22nd

David Keenan
Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co Louth; also Monday 23rd, same venue
A brace of homecoming shows from David Keenan – and performing, no less, at the venue where he cut his teeth and occasionally bled from doing so – is special for a number of reasons. Firstly, his gigs teeter between exceptional and we're-not-quite-sure-what; secondly, there is always a conflict of emotions when a prodigal son returns to the scene of what, to a degree, has formed him. Ultimately, we reckon, Keenan will be on good form. After all, following a slew of acclaimed support slots ("I can't place David, he tears up new road as he moves forward," Hozier tweeted last month) and the imminent release of his debut album, the Dundalk singer and songwriter is on a high. Join him at home if you're lucky enough to nab a ticket. TCL

Lady Grew's Sound House Sunday presents Sex Worker Art Event
The Sound House, Dublin
To mark International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Sex Workers, singer, performer, writer and MC Lady Grew is doing what she does best; putting on a show and pulling in a crowd for an extremely important cause. This is a multidisciplinary art event that will feature work, performances and short films by sex workers to raise awareness of the violence they can face. In doing so, solidarity and support will be shown for them in a safe space. LB

Monday, December 23rd

The Coronas
Vicar Street, Dublin; also Saturday 28th, Royal Theatre, Castlebar, Co Mayo; Sunday 29th, INEC Arena, Killarney, Co Kerry
The Coronas have been out in force for the past few weeks, as they toured the length and breadth of Ireland (and performed in venues of different sizes in Dublin). They round off their gig duties with appearances at these major venues, which brings this year to a reasonably neat conclusion. There are changes afoot, however, with the recent announcement of the departure of long-term guitarist, Dave McPhillips. It is confirmed that he will play on the band's next album, but touring is no longer an option for him. "I intend to take a step back as the lads continue to fulfil what their dreams and talents deserve," McPhillips commented on the band's official Facebook page. TCL

Whelan's, Dublin
Another Irish band rounds off what was for them a reasonably quiet year. To this end, they are looking back as much as forward. This Dublin show is the final date of their A Decade of S.E.C.R.E.T.'s Tour, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of their second album, You Can Make Sound, as well as looking back on the intervening years of splitting up, regrouping and subsequently releasing further highly regarded albums such as 2012's Little Sparks, 2014's Night Becomes Light, and 2018's True Surrender. An added bonus for fans will be hearing new songs that will, presumably, be released sometime in 2020. Keep an ear out, also, for the band's recently released EP, Be Here Christmas Time. TCL

Club Comfort's Second Birthday
Wigwam, Dublin
It has been a massive year for the alternative party collective Club Comfort. Winners of the Dublin Fringe Festival Radical Spirit Award and booking in their first international dates, they're making their mark as the most interesting and inclusive club night in Ireland. For their second birthday, they're taking over every inch of Wigwam, with DJ Selky, Baliboc and Roo Honeychild playing in the basement, performances and installations by Bambi taking over the ground floor and upstairs. Tickets are €5-€10 and they are expected to sell out. LB

Thursday, December 26th

Let's Have A Kiki
Róisín Dubh, Galway
In the run up to Christmas, parties may be a dozen a penny but there will only be one Kiki. Taking over the upstairs space of the Róisín, join Kiki St. Clair of Galway's leading drag collective Club GASS as she gets you firmly in the festive mood. Playing wall to wall pop songs, camp hits and disco floor fillers, this is a guaranteed night of craic so if you don't know where to go, look to Kiki St. Clair for the answer. LB

Friday, December 27th

Central Arts, Waterford
Another Irish with an incredible release this year is Daithí, whose second album L.O.S.S walks us down to the pits of despair and back up again. With Sinéad White, Bell X1's Paul Noonan, Tandem Felix and Ailbhe Reddy collaborating on different tracks, his already emotive electronic music gets a voice and speaks to us on an even deeper level. This event is BYOB, with glass and bottle openers very kindly provided. Tickets are €13 online and €15 on the door. LB

Saturday, December 28th

Something Happens
Whelan's, Dublin
If it's a few days after Christmas, then it must be time for the members of Something Happens – the 1980s Irish band who never split up – to gather their thoughts and instruments and sally forth to Whelan's to do what they do best at this time of year: perform songs from two of the best Irish albums released in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It's true – the majority of songs on Been There, Seen That, Done That (1988) and Stuck Together with God's Glue (1990) constitute a golden time in Irish pop/rock when songs were melodically sweet and tactfully confessional yet delivered with smooth, marble force. TCL