Y'know, in the wacky and busy world of Allgigs, we spend so long trawling through the very best in festivals, tours and theatre-runs for you that it gets all too easy to forget about those special one-off gigs that artists play from time to time. Below is a guide to some of the latest tickets available for the famous, the infamous and the forgotten, yet no less excellent, acts we have on offer.
Singer-songwriters are two-a-penny these days, but how can you resist some of the most-revered songsmiths from the past 30 years or so? Very much an important figure in the Liverpool music scene of the 80s and 90s is Ian McNabb, the man who gave us The Icicle Works and 'Merseybeast' (see what he did there?). His new album, 'Great Things', is right up there with his best work (review to follow soon) and having seen him at Kilburn's Luminaire recently, I can vouch for the man's sterling efforts. He plays two dates in May, one in York (15th) and one in Liverpool (22nd) - £10.
Another real presence on stage and a much-admired songwriter and activist is Daniel Johnston, a huge influence on Kurt Cobain, Lou Barlow, Flaming Lips, Beck and a host of acts on the quirky US-label, Shimmy-Disc. He will play one date in London (the Troxy - Apr 2nd) and another in Dublin (Vicar Street - 3rd), both being rare UK appearances.
James Walsh of the North-West's oft-ignored anthem-rockers, Starsailor, plays a special solo date at the Hard Rock Café in Manchester on March 18th. Apparently writing with 'Luka' composer, Suzanne Vega, Walsh (with help from band-mate Arno Carstens) will perform new and old songs for a charity gig that will also be replayed in London's Hard Rock Café on the 22nd, tickets priced at £20.
Band Of Horses
If it's bands past and present that you want, then feast your mince pies on these beauties. Two much-touted and adored bands hit London in April, the first being Band Of Horses who played the Shepherd's Bush Empire a couple of years back to rapturous applause. Think epic Waterboys or Flaming Lips and you are a little nearer to understanding this quality group - tickets go on sale on Friday 26th. This time they hit KOKO on Apr 12th.
Bombay Bicycle Club
12 days later, this time at the HMV Forum, we have Bombay Bicycle Club fresh from their NME Shockwaves shows and riding a wave of adulation it seems. Yeah, they're pretty good and the Forum is the next step up for them, especially at £14. Tickets are on sale tomorrow (24th) at 9am.
Crosby, Stills and Nash
The above two bands have surely heard a tune or two from the repertoire of our next two acts playing special dates. Crosby, Stills and Nash have been writing and recording the precursor to Americana for a few decades now and they play one date in Dublin on July 1st (at the city's O2 Academy) for 55. Even minus Neil Young, they are a force to be reckoned with. Their 'CSN' and 'Déjà Vu' sets are certainly worth getting.
Not so well-known, but ever-present in just about every intelligent young indie band around today, is Artery from Sheffield. Never quite elevated any further than the critic's hearts in NME or Sounds, they were more aggressive and darker than the city's Comsat Angels yet more raw and energetic than Cabaret Voltaire. They play a rare date in their home-town on March 20th (£6) - if you can get tickets, book them and go.
Within the same ball-park are the darlings of the 80s Manchester music-scene, The Chameleons. They have been through the mill, personally, musically, spiritually and yet here is the real thing all over again. May 8th at the Bolton Soundhouse - remember the date and make sure you don't miss possibly THE best live band that never had a hit. Their remarkable second album, 'What Does Anything Mean, Basically?', has just been re-issued (review up soon).
Finally, fancy something a little more sedate? Acclaimed Italian-composer and pianist, Ludovico Einaudi, plays just one gig at the Royal Albert Hall on March 2nd for just £25, a decent price for a man who has written very pretty Nymanesque piano passages for two decades, shifted thousands and thousands of CDs yet still eludes most classical fan's radar. It's not going to be a rock n roll evening, but the man can still be emotive. Enjoy.