The cancellation of Outlines Festival is a reminder of what fragile foundations the UK live music scene rests on. After the big boom of new festivals in the mid-noughties, recent years have seen event after event cancelled due to sluggish sales and spiralling costs, with Y Not, All Tomorrow’s Parties and T in the Park among the most high-profile casualities. I’ll remember 2017 for the ecstasy and the agony of Safe as Milk, a dream line-up of Shirley Collins, OOIOO, The Residents and Dopplereffekt cruelly snatched away from us in the spring.

Outlines said that 2017’s event lost money and that they’d had no success in finding business partners to take the event on. DIY band Enablers have also cancelled 2018 shows, writing that touring isn’t sustainable when admission to smaller venues has remained around a fiver for over a decade. To keep the vibrancy of the scene alive, we may all have to dig a little deeper.

DJ Bus Replacement Service & DJ Gurl Power
Sat 3 Feb | Venue TBA | £9.10
Not many DJs would have the chutzpah to pull off playing the ‘Working As A Waitress’ remix of The Human League to the chin-stroking connoisseurs at Freerotation Festival, but then again, not many DJs call themselves Bus Replacement Service. The anti-revisionist happy hardcore of DJ Gurl Power rounds out another agreeably odd affair from Cut Some Capers.

Thomas Truax
Wed 7 Feb | Greystones | £8.80
That most idiosyncratic of Americans returns to Sheffield in support of his new record, All That Heaven Allows. Writing your own songs is passé now. Truax invents his own instruments to play them on, such as the Cadillac Beatspinner, a ‘motorized mechanical sound sculpture’, and the Slinkopator, love child of a Slinky and a drum kit.

Beth Orton
Thu 8 Feb | Plug | £20.74
Veteran singer-songwriter Beth Orton’s most recent album, Kidsticks, saw her combine well-crafted songwriting with a more radical approach to production, working with Andrew Hung of Fuck Buttons fame on tracks such as the otherworldly ‘Moon’. Support TBC. Link

LSS 11th Birthday w/ DJ Champion, Slick Don, Killjoy
Fri 9 Feb | Yellow Arch | £9.10
Eleven is a long time in promoter years, but you can put the longevity of Liquid Steel Sound down to their excellent bookings, such as Champion, who is busy turning out some of the sharpest sounds in club music today. Also cutting the cake will be Nottingham’s Killjoy and Brum grime superstar Slick Don. Link

Planet Zogg + Mango Disco Valentine’s Ball
Fri 9 Feb | Night Kitchen | £11.10
A collaboration we knew we’d see again at a venue we thought we’d lost. In Zogg HQ Southampton’s Re:Creation headline with a live set, supported by DJs Wiggleweaver, Ed Tangent, Greg Zogg and Dill. In room two, those fruity fellows at Mango Disco have brought over Coconut Selecta, Cara Branca, Global Treats and Brother Deluxe to sweeten the deal, plus a live set from the curators. Link

British Sea Power
Fri 9 Feb | Leadmill | £17.60
Returning to our fair city for the first time in four years are Brighton’s foremost purveyors of anthemic but intelligent rock music. Their formidable back catalogue touches on subjects ranging from ketamine to Canvey Island, from the fear of senility to forgotten Dadaist Kurt Schwitters. The band are the masters of the craft. Link

Bahla
Wed 14 Feb | The Holt | £9
Branching out from their Sharrow Vale base, the Jazz at the Lescar team head into town with London quintet Bahla in tow, who combine wide-eyed and ambitious jazz with Jewish folklore, contemporary rock and heart-stopping vocals from singer Inês Loubet. Link

The Black Madonna, Nd_Baumecker, Eris Drew
Fri 16 Feb | Hope Works | £22.40
Despite building a near-religious following in the city for two decades, for those outside Chicago The Black Madonna has exploded out of nowhere to become house music’s most in-demand selector. She’s supported by Panorama Bar regular Nd_Baumecker, plus fellow Chicagoan and recent Resident Advisor podcast star Eris Drew. Link

The Orielles
Sat 17 Feb | Yellow Arch | £9.90
Named after a Toronto bar, Silver Dollar Moment is the debut LP from Halifax three-piece The Orielles, who explain the term means “anything that’s unexpectedly brilliant”, which could be an apt description of the album’s jangly first single, ‘Let Your Dogtooth Grow’. Link

Miranda Sykes
Sat 17 Feb| Greystones | £13.20
The bassist of celebrated folk trio Show of Hands, Totnes singer Miranda Sykes is back accompanying herself on new solo project Borrowed Places. The record is an essay on the geography of Miranda’s native Lincolnshire and the lives and stories that have passed through it. Link

Jim Ghedi
Sat 17 Feb| Upper Chapel | £9.10
In January’s Now Then, we called Jim Ghedi’s debut album, A Hymn For Ancient Land, ‘rapturous’. He launches the record at the Upper Chapel, with the unaccompanied traditional singers of Landless in support, as well as a screening of Ian Nesbitt’s social history doc, Settlers in England. Link

Neighbourhood Voices / Otis Mensah / Teah Lewis / Conor Houston
Tue 20 Feb | Edisons Coffee | Free
Starting out as a weekly open mic night at Crucible Corner, The Rotunda Sessions are now showcasing their talented roster further afield, beginning with the debut performance of women’s pop music choir Neighbourhood Voices. They’re joined by hip hop storyteller Otis Mensah, glam-revival guitarist Conor Houston, and acoustic singer-songwriter Teah Lewis. Link

Geoff Norcott / Tom Ward
Sat 24 Feb | Leadmill | £13.75
Launching a monthly weekend comedy club on Leadmill Road this month are Geoff Norcott, storyteller and gag writer on Have I Got News For You, plus the bowl-cutted observations of Tom Ward and the wry wit of Danny Ward. Jonathan Mayor comperes. Link

Chouk Bwa Libète
Wed 28 Feb | Firth Hall | £14.50
This eight-person group from Gonaïves, Haiti play mizik rasin (‘roots music’), an integral part of the Haitian vodou tradition. This semi-improvised style uses drums, cornets, vocal chants and dance to reach a spontaneous state of joy, driven forward by poet and lead vocalist Sambaton Dorvil. Link