SEA SESSIONS, Bundoran, Co Donegal, today till Sunday, SOLD OUT
The air will be a hell of a lot fresher in Bundoran than in the fields of Westmeath for Body & Soul. Sea Sessions has billed itself as a more wholesome festival since it emerged in 2009 — mixing surfing, sandy beach walks and a broad stroke line-up of indie and dance.
There’ll be plenty of surefire highlighter ticks over the weekend, but make sure to catch Le Galaxie tearing it up with their new Le Club album, dub icon Lee “Scratch” Perry (above) and grizzled bluesman Seasick Steve.
AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR, Olympia, Dublin, tonight, & Mandela Hall, Belfast, tomorrow
As a call to arms, Set Guitars To Kill, from ASIWYFA’s debut album could well be a manifesto for their whole output.
The Belfast post-rock act ditch the classic quiet/loud dynamic for a loud-louder-meltdown approach that means their gigs never fail to go off.
Their fourth album Heirs is just as intense as ever, pushing forward elements of math-rock, metal and gang choruses to frantic levels.
BLACK GRAPE, The Academy, Dublin, tonight, The Limelight, Belfast, tomorrow
Shaun Ryder was a write-off for years, with a few decades of druggy excess turning him into a shuffling shell. But fully cleaned up, he’s back with a mantra nicked off Black Grape’s debut album, it’s great when you’re straight…. yeah. Ryder and Kermit and co are marking 20 years with a victory lap that’s been high on jubilation and relief that they can still pull it off. Loads in the hindsight brigade rate Black Grape over the Happy Mondays, with tracks like Reverend Black Grape and In the Name of the Father showing off a surreal psychedelic streak the Mondays had lost by the time they split in 1992.
This’ll be a ramshackle joyous celebration, before heading to Sea Sessions to do it all again.
WELLINGTON WEEKENDER, Workmans Club, Dublin, tonight until Friday
If you’re staying well away from tents and fields this weekend, your best alternative three-dayer is this bash in the Workmans Club. The “zero cash-money for entry proposition” features live acts, DJs and a market selling clothes, trinkets, music and food. There’s also a hot wing challenge thrown in to get your thirst on the go.
Music tonight is from hip-hop collective A Tribe of Nomads, featuring DVO Marvell, Kobina and Simi Crowns (right). Tomorrow, noise-pop duo We Cut Corners headline, while Sunday is topped by Darling’s arena-sized hooks. After that, secure your Monday morning mortification by indulging in some karaoke and dancing to cheese at the Guilty Pleasures disco.
FLEETWOOD MAC, 3Arena, Dublin, tomorrow
Fleetwood Mac are hoovering up the comeback cash at an even greater rate than the infamous coke-sniffing that blew down the house of cards in the first place.
After hitting Dublin in 2013 without Christine McVie, who’d had a “profound battle with stage fright” and left in 1998, the old gang are back together for another run of sold-out arena shows. McVie’s return really does complete the chain, as they had to drop the Tango in the Night songs last time round — and what’s a Fleetwood Mac show without Little Lies and Everywhere? With an arena full of disciples and some of the most unsinkable songs in rock history, this is one for the memory banks.
THE WHO, Odyssey, Belfast, Sunday, & 3Arena, Dublin, Tuesday
Every time there’s a discussion about The Who playing live, you’re never too far away from someone bringing up Roger Daltry’s line from My Generation: “I hope I die before I get old.” It’s always a sneery dig at a bunch of old farts playing music from their teens, hanging on like grim death. But while clown prince drummer Keith Moon was the only one to fulfil that wish, The Who are playing their biggest gigs in decades – topping it off with a Glastonbury headline slot. From proto-punk like The Seeker to proggy classics like Baba O’Riley and Pinball Wizard, they’re bowing out after this year leaving a 50-year legacy in good nick.
VISCONTI & WOODMANSEY, Olympia, Dublin, Wednesday
David Bowie hasn’t played Ireland since 2003, and we even had the horror of The Darkness filling his shoes at Oxegen when he cancelled in 2004. With no real chance of any live shows, the next best thing is a crew who are only one degree of separation away from Ziggy. Spiders From Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey and long-time Bowie producer and bassist Tony Visconti worked together on Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World, and they’re playing the album in full at the Olympia. They’re throwing in a second set of classic glam-era Bowie, when he was changing the world every few weeks. Worth it alone to hear Woody play the iconic drum intro to Five Years. Other band members include Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17, late Spider From Mars Mick Ronson’s daughter Lisa Ronson, with session musicians who’ve worked with The Blockheads, Bob Geldof, Scott Walker and more.
COUNTING CROWS, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin, Wednesday
In the same way Glastonbury gives its fields a break every few years, the grounds of IMMA is well recovered after muddy dance-fest Forbidden Fruit, for some more sedate showcases. After Beck this week, American radio-friendly rockers Counting Crows will be out to inspire some good-natured singalongs to hits like Mr Jones and Accidentally In Love, with some extend ed guitar jams for the musos.
Original version in Irish Daily Star