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50 concerts you won’t want to miss in the next five months

There’s a feast of great music coming our way

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Little Mix

Little Mix

Ed Sheeran. Credit: Yui Mok

Ed Sheeran. Credit: Yui Mok

Simple Minds. Credit: Matt Kerfante

Simple Minds. Credit: Matt Kerfante

Madness. Credit: Matt Crossick

Madness. Credit: Matt Crossick

Imelda May

Imelda May

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Little Mix

The lifting of Covid restrictions has been music to the ears of concert promoters and gig-goers across Northern Ireland.

After months of virtual performances and cancelled concerts, spring/summer 2022 is shaping up to be a busy period for artists, organisers and fans.

From Ed Sheeran at Boucher Road Playing Fields in May, to Elbow at the Waterfront Hall the following month, The Specials at Botanic Gardens to Simple Minds at Custom House Square — there’s a show for all musical tastes.

And while many international acts are headed this way –—Billie Eilish, Kings of Leon, Iron Maiden — homegrown talent will feature too, with Portaferry’s Ryan McMullan and Belfast punk outfit Stiff Little Fingers both headlining at Custom House Square in August.

APRIL

Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer bring their No Shame Tour to the SSE Arena on April 4. The band rose to fame while touring with One Direction. They’ve sold over 10m albums and 2m concert tickets worldwide.

Ards International Guitar Festival runs from April 7 to 10. The festival includes guitar-inspired gigs, guitar clinics, a film screening and a photography exhibition by Telegraph music journalist and author Stuart Bailie.

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Little Mix bring their rescheduled Confetti Tour to the SSE Arena on April 9/10. The shows will see the band perform songs from their brand new album Confetti, including the 2020 smashes Holiday and Break Up Song, alongside some of their greatest hits such as Black Magic and Shout Out to My Ex.

Belfast band Silent Running make a return to live music with a gig at Voodoo on April 29. This will be the band’s first gig since they sold out the same venue twice in 2019. An album, Live in Voodoo Belfast, was released the following year.

Belfast-based band Arborist play Rosemary Street First Presbyterian Church on April 29. Their debut album, Home Burial, and follow-up, A Northern View, have both received glowing praise.

On April 30, Superfly Funk and Soul Club presents Corduroy at the Oh Yeah Centre. Formed in 1991, the London acid jazz four-piece is renowned for energetic, funky live performances and signature Hammond organ sound.

MAY

Imelda May plays the Waterfront Hall on May 1 as part of her Made to Love tour. The Dublin singer’s sixth studio album 11 Past the Hour — her first new music in four years — marks a new chapter as she delves into spirituality and intuition.

The Friends Goodwill Music Festival returns to the Market Yard in Larne from May 6 to 8, with headliners Hothouse Flowers and Eddi Reader.

Superstar Ed Sheeran will play Boucher Road Playing Fields on May 12 and 13 in two hugely anticipated gigs. The gigs form part of his The Mathematics Tour, which kicks off next month and sees him perform at stadiums throughout Ireland and the UK.

Gateshead’s Smoove and Turrell bring their special sound Northern Funk — a contemporary fusion of funk, soul, northern soul, hip-hop and electronica — to The Deer’s Head on Saturday, May 14.

Irish three-piece The Script, led by Danny O’Donoghue, claimed their sixth number one album in 2019 with Sunsets and Full Moons. The pop/rock band will play the SSE Arena on May 14 and 15 as part of their Tales from the Script Greatest Hits tour.

Singer/songwriter David Gray, who released his first album White Ladder in 1993 to worldwide acclaim, is back in Belfast on May 17 at the SSE Arena. Gray has received four Brit award nominations and his debut album is ranked as the 10th best-selling album of the 21st century.

Northern Ireland’s The Divine Comedy, fronted by Fermanagh man Neil Hannon, plays the Waterfront Hall on Saturday, May 21. To date, the band has released 12 studio albums under the Divine Comedy name.

Indie art-rock band Alt-J will play the Telegraph Building on May 25. The gig follows the release of their fourth album, The Dream, in February.

Queen + Adam Lambert will be back to rock you at the SSE Arena on May 27 and 28. After playing to around 400,000 fans in North America last year, Queen + Adam Lambert will be bringing their hugely anticipated Rhapsody concert experience to the UK and Europe this spring and summer.

On Sunday, May 29, Canadian rocker Bryan Adams will take to the stage at the SSE Arena. Adams has sold between 75m and 100m records and singles worldwide. In 1991, his single Everything I Do, I Do it for You was number one in the UK for a record-breaking 16 weeks.

JUNE

Pop/soul crooners Simply Red are back with some summer shows, including one at Botanic Gardens on June 2. Expect their classic hits, including Holding Back the Years, Fairground and Money’s too Tight to Mention.

Following the release of her second album Happier Than Ever, Billie Eilish is touring the world and will stop off in Belfast to play the SSE Arena on June 3. The American singer/songwriter co-wrote and performed the theme tune to the James Bond film, No Time to Die.

On June 3 and 4, Titanic Slipways will host Ava Festival, a dance festival that began seven years ago as a one-day event and has since grown into a weekender. The event will be headlined by Belfast electronic duo and Brit nominees Bicep.

Lush! Classical sees co-founder and resident DJ Col Hamilton curate a one-off event with the Ulster Orchestra, guest DJs and live vocalists playing floor fillers from the past 25 years, all produced in conjunction with Kylie Minogue’s musical director. The gig will take place at Botanic Gardens on June 4.

Time to dig out the Harrington jackets and Fred Perry tees as everybody’s favourite rude boys, The Specials, are heading back to Belfast this summer. The Ghost Town/Do Nothing/Gangsters ska-punk band will be playing all their classics at their Live at Botanic Gardens gig on June 5.

The ever-youthful Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating brings his Twenty Twenty show to the Waterfront Hall on June 6 as part of his rescheduled tour.

American indie rock band The National, who released their debut album in 2001, will play Botanic Gardens on June 6, marking their first gig in Belfast for over nine years.

James Blunt is back with a greatest hits album, The Stars Beneath My Feet and a huge tour for 2022 which will see him celebrate songs spanning a stellar 17-year career. In that time, the singer/songwriter has sold over 23m albums and notched up five Grammy Award nominations. He plays Belfast’s Botanic Gardens on June 11.

On Monday, June 13, British heavy metal band Iron Maiden will kick off this year’s Belsonic at Ormeau Park. The band achieved initial success during the early 1980s and after several line-up changes they scored a series of UK and US platinum and gold albums.

Scottish singer/songwriter Gerry Cinnamon rose to fame in the Glasgow acoustic music scene, hosting a celebrated open mic night at a city bar. He built up a loyal following and was named Best Live Act at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards in 2016. He plays Belsonic on June 16.

The Black Box plays host to the farewell tour of Peggy Seeger — folk singer, songwriter, feminist and icon — on June 16. Peggy will be joined on stage by her son Calum MacColl.

The following night it’s the turn of Grammy Award-winning, platinum-certified, international superhero DJ Tiesto to get the party started at Ormeau Park.

Local band Jam Pact will be taking gig goers on a trip down memory lane to the late 70s/early 80s with a night of hits from one of the UK’s best bands, The Jam, in Clonard Sports and Social Club on June 17.

Also on June 17, Belfast punksters Protex, Shock Treatment and The Hoakers, will rock the Deer’s Head, with a DJ set from the legendary Terri Hooley.

Scottish DJ, record producer and singer Calvin Harris plays Belsonic on June 18. Harris became the first UK solo artist to reach more than 1bn streams on Spotify.

Kildare four-piece Picture This will stop off in Belfast, playing Ormeau Park on June 19. The band has gone from strength to strength since forming in 2016.

Dublin singer/songwriter Dermot Kennedy,
who plays Belsonic on June 23, has had a pretty cool couple of years with the release of his debut album, Without Fear, in October 2019, and several successful songs, including Outnumbered and Giants.

One of the UK’s most recognisable rock stars, Liam Gallagher brings his brand of mad-for-it indie rock and distinctive singing style to Ormeau Park on June 24.

German happy hardcore, rave and techno stars Scooter take to the stage at Ormeau Park on June 25 for a night of partying. The Hamburg band is Germany’s most commercially successful recording acts with 23 top ten hits.

Yee-haw, grab your stetsons and cowboy boots for six hours of non-stop country music at the Country Comes to City event in Derry on June 25. The one-day event will take place at Ebrington Square and will feature Derek Ryan and Jimmy Buckley among the acts.

It’s back to Belfast on June 26 for Scotland’s Lewis Capaldi. The hugely successful singer/songwriter topped the charts with Someone You Loved in March 2019 and by May 2020 it had become the longest-running top 10 UK single ever by a British artist.

JULY

Kicking off the Newcastle summer season of shows, west Belfast singer/songwriter Brian Kennedy will play Newcastle Community Cinema on July 1. Fans will be treated to his back catalogues of hits and new material, including A Better Man and Put the Message in the Box.

The following night NI’s best loved tribute act Flash Harry will play the same venue, treating gig goers to all the old favourites from We Will Rock You and Radio Gaga to We are the Champions and the epic Bohemian Rhapsody.

Dust off the leather and quiff up the hair for a night with The King. The Elvis Spectacular, starring Ciaran Houlihan, will stage several shows across Northern Ireland including gigs at the Limelight on Saturday, July 9, and Newcastle Community Cinema on July 29 and 30.

Country star Nathan Carter, who hails from Liverpool but lives in Fermanagh, is back in Belfast for a series of summer shows, playing the Waterfront Hall on July 15, 16 and 17.

The brilliant two-tone band The Beat will play the Limelight 2 on July 22. Led by Dave Wakeling, they were one of the biggest bands of the ska scene in the 1980s, best known for hits like Mirror in the Bathroom and Hands Off, She’s Mine.

AUGUST

Madness are set to return to Belfast with a headline show at Custom House Square on Sunday, August 7. Led by legendary frontman Suggs, the Nutty Boys are one of the top 20 selling UK groups of all time, with an incredible seven top 10 albums, 22 top 20 hits and more than 6m album sales to their name.

Scottish rockers Simple Minds seem to have been on the music scene forever. The Glaswegians formed in 1977 and have notched up a string of hit singles, including Don’t You (Forget About Me), Alive and Kicking and, of course, local favourite, Belfast Child, which topped the UK singles charts in 1989. They play Custom House Square on August 9.

On August 12 Ben Nicky presents Emotional Havoc as part of the Custom House Square gigs. With one of busiest DJ schedules in the dance world, Nicky’s popularity has soared in recent years and he was crowned Best Trance DJ at the DJ Awards in Ibiza. He’s back at CHSq on August 13.

UK singer-songwriter Tom Grennan plays his biggest ever Belfast show to date with a headliner at Custom House Square on Thursday, August 18.

Belfast’s iconic punk band Stiff Little Fingers will play CHSq on August 20, with a brilliant line-up of support acts including The Undertones, The Selecter, Ricky Warwick and Terri Hooley.

Portaferry’s finest Ryan McMullan takes to the stage at CHSq on August 27 for a headline show. In the past year McMullan has played two sold out Belsonic shows alongside Dermot Kennedy, two nights at the Waterfront Hall and completed a sell-out Irish Tour.

Emerge Music Festival is a brand new multi-stage annual outdoor event which will take place on August 27 and 28. Emerge will feature over 40 acts across three stages, over the two days. Headliners include Eric Prydz and Disclosure.


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