Two gigs not not miss in 2009

THERE ARE so many gigs to look forward to in 2009 - Greg Dulli & Mark Lanegan, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, Arlo Guthrie, Eddie Reader, Amusement Parks On Fire - but if I have to pick two that I’m most excited about it’s Crystal Antlers and Pierre Bensusan.

Crystal Antlers will play the Róisín Dubh on February 1. From Long Beach, California, these guys have been tearing it up all over the place with their mix of soul-tinged, psych-rattled, blues.

The band - Jonny Bell (bass, vocals, woodwinds ), Andrew King (guitar, organ ), Victor Rodriguez (organ ), Kevin Stuart (drums ), and Damian Edwards (percussion ) - turned heads in 2008 with their debut EP, produced by Ikey Owens (Mars Volta ) and noted for its blend of psychedelic, garage rock, and prog rock sounds.

As the NME said, “If you hear anything more exciting this year, you’re lying.”

The French-Algerian guitar genius Pierre Bensusan makes a welcome return to Galway to play the Town Hall on May 2.

Just say ‘Pierre Bensusan’ to any guitarist, guitar fan, or anyone seriously into music, and the response is one of awe, reverence, and enchanted bewilderment at the man’s unparalleled dexterity and creativity on acoustic guitar.

Pierre’s music, though highly complex, is defined by melody and accessibility. He is one of the most innovative guitarists there is, practically unrivalled by any acoustic (or maybe even electric ) player.

A documentary film on the life and music of Pierre Bensusan is currently being produced by award-winning filmmaker Roger Sherman.

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