Coming Soon: Relight my firestarter

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The Independent Culture

Recession or no recession, the live music industry is banking on the hope that when Christmas approaches, gig-goers will forget how skint they are and reach for their wallets. With Keith Flint back on board, the Prodigy (pictured) have a forthcoming album, Invaders Must Die, and they preview it with a swift tour, commencing next Sunday at the Academy (0151 707 3200) in Liverpool.

The Wonky Pop franchise/con-cept/call-it-what-you-will has been one of 2008's defining movements, and there's a particularly strong line-up of wonkiness at Matter (020-7549 6686, 12 Dec), the new venue in London's O2 centre, including Alphabeat and Sam Sparro. With a certain amount of irony, Tim Booth and James will be bellowing "oh, siddown!" to a series of seated venues next month, starting at Brighton Dome (01273 709709, 9 Dec).

Readers of a certain age will be dusting off their Harrington jackets for a couple of mod/ska revival tours. Madness play Manchester Central (0871 220 0260, 18 Dec) and London's O2 (0844 856 0202, 19 Dec), while From the Jam (ie Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler minus Paul Weller) start their tour this Friday at the Academy, Leeds (0844 477 2000), and carry on right until 22 December at London's Hammersmith Apollo (020-8563 3800).

Into 2009, Mindless Self-Indulgence, the hugely entertaining, comedy-heavy goth-industrial types from New York, return to the UK, starting in the Mandela Hall of Queens University, Belfast (028-9097 1062, 13 Jan).

The mighty Franz Ferdinand showcase their forthcoming third album, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, with a pair of shows at Edinburgh Picture House (0131-221 2280, 14 Jan) and London's Heaven (020-7930 2020, 20 Jan).

Grace Jones continues one of the most enjoyably bizarre pop comebacks of recent times with a New Year tour, starting at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham (0121-780 3333, 19 Jan). Pretend-hobo bluesman Seasick Steve packs his one-stringed guitar and tours the country, presumably by jumping rides on freight trains and not in an air-conditioned tour bus, starting at the Academy, Leeds (0844 477 2000, 27 Jan). Chat show hostess Lily Allen plays her first London show in two years at Koko (0870 432 5527, 28 Jan).

Lastly, the NME Awards Tour kicks off on 29 January at Liverpool University (0871 230 1094), headlined by the glorious Glasvegas, with support from up-and-comers Friendly Fires, White Lies and Florence and the Machine.