LISA O’NEILL, Upstairs at Dolans, Limerick, Friday 2; Kevin Barry Recital Room, National Concert Hall, Thursday 8 and next Friday 9, €20.
Cavan singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill has graduated from the corner of folk haven the Cobblestone in Dublin, to pubs, clubs and now the National Concert Hall.
O’Neill’s latest album Pothole in the Sky is her strongest yet — an intense and haunting collection full of black humour, notions of mortality and her place in the universe.
Her 2013 second album Same Cloth Or Not was nominated for the Choice Prize, and this follow-up is a safe bet for this year’s shortlist.
ELTON JOHN, SSE Arena, Belfast, Friday 2, £44-85.
We’re always boasting about how much bands love playing here. It’s a bit mortifying sometimes, but Elton John’s been pretty vocal about it recently, praising the Cork crowd after being secured as the first act for Live at the Marquee 2017 — which will be his 23rd Irish show since 1979.
The Rocket Man’s new album Wonderful Crazy Night is his first in 10 years has been hailed as a (wait for it) ‘return to form’, with plenty of Americana and roots music over sparkly pop.
WYVERN LINGO, Kavanagh’s, Portlaoise, Friday 2, €15.35; Button Factory, Dublin, Tomorrow, €17.50
Alt-pop trio Wyvern Lingo are just topping off an Irish tour before they hit the studio to follow up their brash 2016 EP Letter To Willow — a welcome departure from the Bray act’s more folky beginnings.
But even though they’ve begun dabbling with abstract guitar riffs, synths and subtle electronic loops, their sweet harmonies are still the
HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE, The Sugar Club, Dublin, Friday 2, €20
Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble may as well apply for residency as they’re local heroes in Ireland, with many sold-out shows and festival appearances.
The seven brothers are all sons of iconic jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran, and it’s informed their music — a fusion of jazz, swing, funk and hip-hop.
There’s an even bigger recent link to Ireland, as they’ve just released their album Hyp Hop with Dublin producer Mathman.
ROY AYERS, The Sugar Club, Dublin, Thursday 8, €23
It might seem a bit late in the year for legendary jazz-funk man Roy Ayers to play his calling card hit Everybody Loves the Sunshine, but there’ll be enough warmth in the Sugar Club to dissipate any winter fog.
The Californian was last over in Dublin for the Beatyard Festival in Dun Laoghaire in August, and sprinkled cosmic vibes all over the main stage with his vibraphone and impossibly rich voice.
He recently played in Harlem with Alicia Keys on the launch show for her new album Here.