November has really left music fans spoiled for choice over the next few weeks.
Some of the biggest acts in the world are lucky enough to spend a cold, winter night on our charming little island, from rock icons such as Queens of the Stone Age and The Killers, to pop sensations including Little Mix and James Arthur.
However, you probably already know about these, which is why Oxygen’s gig expert Colin Gannon has compiled a list of five of the best gigs this month that you might not have heard about.
If you’re looking to discover your new favourite band, or just want to spend a night in a more intimate venue to hear some tunes, you won’t go wrong with any of these choices.
Avant-garde rap duo Shabazz Palaces released a pair of dense concept albums in July. Quazarz: Born On a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs the Jealous Machines intertwine the cosmic tale of a sentient being named Quazarz who visits a universe parallel to contemporary America (Amurderca).
Ishmael Butler (formerly of jazz rap group Digable Planets) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai Maraire are Sub-Pop’s first hip-hop act and visit the Sugar Club on 4th November.
Their ethereal live show is a must see for those who like their jazz and rap sounding like it is not confined to earthly consumption.
Whelans hosts Detroit post-punk outfit Protomartyr on the 18th November off the back of album of the year contender Relatives in Descent.
Expect frenetic, apocalyptic and anxiety-ridden post-punk that lead singer Joe Casey uses to meditate on a deeply afflicted geopolitical landscape.
His vocals sometimes bellow with rage but more often than not, he agonises in spoken-word. The famed intimacy of Whelans will allow Protomartyr’s abrasive riffs and swirling melodies to rumble ominously.
August saw influential emo New York based Brand New surprise-release their first album in eight years. Science Fiction is as forward-thinking and emotionally draining as anything the band released in their post-hardcore heyday and they play the Olympia Theatre in Dublin on 16th November.
What makes the night even more poignant for fans is that it may be the group’s last performance together on Irish soil. The band have long suggested an impending break-up, recently selling merchandise bearing the dates “2000-2018”. At a recent live show, frontman Lacey told the crowd: “We’re gonna be a band for about 14 more months.”
For fans of the band, this is unmissable. For those who enjoy their experimental rock with hints of pop-punk and emo, this is a show that should not be ignored.
English electronic producer Stuart Howard ventured into the abstract with his third full-length, Ruinism, as he ditched hip-hop and jazz grooves in favour of moody, textured, post-electronic soundscapes.
Howard, otherwise known as Lapalux, is signed to Flying Lotus’ label Brainfeeder (which is well known for producing cutting-edge off-kilter electronic music) and visits the Sugar Club on 24th November after an initial show in October was rescheduled.
Sugar Club is always a safe-space for eclectic and otherworldly sounds and appears the most suitable space for a late-night one-man electronic orchestra. Expect mind-altering audio-visuals and absorbing electronica.
With her impressive debut release Sprained Ankle, singer-songwriter Julien Baker carved out her own unique brand of melancholic indie-folk.
The 22-year-old has just released a mesmerising follow-up in Turn Out the Lights – a powerfully intimate and visceral full-length that captures how haunting depression sounds to the soul. Her piercingly personal lyrics tell of dark emotional states and a live acoustic setting will allow her expressive voice to flourish.
Whelan’s hosts Baker on 9th November and it’s likely her performances will be equally beautiful and jarring.