Gallagher highlights Edinburgh’s top music gigs in 2012

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds performed at the Usher Hall
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds performed at the Usher Hall
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TWENTY-Twelve has a lot to live up to after a year that saw the likes of Bryan Ferry, Kings of Leon, Primal Scream, Arcade Fire, JLS and Adele all come to town.

We already know the Castle Concerts series will return in the summer, though only one of the names playing at the famous Esplanade has been announced so far.

The same goes for the Edge Festival, which over the past few years has brought to town an impressive mix of international and home-grown talent that truly enhances the eclectic nature of our city in August.

There’s plenty to come, but of the big gigs already announced for 2012, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - on Tuesday, 17 July at the Castle - stands out as an early highlight. The ex-Oasis man sold-out the Usher Hall back in October and, if you couldn’t get tickets for that (I know I couldn’t!) then here’s another chance to hear him peddling his solo wares.

January is traditionally a quiet month for live music, but there are one or two gigs worthy of your attention.

Former schlock-rockers The Horrors firmly established themselves as one of Britain’s best bands with the release of last year’s Skying, and you can catch them when they come to Liquid Room on Monday, 16 January.

Next up is the much-feted Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, who visits the HMV Picture House on Tuesday, 24 January.

February gets off to a strong start with the appearance of American duo The Black Keys, who found mainstream fame and appreciation in 2011 following the release of latest album, El Camino.

Kaiser Chiefs bring their energetic show to Edinburgh once more on Thursday, 9 February when they visit the HMV Picture House. As well as the best bits from fifth album The Future Is Medieval, the Leeds lads will pepper their set with popular hits I Predict A Riot and Ruby.

Michael Kiwanuka is many critics’ top tip for massive success in 2012, and Edinburgh audiences can get a first glimpse of the uber-talented soul man when he plays Electric Circus on Saturday, 25, February. Be sure of one thing, it will be the last chance to catch this guy in such an intimate setting.

March sees the return of Noah And The Whale. The Twickenham indie-folkers play a bigger venue each time they visit and, having packed out Liquid Room last year, the L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N hitmakers visit the HMV Picture House on Tuesday, 20 March.

Two days later the same venue will welcome chart-topping grime artist Wiley, while the night after that fast-rising indie outfit Civil Wars play the Queen’s Hall.

Evan Dando, the once perma-wasted poster boy of the slacker generation, brings his latest version of the Lemonheads to the HMV Picture House on Wednesday, 18 April as part of a world tour that sees the Bostonians playing 1992’s It’s A Shame About Ray in its entirety.

Just about every band from the Britpop era has reformed in recent years - and now it’s the turn of The Farm. The Scouse band famed for the anthemic hit All Together Now play Liquid Room on Saturday, 28 April.

That’s about it as far as the big names go, but you can be sure there will be many more great gigs announced over the coming weeks and months.

As ever, watch this space for details of what’s to come.