The Take

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS - TONYCLAYTON-LEA

Our crit­ics’ se­lec­tion of the best live events

There are three points in the cal­en­dar year when new bands, young acts, fresh singers and fra­grant song­writ­ers get a chance to get them­selves heard. Hard Work­ing Class He­roes, which takes place in Dublin each Oc­to­ber, is the best known. Two months later, in De­cem­ber, is the Din­gle-based Other Voices’ Music Trail, which is fast be­com­ing a rea­son in it­self to travel. And then there is the Ones To Watch festival, co-or­gan­ised by the es­timable Dublin venue Whe­lan’s.

Now in its 8th year, Ones To Watch is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to see the Ir­ish acts you’ll be lov­ing in the fu­ture right now. Lit­tle did we know 12 months ago (dur­ing the festival’s sev­enth it­er­a­tion) that the likes of Katie Laf­fan, Laoise, Maria Kelly, Pil­low Queens, The Fon­taines and Farah Elle would have had such a fine 2017. And who could have known that Fang­club, which played as part of Ones To Watch 2016, would see their de­but al­bum land on the RTÉ Choice Music Prize 2017 short­list?

More than 50 bands will be play­ing at Whe­lan’s across four days, from Jan­uary 18th to 21st. Day tick­ets cost ¤5, with week­end tick­ets priced ¤10. Avail­able through Whe­lan’s ticket of­fice 10 ACTS YOU TO CATCH A TONES TO WATCH 2018

Here­with, then – unashamedly stick­ing a licked fin­ger tip in the air to de­ter­mine which way the wind is blow­ing – are the Ticket’s Top Ten Tips from Ones To Watch 2018.

Sub Mo­tion

Fronted by Re­becca Geary, Sub Mo­tion look set to join Bitch Falcon, Otherkin, Min­driot and Fang­club in the Su­per League of Ir­ish rock bands that ac­tu­ally sound, look and per­form as if they know what they’re do­ing.

Molly Ster­ling

Singer and song­writer Molly Ster­ling has been tip­ping around the edges of an orig­i­nal sound for a few years. With cool songs such as Plain Static you can tell she’s get­ting there with no small de­gree of el­e­gance and élan.


There’s a fine line be­tween del­i­cate and dreary, but Slow Skies – singer/song­writer Karen Sheri­dan (be­low left) and pro­ducer Conor Her­ron – tread care­fully and with poise. Newer tracks such as Danc­ing high­light a more pop-ori­ented di­rec­tion that sees Slow Skies quicken the pace. No harm.

Girl­friend Sun.Set.Ships

Mon­aghan’s Sun.Set.Ships chan­nel an 1980s elec­tro-pop vibe with the ben­e­fit of ter­rif­i­cally in­fec­tious (and tough) gui­tar riffs. The Mon­aghan-ac­cented vo­cals lend to the gen­eral air of idio­syn­crasy that seeps from this trio’s music. Rough around the frayed edges they might be, but any band that writes a song called The Stuff You Think About Late at Night and Never Tell Any­one About is fine with us. Hana La­mari, Lisa Rogers, La­hela Jones and So­phie Dunne – re­mem­ber these names.


From Derry, Róisín Don­ald (right) is yet another classy song­writer whose elec­tron­ica-tinged music has been mak­ing any­one who hears it sit up, stop what they’re do­ing, and take no­tice. Pop gems such as Play­ground Fights and Fake Ur Death will make ev­ery­one’s year brighter, bet­ter, and far more tol­er­a­ble.


Dublin-based duo Sylk (Beb­hinn McDon­nell and Tay­lor Doyle) is an au­dio-vis­ual con­duit for in­tu­itively im­mer­sive and bass-heavy elec­tronic music. One of the most in­trigu­ing acts around.


Chancer’s in­stru­men­tal music may take a few leaves out of the books of var­i­ous post-rock bands, but there’s an al­most neo-clas­si­cal el­e­ment to tracks such as Stut­ter Is­land that puts them front and cen­tre. Band name not to be taken se­ri­ously.

Lowli Young Earth

Tunes? In these alt.ev­ery­thing times we can for­get that music is also made to whis­tle along with. Tal­laght’s Young Earth make no mis­takes with songs as ear­worm-friendly as Worth It and Fre­quency Il­lu­sion. Song­writer Róisín Lowry con­jures up all man­ner of neat spook­i­ness with beau­ti­fully ar­ranged melodies that will surely see her shine this year.

OnestoWatch2018,Whe­lan’s Dublin, Jan 18th-21st. See whe­­forde­tails

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