Bon Iver and Ne-Yo: this week’s best UK pop and rock gigs

Justin Vernon returns to showcase his hyper-modern album 22, A Million, while the R&B star proves the enduring appeal of glossy hits and slick choreography

1 Bon Iver

After axing his European dates at the start of the year for unspecified reasons, emotive experimentalist and Kanye comrade Justin Vernon returns to showcase his hyper-modern album, 22, A Million. Appearing at the National-curated Sounds from a Safe Harbour festival, he’ll be bringing his starkly composed, vocoder-filtered love songs to Cork this week.
Cork Opera House, 15 September

2 Ne-Yo

Proof of the enduring appeal of jaunty trilbies and glossy R&B hits about giving girls the eye, Vegas dreamboat Ne-Yo is still crooning as if perpetually stuck on MTV Base circa 2002. Perhaps it’s the old-fashioned showmanship that works, offering slick choreography and crystalline vocal melodies.
O2 Apollo, Manchester, 13 September; Barrowland, Glasgow, 14 September; touring to 16 September

3 Alt-J

In spite of a huge mainstream fanbase, Relaxer, the trio’s latest album, explores the parameters of puzzling pop songs beyond their previous two offerings. Live, their mantra-like vocals, militant beats and light show spectacle affirms their place as the Waitrose Kraftwerk.
Hippodrome, Kingston upon Thames, 11 September

4 Sigrid

The Norwegian songwriter treads a fine line between future superstar and studious sprite. Her vibrant singles so far – Don’t Kill My Vibe and Plot Twist – are full of zeitgeisty empowerment. Twinned with boundless energy, she dances as if alone in her bedroom rather than exposed under the glare of a spotlight.
Scala, N1, 13-14 September

5 H Hawkline

Serenity and surrealism loom over I Romanticize – almost Hockney-like in its sun-dappled sophistication. Created by Huw Evans, it sounds like pop that’s been left in the LA heat too long – merging the lo-fi charm of Ariel Pink with the Welsh wonkiness of Gorky’s and Cate Le Bon.
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, 9 September; Soup Kitchen, Manchester, 10 September; Moth Club, E8, 11 September; The Joker Brighton, 12 September

Contributor

Harriet Gibsone

The GuardianTramp

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