Festival outing in Belfast tonight

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THOSE who followed last week’s column will know about the much-loved Output Festival taking place on Thursday, April 21. Ahead of the festival’s long-awaited live return, the evening’s full lineup of free-to-attend acts have been announced. And for those who are overwhelmed (who can blame you, there are over 20 bands booked to play in less than four hours?), I’ve put together a handy guide to the acts and venues you absolutely can’t. miss this year.

Bricknasty – The National Beer Garden, 8 p.m.
Bricknasty earned a spot on our “best of 2021” list for good reason: they’re excellent. A traveling cast of neo-soul, funk and hip-hop artists, they’re a much-needed boost and will be unlike any band you’ll see this year. After headlining the Oh Yeah Center late last year, they open the proceedings at the National Beer Garden at this year’s festival. It always fills up. Get off early.

Lemonade Lace – Ulster Sports Club, upstairs, 9pm.
Lemonade Shoelace’s flaky psychedelic indie was enough to land him a supporting spot for chart-topping pop star Yungblud in Mexico City. Now back on home turf, Lemonade Shoelace brings the full band for this performance. Think Tame Impala meets The Dandy Warhols. Big things are expected from this band, and it won’t be long before they leave venues this size.

Problem Models – Oh Yeah Center, 10 p.m.
The past few months have been stellar for Belfast’s premier punk band. They have just finished recording their album, their new single YAW (which we covered a few weeks ago), received rave reviews and they wrap up support for the CRAWLERS topping the charts before heading to Glasgow to open for Bikini Kill. One of the most energetic and magnetic bands to come out of Belfast in years, Problem Patterns will give you that dose of rock and headbanging.

Winnie Ama – Ulster Sports Club, Downstairs, 11pm.
Ama is a model modern artist. Effortlessly shifting from vintage jazz vibes to bubbly neo-soul, she and her band took the city by storm after being booked to play local publication YEO Magazine’s launch event. Booked specifically by the local BBC presenting team, Winnie Ama caters to fans of everyone from Billie Holiday to Dua Lipa. A revolutionary artist and my personal favorite of the festival.

• Going out is not the only festival worthy of your attention at home. The Women’s Work Festival, a celebration of Irish women’s contribution to the country’s arts and culture, returns for its sixth year. Keynotes from industry executives, panels listing iconic albums and performances from Sprints, CHERYM, Bobbi Arlo, Girl For Sale and more are highlights of this essential initiative. Taking place over the June bank holiday weekend, it’s a great opportunity to get involved with local event promoters and noise-making artists.

Southern artists also continued to grow. Rising rapper and singer Denise Chaila announced this week that she will accompany Ed Sheeran on a sold-out stadium tour of Ireland. Virtually owning the airwaves during lockdown, Chaila has become one of the country’s most sought-after entertainers, making her recent booking a mainstream stamp of approval. Her debut EP “It’s A Mixtape” is out now for anyone lucky enough to get a ticket, so grab one while you can.

Sive's new track is piercing
2Gallery

Sive’s new track is piercing

And to wrap up this week’s column, we’re shining a spotlight on some of the best indie releases from the past week. To start folk, we have the latest from Sive. The Irish songwriters’ new track ‘Dancing Alone’ is breathtaking. It has cinematic appeal, but it’s also a great example of Sive’s intimate songwriting style, which transitions easily from indie to alternative folk sounds.

At the other end of the spectrum is the jazzy punk madness of Vernon Jane. Their intricate take on rock’s warped offspring is always a treat, which is true on new track “Origami.” The controlled chaos of the disc, sprinting in hundreds of directions at once evenly, is thrilling. Don’t underestimate them.

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