Get you festive mix of live music

Get you festive mix of live music

As we near the end of the year, we enter my favorite and most dreaded time of the year. LISTMAS. The amount of time all music listeners sort their albums, singles and gigs in ascending/descending order depends entirely on their preferences. No problem if it sticks in your head, but with some loyal readers out there, the task for your loyal Northern Winds columnist becomes all the more daunting.

So stay tuned in the coming weeks for a practical, thoughtful and focused breakdown of some of the best domestic LPs, singles, gigs and those to watch over the next year. Don’t worry, dear readers, we agree with you.

Until then, however, we’re dedicating this week’s column to a celebration of some of the best local gigs and concerts coming up towards the end of the year. With the first proper Christmas of live events in a few years, players are sure to be supporting our local talent and we don’t want you to miss out. Below are our top picks

Joshua Burnside – The Ulster Hall – December 23

For those who don’t know, Joshua Burnside might be one of our most respected and talented songwriters, certainly of this generation. He makes sad, weird songs and experimental noises in the shadow of Bon Iver, John Martyn and Nick Drake. The producer/singer has toured the world, been streamed over 60 million times and played on some of the country’s biggest stages while living in East Belfast and without the support of a label.

Following the release of their second album, Burnside sold out at the Ulster Sports Club three nights running, becoming the first act in Ireland to do so. Now the experimental songwriter is taking a step towards his biggest headline yet, announcing that he’s sold out the legendary Ulster Hall. Not bad for an artist with two BBC banned songs (see ‘Red And White Blues’ and ‘Late Afternoon In The Meadow (1887)’ for excellent and non-airworthy songwriting).

With a slew of production tickets releasing for final sale on December 22nd, this is one to be quick for.

Lemonade Shoelace – Lavery’s – December 18th

Headline showcases in Austin, Texas and Brighton, East Sussex. Gigs from Mexico City to Dingle Village. Not bad for a one-song act. And yet Lemonade Shoelaces’ summertime psychedelic and wild live performances have touched hearts and minds around the world.

With new music on the horizon and a collaboration with East Belfast local fashion guru Flay Apparel, this evening has plenty on the table for anyone wanting to go downstairs with what could be our next big export.

Support for the night comes from experimental hip-hop act YinYang, who played a blinder show with post-punk/techno act CHALK at Ulster Sports Club earlier this year, and buoyant indie hopes Casual Riots.

Wynona Bleach – Lavery’s – December 20th

Another act set to represent the North at this year’s SXSW gathering in Texas, Wynona Bleach, will be bringing their glitzy pop-rock to the same Lavery’s stage for their own X-Mas party this Christmas.

With their debut album Moonsoake nominated for Album of the Year at the NI Music Prize a few weeks ago, this is an act known for putting on one of the best shows in the country. Also supported by shoegaze newcomers Virgins and Derry noisemakers TRAMP, tickets for this event are selling out fast.

And So I Watch You From Afar – Mandela Hall – 16 December

It’s hard to name And So I Watch You From Afar. They’ve been around long enough to be a legacy act, but they consistently innovate, pioneer and surprise audiences. A sight to behold, they are one of the first local acts to lead the return of the iconic Mandela Hall. Winner of this year’s NI Music Prize Best Album award, the Robocobra Quartet is one of our finest acts, playing main support for the night alongside pop punks CHERYM. Blur the lines between jazz, punk, electronica, alternative and experimental genres and watch them as soon as possible.

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