Gig guide: The best pop and rock gigs in Ireland this week

New Year’s Eve gigs around the country, plus gigs from Little Green Cars, Engine Alley, Le Boom

Saturday, December 29

Little Green Cars
Live at St.Luke's Cork 7.30pm, €25,
They have been relatively quiet of late, leaving the soundproofed bunker of their studios for occasional gigs in venues large and small, but there will be no holding back Little Green Cars and their inordinately classy music. For the past year at least, the band have been writing and recording material for their third album (following 2013's debut Absolute Zero and 2016's Ephemera). From what we've heard of the forthcoming material (a third album will most definitely be released in 2019) at various shows we have been to, we can expect what we have always received from the band: quality gritty indie pop/rock through and through. Tony Clayton-Lea

Engine Alley
The Workman's Club, Dublin €15,
This September, Kilkenny band Engine Alley released their long-awaited (just a mere 23-year wait) and previously lost third album, Showroom. Coming back to outdo their previous Dublin gig, which was the album's launch party, the post-punk, surreal rock group are asking that you drop everything so you can help raise the roof for their last gig of 2018. Join the original trio, singer Canice Kenealy, his brother and guitairst Brian Kenealy and their bassist best pal Eamonn Byrne, along with drummer Paul O'Byrne, as they sign off this year in style. Louise Bruton

Sunday, December 30

Le Boom
Dolan's Limerick, 9pm, €10,
This year has been one of establishing electro-pop duo Le Boom as one of the country's premier live acts. Curiously, however, over the past 11 months we have spoken to various people who have said that while electro-pop isn't necessarily their "thing" they love Le Boom. This is very good news for that all-important crossover effect many groups yearn for but rarely get. Le Boom also gig on New Year's Eve at Róisín Dubh, Galway (8pm €25, with Paddy Hanna, Kneecap, and Bob Skeleton). Good times, great vibes, and bouncy floors guaranteed. TCL

Monday, December 31

Turning Pirate Mixtape NYE 2018
Vicar St, Dublin, 7.30pm, €36,
Now in its ninth year, the Turning Pirate Mix Tape New Year's Eve bash remains the go-to event for serious music lovers and committed partygoers. The house band alone (including Gavin Glass, Pete Pamf, Michael Hopkins) is worth the ticket price, and then there are the front-of-stage bodies. This year's event includes musicians and singers of the calibre of Wallis Bird, Richie Egan, Cathy Davey, Booka Brass, True Tides, and I Have a Tribe (aka Patrick O'Laoghaire – who excelled with his IMRO Other Room performance as part of Other Voices in Dingle at the start of this month), with more guests to be announced closer to the event taking place. In a sentence? A one-stop shop of post-Christmas, pre-new year goodies. TCL


Midas Touch - NYE Golden Palace Party Loughcrew House, Co. Meath €46.97 – €81.79
If gold, confetti, glitter and sequins are essential items in your party attire, then H&G Creations's annual New Year's Eve party is the place for you. In honour of the women of Ireland, the Midas Touch party is celebrating Hatshepsut, the queen who became king in ancient Egyptian times, and everything will be laced in gold. There will be live music and DJ sets from AE Mak, Reveller, yours truly (ahem), Sarah Rossney, Rob Le Nan and many more. This a BYOB party and they ask that you wear your finest threads to welcome in 2019. LB

Orchid Collective
Whelan's Upstairs Dublin 8pm €12/€10
On the same night as rather more high profile end-of-year music acts perform, let's hear it for Orchid Collective, a Dublin-based band that also impressed mightily at Other Voices. The band have been going at it for some years now, and are no doubt wondering when something other than applause will walk their way. They won't have to wait too long, we reckon, as their music on streaming services such as Spotify is picking up serious numbers. Slightly older than the young tykes currently picking up fans, sometimes you have to be the tortoise and not the hare. Next year could well be the one that brings this very fine pop/psych band to much wider acceptance. TCL

NYE Dublin - 3 Countdown Concert
Custom House Quay 8pm €29.90
New Year's Eve in Dublin hasn't always had an open-air come-all-ye for adults and teenagers to enjoy, but over the past seven years the annual Countdown Concert at Custom House Quay has become exactly that. The headliner this year is Gavin James, the Dublin singer who recently celebrated the 800 millionth stream of his music on Spotify. The support acts include Hudson Taylor, who charmed audiences as special guests on Hozier's recent north American tour; Wild Youth, most definitely an Irish rock band on the up that have already announced a headline show at Dublin's Olympia Theatre in 2019; and new-ish band, Inhaler, who are impressing at each throw of the dice. TCL

New Years Eve at The Shaw
The Bernard Shaw, Dublin, FREE,
Looking back on the year, the Bernard Shaw team are quite confident that 2018 was one of the best years. Citing the monumental Repeal vote, the heatwave that felt like it would never end and the re-election of Michael D Higgins into the Áras as some highlights from the last 12 months, they want to start things off on the right path for next year. So . . . they're throwing a party. Daniel Wang, the Berlin-based DJ, and Conor L are the musical guests of honour and the Bodytonic DJs will be stepping in to curate the tunes too. Kicking off at 10pm, kiss 2018 goodbye and smooch 2019 hello. LB

Yacht Rock New Year
Connolly's of Leap, Cork €30,
When it comes to themes, a yacht rock New Year's Eve party is pushing the boat out a little but. . . who among us doesn't love yacht rock? Roll up the cuffs of your trousers, put on your finest pastel shirt and shine up your boat shoes for Connolly's final party of the year. They request big hair, big attitudes and nautical behaviour for this over 21s event. Make Steely Dan proud and Hall & Oates jump for joy as you party like it's 1978. As long as you show up in the right clobber, the good crew at Connolly's will take care of the rest. LB

Wednesday, January 2

Whelan's Upstairs Dublin 8pm €10
It's a long way from the sunshine and warmth of Nashville, Tennessee, but US country singer SaraBeth and her good friend, UK (but Nashville resident) singer Glen Mitchell have decided to pop over to dreary and damp Ireland for a spot of early 2019 gigging. Bringing with them a rake of awards and nominations (SaraBeth for her Song of the Year nod at the 2018 Nashville Universe Awards; Mitchell for his ASCAP Award for his tune, Livin' our Love Song), the musicians are clearly aiming to sooth those New Year hangovers with accomplished and smooth contemporary country music. TCL

Thursday, January 3

Pre-vibe for Philo
Whelan's Dublin, 8pm, €25 (sold out),
Thirty-three years after Thin Lizzy's Philip Lynott died, the man and his music continue to be celebrated. Rightly so, of course, as the songwriter fused various music styles as well as practically inventing a brand of metal/pop that was both archly romantic and as tough as granite. For the next few days, fans from all over the world will gather in Dublin to commemorate Lynott via song, performance and rare video footage. Expect quite a few special guests and more tribute bands than you can shake a trusty Les Paul guitar at. TCL