Scottish Live Music Highlights: December 2023

December's gig landscape is surprisingly busy for this time of year with an abundance of out-of-towners joining us for the Scottish legs of their tours

Feature by Tallah Brash | 28 Nov 2023
  • Kohla

Noisy band of two Johns, JOHN, play both Glasgow and Edinburgh dates at the top of the month, with shows at Broadcast and Sneaky’s respectively on 1 and 2 Dec. Also on the 2nd, everyone’s favourite Icelandic Eurovision entry, Daði Freyr, bring their dance moves, matching sweaters and, presumably, their music to the O2 Academy Glasgow, while a couple of days later choose between Mercury Prize-nominated Shygirl at QMU or Fred Armisen at Mono. Yes, he of Portlandia fame and one-time member of Devo.

On the 5th, a massive hip-hop tour rolls into the OVO Hydro featuring Ice Cube, Cypress Hill and The Game, while on the same night at the other end of the M8, catch glam rockers The Darkness at the O2 Academy Edinburgh where maybe, if luck is on your side, they might play their Christmas banger. It is December after all. If not, there’s another chance on 11 December when they play Glasgow’s Barrowlands. On 9 December in Glasgow, London trio The Big Moon bring their infectious brand of indie-pop to SWG3, before STRFKR play Mono (13 Dec). Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, catch Oakland rapper and producer Nappy Nina at Summerhall on the 15th.

Photo of the band JOHN standing in front of a wooden shed.
JOHN. Credit: Paul Grace

When it comes to local musical delicacies, Arab Strap kick off the Scottish leg of their stripped back Philophobia Undressed tour with a special show at the V&A in Dundee on 4 December, followed by dates in Dunfermline (PJ Molloys, 5 Dec), Aberdeen (Lemon Tree, 6 Dec), Galashiels (MacArts, 7 Dec), Stirling (Tolbooth, 8 Dec), Glasgow (Saint Luke’s, 9 Dec) and Edinburgh (Summerhall, 10 Dec). PAWS take their fifth studio album PAWS on the road this month too with shows in Aberdeen (Tunnels, 7 Dec), Edinburgh (Wee Red Bar, 8 Dec) and Glasgow (Poetry Club. 9 Dec).

Also on the 9th in Glasgow, catch post-rockers healthyliving at The Flying Duck or country singer-songwriter Rianne Downey at SWG3. Core. festival bring the first of their local noise showcases to The Hug & Pint (10 Dec), with Moni Jitchell, Kute and Wreaking Joy all set to play. AMPLIFI’s final gathering of the year takes place at The Queen’s Hall (13 Dec) with LAMAYA, Ziggy and CH Unspoken; Roddy Woomble’s Almost Nothing project plays The Hug & Pint (15 Dec); Kohla plays a headline show at The Poetry Club (19 Dec), and Logan’s Close launch their debut album with a show at The Liquid Room (29 Dec).

Photo of LAMAYA.
LAMAYA. Credit: Kim Simpson

If you’re looking for some festive cheer, in Glasgow on the 16th choose between the Glad Community Choir Christmas Concert at Re:Hope or Tommy Reilly’s All Star Christmas 8 at The Rum Shack. In Dundee, on the 23rd choose between A Swinging Christmas with The Vintage Girls at Clarks on Lindsay Street or The Cool Cat Club presents a pie eyed Tayside yuletide joyride at Beat Generator Live! with live music from Spare Snare, Echo Machine and Rrrapid Kool. In Edinburgh, 1 December sees Psychedelic Santa (festive) and Supper Club (less festive) DJ Other Other Music at Leith Depot, with live music from Hans Klammer, Lowlands and Aurora Engine, while the 8th brings Charlotte Church and Withered Hand to Summerhall for Cold Turkey’s Festive Frolic.

A week later, head to the Vitamin C Xmas Dance Party (15 Dec) at Leith FAB Cricket Club with live performances from Humour and rEDOLENT, plus DJ sets from John Maclean (Beta Band, not Die Hard, iykyk) and DJ Anorak, or Lost Map’s Christmas Humbug with Free Love, Weird Wave, Islet, Sulka and more. Then rounding out the year, Pulp play the Hogmanay Concert In the Gardens show on New Year’s Eve, before a packed afternoon of local performances takes over various venues in the Capital for First Footin’ on New Year’s Day, with performances from Kathryn Joseph, Bemz, Cloth, No Windows, Becky Sikasa and more.