It’s Independent Venue Week – so maybe a touch ironic that the cultural rollercoaster that is Celtic Connections gears up with some of the best shows of the year so far.

On Tuesday, the well-connected John Grant plays the Scottish-themed festival, visiting teh Royal Concert Hall. In a more ‘independent’ setting, A New International are at the Glad Cafe.

On Wednesday, it’s Teen Canteen at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, another of the participating venues. Same goes for Thursday’s gig with Ded Rabbit.
Thursday night also sees Nectarine No. 9, The Secret Goldfish and The Leopards take part in the Bent Meltdown – a celebration of the Creeping Bent Organisation, their record label which must be, ooh, at least 20 years old. As are the three bands (well, just about). Also in Glasgow, James Yorkston is at the Mitchell Theatre, and Nina Nesbitt‘s at King Tut’s.

On Friday, Emma Pollock is at Oran Mor, launching her brilliant album ‘In Search Of Harperfield’.

And Friday sees another Indie Venue Week show, The Xcerts, at La Belle Angele in Edinburgh. Meanwhile, at the Mash House, Decagram 2.0 – the first in a series of 10 live audio/vsual events. Music-wise it’s Happy Meals and Numbers Are Futile, with electronic/classical crossover from Atzi Lipsync / The Reverse Engineer, and live action drawing of the bands from Ursula Cheng.

Way out west, James Yorkston‘s at the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine. And Afro Celt Sound System are at the O2 ABC – now surely that’s part of Celtic Connections?

Saturday has Fat Goth at Dundee’s Buskers, another Indie Venue Week show.
As is the show by We Were Promised Jetpacks, at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus. Across town, De Rosa are at Summerhall in Edinburgh. Also on Saturday, James Yorkston’s at Stirling’s Tolbooth. Meanwhile, in Invermess, how could you choose? Jamie and Shoony at Mad Hattters., or Slam at Ironworks?

And on Sunday, They Might Be Giants – now, I’m not racist, but… well, ok, there’s no excuse needed to welcome TMBG to town, not once but twice – they play a matinee show at the RCH and then, the full-on experience (hopefully including sock puppets) in the evening. And in Aberdeen, at The Lemon Tree, De Rosa launch their own contender for Album of the Year, ‘Weem’.
In Edinburgh, Plastic Animals are at the Wee Red Bar – maybe launching a new album, maybe not, I know the vinyl has arrived, so you never know… meanwhile, in an annoying gig clash, A Mote of Dust – Craig B out of Aereogramme / The Unwinding Hours – is at The Hug & Pint, doubtless playing tunes from LAST year’s top long-player.