Sting and Paul Simon, 3Arena, Dublin, Tuesday
YOU have to feel for Art Garfunkel and his loyal fans who packed into Vicar Street a few weeks ago, singing iconic Simon & Garfunkel songs without his estranged musical partner at his shoulder. While Garfunkel goes solo in intimate’ venues, Paul Simon is in the middle of a worldwide arena tour, teaming up with Sting, in a match that didn’t seem so heavenly on paper.
There were a few head-scratches when the tour was announced, with the more cynical commentators saying they’d sell tickets by cross-pollination of fans and straight-up novelty value. But the cynics didn’t get it totally right — after putting post-punk icons The Police to bed in the 80s, Sting has dipped into ‘world music’ often enough, while Paul Simon’s Graceland is one of the greatest crossovers of traditional African music and Western pop.
The pair have also co-opted reggae in the past — on The Police’s lurching bass-driven hits like Roxanne and Walking on the Moon, and Simon’s tender Mother and Child Reunion. The pair also went on mega-bucks reunion tours in the last decade for the pension funds, but they were probably caught short artistically.
This tour is billed as a “little experiment” that combines both
artist’s output, featuring covers of each other’s songs, duets and reworks of their biggest hits. And what a collection — the pair are responsible for some of the most enduring pop songs in history. So we reckon you should bury the cynicism, any night with Message in a Bottle, You Can Call Me Al, So Lonely and Bridge Over Troubled Water sounds like a winner — just don’t tell Art.
BD FESTIVAL, Glendalough Estate, Wicklow, Tonight
If you fancy side-stepping our daft Good Friday no-booze laws, the BD Festival looks like a cheeky night out in the first real outdoor festival caper of the year. For years the Barn Dance crew have been bussing people into the Wicklow countryside for a secret shindig They’ve now got a solid base at Glendalough House.
It’s heavy on house and techno DJs, and plenty of bands if bleeps aren’t your thing. Dance acts include Leftfield, Ben Sims and Omar S, but the likes of Hot Sprockets, DiscoPunks, The Academic and the Eskies will please guitar fans, and Jape is the perfect festival act whatever the time of year. Check bdfestival.ie for the line-up and info on buses.
MARK ARCHER, Twisted Pepper, Dublin, tomorrow
AS ONE half of Altern-8, Mark Archer’s status as one of the most beloved rave pioneers was sealed as soon as he and Chris Peat donned their chemical warfare suits and dust masks and infiltrated the charts with hardcore classics Infiltrate 202, Activ-8 and E-vapor-8.
Along with the KLF, the duo added an anarchic and conceptual art prank edge to early-90s dance music, as well as taking musical cues from Chicago acid, 808 State and the Prodigy’s Experience album.
Archer may have moved on from then but his sets still have some of that mischief bottled, mixing techno, hardcore and old skool classics without any let-up.
KERBDOG, Cyprus Avenue, Cork, tomorrow
KERBDOG have always been one of Ireland’s ‘nearly’ bands, with frontman Cormac Battle saying they were “the right band at the wrong time”. Their self-titled debut album in 1993 had all the down-tuned hallmarks of grunge bands like Soundgarden and Tad but it landed a bit too late. Then their follow-up On the Turn landed in the middle of the Blur vs Oasis Britpop years — and cost a million dollars to record.
After sporadic nostalgia tours in 2005 and 2011 they released the live album Congregation in 2014, with their first new studio track in 17 years, and went on tour.
They’ll probably need another new studio album to keep justifying these live shows, but until then, take the nostalgia while it’s going.
OLLY MURS, Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Tuesday and Wednesday
For every X Factor success story there are 50 post-show wilderness horror tales. Olly Murs is so far ingrained in the former that he’s now a part of the light entertainment pop furniture, playing these two Odyssey Arena shows, with three gigs in Dublin’s 3Arena to come next weekend.
The runner-up in the 2009 edition, Murs has a gift of pulling off the cheeky chappie persona, like a more toned-down Robbie Williams. With four top 10 albums of catch-all chart pop like Troublemaker, Dance With Me tonight and Heart Skips a Beat, he won’t be jumbling the arena-filling formula any time soon.
SINEAD O’CONNOR, Vicar Street, Dublin, Wednesday
IT’S been a brilliant 12 months for Sinead O’Connor, who has managed to side-step rants about the government, joining Sinn Fein for five minutes and her beef with Miley Cyrus, to release her strongest album in years.
I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss was a deserved nominee for this year’s Choice Music Prize full of sloganeering and songs delving into spirituality, empowerment and third party narrative arcs.
Like Morrissey on his latest tour she’s staying vital by bringing new material to the fore — even to the point of publicly dropping Nothing Compares 2 U from the set, saying she can’t just go through the motions. It’s another bold move from one of our most treasured singers.
Original version in Irish Daily Star