Gigs round-up: May 22-28

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 15.51.53Fucked Up, Hangar, Dublin, tonight
There’ll be tops off in Hangar tonight as Canadian hardcore act Fucked Up turn amps, heat and sweat up to 11. Led by grizzled livewire Damian Abraham — a cross between Black Flag-era Henry Rollins and Les Savy Fav’s Tim Harrington — Fucked Up have been a bomb blast live force for the guts of a decade. Latest album Glass Boys hits the more melodic end of the hardcore spectrum, but it’s the wall of noise and brute force camaraderie that’ll score a home run tonight. Get there early for support from Bitch Falcon and Strong Boys.

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 15.55.16Grandmaster Flash, Hangar, Dublin, tonight
We’ve had a few dodgy nights in the company of Grandmaster Flash in the last few years. His DJ sets can veer dangerously into a student YouTube party vortex, with him dropping  30-second Smells Like Teen Spirit snippets alongside chart R&B and no-risk hip-hop. Tonight’s old school hip-hop show should be a good bet though, as the hip-hop pioneer is as well-versed as any DJ to join the dots between rap’s year-zero icons. He’ll come fully armed with his own all-time classics like The Message and White Lines, along with crucial cuts from Eric B & Rakim, SugarHill Gang, Afrikka Bambaata, Kurtis Blow and more, showing off the scratching and back-spinning he perfected back in the 80s.

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 16.01.15Toto, Vicar Street, Dublin, tomorrow TOTO surely realise over half of Vicar Street will only be there for one song — but just imagine the buzz when they play Africa for the encore. In fairness, the veteran soft-focus rockers have 13 albums and their sales are in the tens of millions, so they’ve got every excuse to go on a victory lap for their comeback LP Toto XIV. They’ve also got Hold the Line and Rosanna to sprinkle throughout the night, but the  real jackpot will be the blessed rains at the end.

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 16.02.46Loah, Bello Bar, Dublin, tomorrow ONE of my tips for 2015 in The Star back in the New Year, Loah has been moving from guest appearances to headline slots in the past few months. With one of the most bewitching voices to emerge in years, Loah’s music skirts around the edges of soul and jazz. Her music sheds light on her upbringing between Ireland and Sierra Leone, flitting between loose jazzy inflections and aching chamber music. Tomorrow’s show is part 2 of her Art//Soul concerts, with last night featuring support from Conor Walsh, and special guests Buffalo Woman tomorrow.

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 16.07.04Mother presents We Are Family, District 8, Dublin, tomorrow Even if you haven’t been to gay club Mother’s nights in Dublin, you’ve probably been to their awesome forest dance arena at Body & Soul festival or their pop-up DJ slots. Organisers say they’ll be dancing on the ceiling whatever the result of the referendum — whether it’s celebrating a vote for equality or marking the great efforts of the Yes campaign. Expect celebratory electro, disco and house from Le Galaxie (left) and Jape DJ sets with Mother residents, with a live set from electronic duo Faune.

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 16.11.17DJ Sprinkles + New Jackson, Bar Tengu, Dublin, tomorrow In another impeccable booking from Con Artist promotions’ Out To Lunch series, legendary underground DJ, producer and transgender theorist DJ Sprinkles aka Terre Thaemlitz hits Ireland for the first time. The Tokyo-based artist rails against the mere hedonism of club culture, with a highly politicised back catalogue and DJ style that weaves confrontational dialogue and clipped vocal snippets between deep house, found sounds and electroacoustic passages. With all eyes on the referendum Sprinkles will also be on hand for a Q&A at 10pm to discuss the politics of gender and dancing, before a  four-hour set. Support is from Cait and deep house duo New Jackson — headliners in their own right.

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 16.12.36SWANS, Mandela Hall, Belfast, & Button Factory, Dublin, Monday PEOPLE have been running out of superlatives to pin down Swans ever since they emerged from the shadows of the 80s New York No Wave scene. In their earliest form they were feared as the loudest, the ugliest, the most visceral and nihilistic act imaginable, with scare stories of busted eardrums, vomiting in the front row and locking punters in venues by barring the exits. But after a break of 14 years, chief Swan Michael Gira reactivated the beast in 2010 and they’ve since gained the reputation as simply the most powerful live band on the planet.
Live, Swans is a two-hour tightrope of primal blues, drones, slabs of noise and shuddering tremors, with passages of serene transcendence and physical release. They’ve been touring their To Be Kind LP for a year, but the live show is an ever-evolving entity, shape-shifting into new forms through improvisation and chance mutations, so chances are we’ll be hearing parts of Swans’ follow-up album in the Button Factory.


Original version in Irish Daily Star