Gig of the Month
Hifi Sean and David McAlmont, St Luke’s, Glasgow, February 8

Last year was a pretty good one for DJ, Bellshill boy and Soup Dragon Sean Dickson. 
Last autumn the band he started in the 1980s with Jim McCulloch, Sushil K Dade and Ross Sinclair reformed for a short UK tour and he was named as one of Scotland’s Hot 100 by The List magazine. 
That would be enough in itself, you might think. But earlier in the year, using his nom de plume Hifi Sean, he had teamed up with singer David McAlmont to release an album, Happy Ending, which was simply one of the delights of 2023 (Mojo magazine named it Electronic album of the year). 
The title track alone is a big sloppy kiss of a thing. Now the two of them are taking the album on tour. 
Meanwhile, an album Dickson made in his bedroom when he was 14 is getting a vinyl release soon. Looks like 2024 is shaping up well too.

The Herald: Hifi Sean & David McAlmontHifi Sean & David McAlmont (Image: free)
Leipzig 300: Dunedin Consort
Perth Concert Hall, February 7; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, February 8

Last year saw the 300th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach taking up the role of Kantor at the Thomaskirke in Leipzig. The Dunedin Consort is celebrating that fact with these concerts which celebrate the liturgical cantatas (some 150 of them in just four years) Bach wrote whilst in that position. The programme will also include music by Christoph Graupner and Georg Philipp Telemann.
The Herald: Chrissie Hynde
The Pretenders
Usher Hall, Edinburgh, February 25

The Pretenders in 2024 are a band of hard surfaces and sharp edges. It’s as if Chrissie Hynde’s tough broad persona has been bottled for the rest of the band to imbibe. The result is a line-up that rocks. For those of us who might prefer the lovelorn ache of the more romantic corners of the Pretenders’ back catalogue, that’s something of a loss. 
But Hynde’s voice remains one of the greatest pop voices and the current line-up are out to prove that the band’s latest album Relentless is as good as anything that’s appeared under the Pretenders byline. And playing live they might well pummel you into believing it too.

Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, 
February 3 

Contemporary Irish folk band Lankum are finally an overnight success. Last year’s Mercury Music Prize nomination was the least they deserved. If The Pogues revitalised Irish music with an injection of punk energy and McGowan’s fierce poetry, Lankum have done so via droning repetition and doomy, death-haunted lyrics. The result is dense, loud and at times exhilaratingly bleak. The sound of young Ireland, as heavy as it comes.

The Herald: LankumLankum (Image: free)

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, February 9

The 1980s just won’t go away. Next week Martin Fry, who these days effectively is ABC, comes to Glasgow with the Southbank Sinfonia to perform the classic 1982 album Lexicon of Love in its entirety. 
If you had the chance to live inside an album you could choose worse than inhabiting its lovelorn epic splendour. There may be a few more lines on his face these days, but Fry remains the suave sophisticate he was (or was trying to be) back then. 
With arranger Anne Dudley on hand to conduct, this is a chance to celebrate one of the greatest ever British pop albums. 
And no doubt ABC’s other hits – including When Smokey Sings and Be Near Me – will also get a runout. 

The Herald: Roisin MurphyRoisin Murphy (Image: free)
Roisin Murphy
02 Academy, Glasgow, February 13

Last year’s release of Murphy’s album Hit Parade was rather overshadowed by her controversial comments about the use of puberty blockers by trans children. In the white noise, the considerable merits of the album were lost. Murphy will be hoping for a reset with this tour. Playing live has always been her forte. 
Musically and aesthetically adventurous, Murphy is a thrilling, unpredictable live presence; at her best, a Celtic Grace Jones. 
And she comes bearing great new songs, especially CooCool.

The Herald: Alison GoldfrappAlison Goldfrapp (Image: free)
Alison Goldfrapp
Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, 
February 24

It’s been nearly 30 years since I first saw Alison Goldfrapp onstage, providing vocals for Tricky. These days she is very much the star of the show, whether as Goldfrapp front woman or, as here, in her solo incarnation. 
Promoting last year’s The Love Invention album, this promises Goldfrapp at her most streamlined and dancefloor-fuelled (if last year’s Edinburgh International Festival show is anything to go by). Plunk it down in the Barrowland and it should be a raucous, multi-coloured party.

Manu Delago
Summerhall, Edinburgh, February 14; Mono, Glasgow, February 15

There are worse ways to spend Valentine’s night than listening to the Austrian percussionist and composer dazzle you with his handpan skills. 
Over the years Delago has collaborated with everyone from Bjork and Anoushka Shankar to Joss Stone and the London Symphony Orchestra. These dates are in support of his latest record Snow From Yesterday, which sees him combine with Tyrolean vocal ensemble Mad About Lemon. The result is very Chill FM. 
The Herald: Barbara DicksonBarbara Dickson

The bad news is, Barbara Dickson’s full band farewell tour is already near enough a sell-out. So if you haven’t got tickets yet, it’s probably too late. If you have, we’re very jealous.

02 Academy, Glasgow, 
February 29

Seven Brit nominations. That’s a record. Rachel Keen, aka Raye, has seen quite the turnaround in the last couple of years. As recently as 2021 she was venting on Twitter [as everyone calls it except Elon Musk] that despite signing a four-album deal in 2014, she still hadn’t released one. Her hugely acclaimed album My 21st Century Blues came out last February and Raye’s star has since soared. Chances are, her current tour will seem like some kind of vindication.