Fresh from her triumphant second album Melodrama – and stint as a secret onion ring reviewer on Instagram – Lorde returns with her dizzying crescendos and giddy interpretive dancing. The “future of music” – a compliment once given by the scarcely hyperbolic David Bowie – delivers universal themes with alien-like majesty.
O2 Apollo, Manchester, 26 September; Alexandra Palace, N22, 27 September; touring to 2 October
2 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Months after the sudden death of his son in 2015, Nick Cave rejected his instincts to retreat and went into the studio to finish the cavernously emotive Skeleton Tree. He and the Bad Seeds perform the fruits of this devastating period, along with their masterfully macabre back catalogue, in their first UK dates since the record’s release.
Bournemouth, 24 September; Manchester, 25 September; Glasgow, 27 September; Nottingham, 28 September; touring to 30 September
3 Loyle Carner
This Croydon MC’s shows often feel as if they are beamed in from his childhood living room, a fusty carpet and trinket-filled bookshelf his backdrop. He invites fans into his world with songs full of wit, emotion and anecdotes about his mum.
Glasgow, 28 September; touring to 12 October
4 Kiran Leonard
While Blossoms revive Manchester’s more laddish spirit, another ambassador of the city channels its more esoteric elements. Expect nothing less than refined intellectualism: track names include The Cure for Pneumothorax and Living With Your Ailments – a song inspired by Albert Camus’s 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus.
Manchester, 23 September; Leeds, 25 September
5 Stevie Parker
“I’m doing all right without you,” the glacial pop star sings on her breakout hit Without You. To a casual listener, it’s a defiant anthem, but under the surface lies trauma; Parker intones with the sort of faux-frivolousness of someone who still falls asleep sniffing the armpits of her ex’s T-shirt.
Liverpool, 28 September; Kendal, 29 September; touring to 11 October