Gigs round-up: May 15-21

VILLAGERS, Olympia, Dublin, Wednesday & Thursday
IN AN interview a few weeks ago, Villagers’ Conor O’Brien told me there “won’t be many rock’n’roll moments” on the latest tour that hits Dublin this week. He was speaking just before the release of Villagers’ third album Darling Arithmetic — the follow-up to award-winning LPs Becoming a Jackal and {Awayland}.

Where O’Brien’s first two LPs were adorned with intricate layers, ornate production and dense lyrics, Darling Arithmetic is an attempt to get personal and write one from the heart. He says he wanted to stop cramming “50 ideas into one song”, and the result is the most disarming and profound collection he’s released yet, and one of the albums of the year so far.

Villagers (2)

Written and recorded in his home in Malahide on the Dublin coast, O’Brien played all the instruments on the album, with acoustic piano and guitar the bare bones fleshed out with Mellotron strings and impressionistic electronic ambient textures.
This stripped-back approach has led him to rethink his latest live show. Compared with previous Villagers gigs playing songs written by a livewire band, it’ll be a quieter affair — without losing any intensity in the delivery.

O’Brien is playing all the songs from Darling Arithmetic, as well as songs like Set the Tigers Free, My Lighthouse and Becoming a Jackal arranged for acoustic guitar, upright bass, harp and electronic keys.

After the two Dublin shows, Conor heads to Cork, Limerick and Belfast, before a US tour with Calexico and a return to European festivals, with none confirmed for Ireland. He said he’s still trying to work out how to play the festivals, as it’s hard to keep a grip on the transient crowd flitting between acts and stages. But in the meantime for these “quite low-key” theatre shows, O’Brien will have no problem keeping a captive audience in his most up close and personal album yet.

twinkranes250WHELAN’S SAYS YES, Whelan’s, Dublin, tonight
There are plenty of fundraisers in support of the marriage referendum Yes campaign, with quite a few quietly confident parties planned for next weekend when the votes are counted.
This joint venture between The Last Mixed Tape blog and the Co-Present on has a belter of a line-up featuring R.S.A.G., Delorentos, Wyvern Lingo, Attention Bebe, Elaine Mai, Plutonic Dust, Twinkranes (left) and more.

tumblr_luqqqgwdbb1r6zuclo1_500TWIN KELLY: Twin Peaks & R Kelly live A/V show, Generator Hostel, Dublin, tonight
Here’s one for the so-wrong-it’s-right pile — a soul and jazz improv mash-up of Twin Peaks and R Kelly.
It sounds more bonkers than Leland Palmer’s dance with Laura’s photo, but bear with me here — it’s a live score to a Twin Peaks episode, followed by a cover set of all of R Kelly’s R&B brain-wrongs. All this, and it’s not even Halloween.

Mark KnopflerMARK KNOPLFER, 3Arena, Dublin, tonight
Mark Knopfler was always the most unassuming stadium rocker to emerge in the
80s, and his solo career proves he’s a world away from the Dire Straits Walk of Life headband schtick.
Knopfler’s elegant playing has rubbed off on acts like The War On Drugs, and eighth album Tracker takes him on another rootsy path.
Expect new tracks and some classics from the vaults like Telegraph Road, Romeo and Juliet and Going Home.

A-970905-1378545693-8481.pngMOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE, Mandela Hall, Belfast, tomorrow
German Danilo Plessow has some cheek invoking Detroit in his title, but his deep and soulful house and techno productions mean he can wear it better than most.
He’s in the Queen’s student’s union tomorrow going three hours b2b with Antal, along with Tw!tch club residents.

puts-300x300PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, Sugar Club, Dublin, tomorrow
Since 1999, LA duo Thes One and Double K have been on the outskirts of golden era hip-hop like A Tribe Called Quest, Jurassic 5 and Pharcyde, with sample-rich psychedelic beats and old skool tag-team rhymes.
New album 12 Step Program is as reliably soulful as ever, and this should be another good buzz calland- response show.

abSLEEP THIEVES, Grand Social, Dublin, Thursday
Dip into the darker corners of electro- pop, as Dublin trio Sleep Thieves launch new single You Want the Night upstairs in the Grand Social.
As well as Sleep Thieves’ woozy vintage synth dreamscapes, get there for doors at 8.30pm to catch Extra Fox (Neil of Cast Of Cheers fame) and electro producer Haüer.
fame) and electro producer Haüer.

Original version in Irish Daily Star

Twitter: @conradio37