Bank Holiday Monday offers up an artist that has spent over a decade making music fit for a retrospective end of the week revue, Australia’s understated folk rock troubadour Darren Hanlon.

For whatever reason, which the intimacy of The Captains Rest will likely be thankful for, Mr Hanlon has performed and toured through a handful of solo albums without the critical or commercial acclaim many of his undeserving countrymen have enjoyed.

Support slots with the likes of Billy Bragg and Violet Femmes only heated audiences already lukewarm to his works, whilst in his homeland he is able to pull the legendary Eli Wallach (he of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly immortality) to star in his heartwarming video for 2009 single ‘I Wish That I Was Beautiful For You’.
Hanlon is in the UK for a festive purpose, with our favourite boutique affair End Of The Road (Tipi Tent, Sunday, 21:15!) his destination – with a few scattered UK dates and an Irish gem thrown in.

Whilst he may not be promoting any recent works, last years ‘I Will Love You At All’ was easily one of the most heart fluffing albums of 2010 which will be backed by his quintessential catalogue, including (we hope!) the knee-bowing bundle of twee that is ‘Happiness Is A Chemical’. We also have it on Oz-Authority that his audience interaction is probably worth the ticket price alone – and at a recession bending FIVER, why are you still reading this and not hammering onto TicketWeb?

If that isn’t convincing enough, Hanlon has the audacity to drag along the lovely bubbly Shelly Short to open proceedings, with Darren forming part of her backing band – and Miss Short returning the favour later in the evening. You’ll struggle to get a pint in the West End these days for the two hours of entertainment that awaits you next Monday!

Tickets: £5 | Doors: 2000

We don’t really need to tell you much about The National that you won’t know already, apart from the fact this gig was announced some time after their SOLD OUT Edinburgh date. The important thing to note is that this is likely one of the last times you will see one of the finest touring bands on the planet for a few years and their glut of restrictive (but deserved) Festival headline slots could see some classic curve balls in the set list.

The main reason we’re highlighting the evening, is for the sumptuous support on offer. Try and get yer arses in the doors (within an hour of them opening!) where the pulsating, hypnotic sways of Baltimore’s Wye Oak await for you aural immersion.

There’s not many support slots touring at the moment that will be filled with equal amounts of pressure and praise as the current National juggernaut can muster.

The fiercely effective duo,  Jenn Wasner (vocals, guitars) and Andy Stack (drums/keys/everthing in between) last supported in the UK on the coattails of psychedelic wanderers Dr Dog, in 2008.

This is an altogether more heavyweight under-card to be on and we don’t doubt they’ll live up to proceedings. Building crisply thunderous sound scapes, snapping easily into the blend of Americana Indie their headliners have so strongly purveyed over the last decade.

Whilst this has become a genre difficult to penetrate decisively, Wasner’s guttural baritone chords are pierced with vocals that won’t fail to grab the attention of the lucky hundreds huddled around the bar after entry on Wednesday night.

Their key for snapping attention is a bungee chord like bliss songs like ‘For Prayer’ snap the listener back and forth from, without choking any enjoyment out of some of the freshest sounding works their scene has had for some time.

Latest LP, ‘Civilian’, edged out back in March with a host of the quiet/loud jabs their live performances are sure to sweep around. This pair can’t do worse than a proper jaunt around these shores after their European antics in November, London, as ever, isn’t enough.

Tickets: £22.50 | Doors: 1900