JOHNNY MARR, Limelight, Belfast, tonight, and Olympia, Dublin, Sunday
Morrissey’s been treading water, announcing his live retirement and facing a collective snigger over his debut novel – but his old partner Johnny Marr just gets the head down and gets on with it.
The world’s most unassuming guitar god doesn’t jangle so much on his solo albums The Messenger and Playland, preferring an upfront new wave post-punk swagger.
Songs like Easy Money, 25 Hours and Back in the Box are some of the catchiest he’s ever written, and he doesn’t leave Smiths die-hards wanting either.
Expect Panic, Bigmouth Strikes Again and There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – and the guitar sound of How Soon Is Now still sounds like an actual miracle.
ADRIAN CROWLEY, Unitarian Church, Dublin, tonight
The ‘intimate’ gig is often a PR buzzword for a gig in a dive bar, or a big band on the skids having to downsize – but the Unitarian Church really does tick the boxes.
Adrian Crowley’s Some Blue Morning was one of the albums of last year – with its widescreen vistas and poetic interludes recalling Leonard Cohen at his most tender and Scott Walker’s 1-4 albums.
With six other albums to choose from, including Choice album of the year Season of the Sparks, the faithful in the pews will leave enchanted.
MUTOID MAN + NO SPILL BLOOD + 7.5 TONNES OF BEARD, Grand Social, Dublin, tonight
Guitars are set to stun in the Grand Social tonight, with this Sargent House label showcase. It’s a cross-pollination of experimental metal and noise-rock family trees, with members of Converge, Cave In, Adebisi Shank, ASIWYFA, Magic Pockets and more shared among the three bands.
US act Mutoid Man deal out prog metal that’s never too far from frazzled rage. Dublin trio No Spill Blood channel full-throttle Ministry and Death From Above 1979, with cosmic sci-fi synths. Belfast-based 7.5 Tonnes of Beard are the heaviest of the lot – savage down-tuned sludge that retches all over the place.
THE SOFT MOON, Whelan’s, Dublin, Sunday
This is the band Interpol sometimes think they are, and Viet Cong nearly get there. Californian Luis Vasquez takes early 80s post-punk and goth as a starting block, but then irons out all traces of rock with wiry metallic EBM and darkwave touches.
New album Deeper goes heavier on industrial synths, sharing a sound with Prurient’s less mangled creations, or Blackest Ever Black acts like Tropic of Cancer or Black Rain.
They’ve also dragged techno legend Dave Clarke out of semi-remix retirement for his dark electro stamp on Wrong, so extra brownie points there.
DAM FUNK + GASLAMP KILLER, Sugar Club, Dublin, Thursday
If you’re going to call yourself Dam Funk, you better live up to your name. Thankfully Californian Damon Garrett Riddick lays the funk on with all the subtlety of Prince and Rick James. This isn’t fusion in the style of Flying Lotus’s You’re Dead! compositions or Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly interludes – it’s a full-on shimmering far out funk transmission. His new album Invite the Light ends the long wait since 2009’s Toeachizown, proving it wasn’t a one-off or a fluke.
And to make an even bigger night of it, Choice Cuts have roped in the Gaslamp Killer for a double-header, for some experimental beats on the outer reaches of the hip-hop scale.
FATHER JOHN MISTY, Roisin Dubh, Galway, Thursday
Father John Misty’s January gigs sold out in no time after his album I Love You, Honeybear had only been out a few weeks, and this latest round was secured before he even played back then.
J. Tillman’s solo tripped-out alter-ego allows him to throw some glitter and blockbuster production values over his early rustic folk, much like Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s technicolor Palace Music forays.
I Love You Honeybear — his second as Father John Misty — is an opulent widescreen collection that hits folk and country at right angles, with just the right amount of Lambchop, Elton John and overblown 70s prog among his psychedelic deconstructions of the love song.