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St Patrick’s Day: 9 unmissable Irish bands on tour in 2021 and 2022

Ditch the Guinness hats and green pints and celebrate this Paddy’s Day with some authentically Irish entertainment.

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Girl Band

If you’re a Fontaines D.C. fan, sitting there wondering who to send a thank you note to, just address it to Girl Band, Dublin, Ireland and get it in the post. The arty, uncompromising Dublin quartet play aggressively chaotic post punk that always seems on the verge of descending into utter madness, taking you and your speakers with it. Fontaines’ Grian Chatten has paid tribute to them several times and with good cause. Prior to their emergence in 2014, there wasn’t anyone else in the city making anything that sounded even remotely like this. Get tickets here to see them at Dot To Dot in Nottingham and Bristol.

Girl Band - "Shoulderblades" (Official Video)

The Murder Capital

If Girl Band run the crusty, edgy, graffiti-strewn enclaves of Dublin’s post punk landscape and Fontaines occupy the main streets, then The Murder Capital are lurking down the alleyways where nefarious sorts lie in wait for naïve tourists. Dark, visceral, intense and bloody captivating, it sounds like Joy Division and The Bad Seeds having a knife fight in a dumpster. Get tickets to see The Murder Capital at TRNSMT and Liverpool Sound City here.

The Murder Capital - Green & Blue (Official Video)

Pillow Queens

Pillow Queens were the Irish capital’s biggest buzz band of 2020, even before their debut In Waiting came out late last year. Their hooky, 90s-tinged indie is as instantly likeable as it is hummable, all the while raging against the constraints of growing up queer in the shadow of the church and a conservative society. It’s highly likely that next time they return to the UK, the venues will be much, much bigger. Get tickets for Pillow Queens’ November UK tour dates here.

Pillow Queens - Holy Show

Inhaler

Well, doesn’t that sound almost like a young Bono, back in the days of War and Boy? There’s a good reason for that. While daughter Eve is steaming up the screens in Between Her Eyes, the U2 frontman’s son Eli is following in his old man’s footsteps with the angular, dancey and effortlessly cool Inhaler. Still no album yet, but the singles keep ratcheting up the anticipation. With songwriting as strong as this, superstardom is just around the corner. Inhaler play TRNSMT and you can get tickets here.

Inhaler - It Won't Always Be Like This (Official Video)

Westlife

When live music finally returns to Wembley Stadium, it’ll be in the shape of Ireland’s perennial chart-toppers. By the end of the night, even the most hardened cynic will be shouting along to World Of Our Own with a tear in their eye. Pop music doesn’t get any more wholesome, endearingly earnest or stand-up-at-the-key-change euphoric than the west-coast quartet. Get Westlife tickets for their 2021 tour here.

Westlife - World Of Our Own (Official Video)

Dermot Kennedy

We tipped Dermot for the top back in 2019 and he hasn’t let us down. A mere six years since his debut single, the Dubliner has gone stratospheric. His debut album went straight to No.1 in both Ireland and the UK and the single Giants gave him his first No.1 single in his homeland. A series of EPs and a massively successful livestream (from the Natural History Museum) followed. Get tickets for Dermot Kennedy’s upcoming UK tour here.

Dermot Kennedy - Giants

Clannad

It doesn’t get more authentically Irish than Clannad. Ireland’s chief purveyors of mystical trad have been at the top of their game for over 50 years now and have chosen this landmark as the perfect moment to sail off into the sunset. This farewell tour is guaranteed to be emotional, unforgettable and captivating, so don’t miss out. Get tickets for these unmissable Clannad shows here.

Clannad - In A Lifetime (Live) (feat. Denise Chaila) (Official Video)

The Academic

Hailing from the tiny town of Rochfortbridge about an hour west of Dublin, The Academic have quickly transcended their rural beginnings. They topped the Irish charts with the infectiously dancey pop of their 2018 debut album Tales From The Backseat. Last year’s Acting My Age EP showed that was far from a fluke, upping the ante even further ahead of their impending major label debut. Charming, cheeky, effervescent and upbeat, it’s music that’s tailor made for big nights out and late afternoon, sun-kissed festival sets. Get tickets to see The Academic on their upcoming UK tour.

The Academic - Acting My Age (Official Video)

Silverbacks

So you’re the kind of person who wants to be in on the ground floor of the next big thing? Welcome to the band being widely hailed as the next Fontaines D.C. Rathcoole’s Silverbacks have that Gang Of Four angular thing down pat, but their secret sauce is laced with danceability and seasoned with a dash of everything from Television to Modern Lovers, Pavement to Parquet Courts. Their debut album wasn’t just one of the best of 2020, it also contained the best line of the year (“That wasn’t Jesus, that was just some f***er in a dressing gown”). Big things beckon so don’t miss what is surely your last chance to see them in a small venue. Tickets for Silverbacks’ Dalston gig in November 2021 are on sale here.

Silverbacks - Dunkirk (official video)