If the excesses of the past few weeks have left you feeling like a lobotomised zombie with a rolling hangover, the temptation may be to go to ground and recover.

That however, would be a terrible mistake. Not only is January officially the most depressing month – relished only by bankers, gym owners and divorce lawyers – but things are about to get bleaker still, with some proper winter weather on the way.

So cast off the duvet, get your sparkly gear back on and dive headlong into 2019 – whatever your tastes.


  • J Mascis (O2 Academy Oxford, January 16): The frontman of indie rock trio Dinosaur Jr., J Mascis makes the first big noise of the new year by treating fans to an intimate performance, as he showcases tracks from third solo album Elastic Days.
  • The Vaccines (O2 Academy, January 26): Justin Young’s gang had a triumphant return in 2018 with acclaimed fourth album, Combat Sports. Catch the band performing singles from the album including I Can’t Quit and Your Love Is My Favourite Band.
  • The Wedding Present (O2 Academy, May 4): Indie-rock icons, The Wedding Present mark the 30th anniversary of their major label debut album, Bizzaro with a return to the O2 Academy to run through this dark classic of fuzzy distortion, heartbroken despair and bleak sarcasm.
  • The Coral (O2 Academy, March 2): The Coral offer something more uplifting in the shape of James Skelly’s psychedelic, swirling Scouse-rock. The show follows the release of latest album Move Through The Dawn.
  • Yak (O2 Academy, April 2): Yak blazed a trail with debut and have taken things to a new level with second offering, Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness. Expect an exhilarating live show.


  • Willie J Healey (The Bullingdon, Oxford February 14): The sweetly unassuming dog-loving musical king of Carterton returns for another (near) hometown show. The gig is part of a national headline tour in support of EP 666 Kill and will see him joined by Jelly Boy – the new project from Happyness’s Benji Compston.

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  • The Orb (The Bullingdon, March 15): The Little Fluffy Clouds stars touch down for a night of trippy electronica to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Expect atmospheric chill-out from 1991’s Adventures Beyond the Underworld to 2018’s No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds.


  • Sleaford Mods (O2 Academy, January 27): The most politically charged, thought-provoking and profane punk band around, East Midlands lads Sleaford Mods hit town for a predictably loud-mouthed cider and Special Brew-lubricated performance in support of upcoming fifth album, Eton Alive. Just like ‘they’ do.

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  • ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (O2 Academy, February 8): The Austin, Texas, alt-rockers return to celebrate 20 years of their seminal album MADONNA. The band will be performing the album in full, alongside a bag of live faves like Caterwaul.
  • U.F.O. (O2 Academy, March 9): The old-school rockers mark frontman Phil Mogg’s last ever shows with the band by hitting the road for their Last Orders – 50th Anniversary Tour.

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  • Omar (O2 Academy Oxford, February 16): The gifted multi-instrumentalist and father of neo soul performs There’s Nothing Like This and other hits
  • Fun Lovin’ Criminals (O2 Academy, March 28) Huey Morgan’s multi-platinum New York trio celebrate the release of their first studio album in eight years, Another Mimosa.

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  • Goldie Lookin’ Chain (O2 Academy Oxford, April 5): Get yourself in a Newport State of Mind for this show by Welsh hip hop collective, Goldie Lookin’ Chain. Expect high jinx and mischief from the comical but slick rap crew. Remember, Guns don’t kill people... rappers do!


The organisers of Oxfordshire’s al fresco events are gradually releasing details of their line-ups, and there have already been a handful of treats. Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace have Tears for Fears and Kylie Minogue (June 22 and 23) with two other big hitters to come. Cornbury (Great Tew, July 5-7) meanwhile has the Beach Boys, while Fairport’s Cropredy Convention (August 8-10) celebrate their 40th anniversary event by continuing their tradition of having Fairport Convention headline their own event. Also up are ex-Fairporter Richard Thompson, who will will appear with his erstwhile bandmates Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol, new folk artist Seth Lakeman, guitarist Martin Simpson and The Waterboys.

With many more acts to be announced there is plenty to look forward to.

The fun starts now.

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