Gigs of the week: March 18-24


Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 22.43.52BATTLES, Button Factory, Dublin, Tuesday, SOLD OUT
Rarely do bands hit that sweet spot between the head at the gut. Battles get nine tenths of the way there on record, but on stage they’re the full house — cerebral and thrillingly visceral.
With elements of jazz, math-rock, electronica, post-punk, post-metal, post-rock (all the posts), they’re one of the best live bands of the last decade.
Their guitars sound like synths, and their synths sound like guitars, and it’s all battered into next week by John Stanier’s superhuman drumming.
Third album La Di Da Di ditches the patchy idea of the guest vocals on 2010’s Gloss Drop, for a more streamlined suckerpunch.
If you didn’t score a ticket for this sold out show, they’ll be back in May for Forbidden Fruit.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 22.46.54LITTLE GREEN CARS, Whelan’s, Dublin, tonight and tomorrow, SOLD OUT
Three years after a bunch of Dublin teens landed as a fully-formed big deal with their debut album Absolute Zero, they’ve just released a follow-up that’s mature way beyond their years.
Ephemera is a difficult second album only by its writing and recording amid bereavement and relationship break-ups. This time it’s personal — more sombre and introspective than the debut, although lead single Easier Day is their most epic track to date.
Catch them at these genuinely intimate gigs, before they head to the States for a 40-date tour, and a summer show at the Iveagh Gardens.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 22.48.48FAKE BLOOD, Opium Rooms, Dublin, tomorrow, €10
After the full-on house techno invasion on Paddy’s Eve in Dublin, featuring Green Velvet, Andrew Weatherall, Phil Hartnoll, Intergalactic Gary and Todd Terry at various venues, fair play if you’re still on for some bleeps this weekend.
British DJ and producer Theo Keating aka Fake Blood has been over here many times — mostly on festival bills — and he’s set for a solid few hours in Opium Rooms tomorrow.
He missed a show last October in Hangar after “screwing” his leg, so he’ll be out to make amends. Expect plenty of wiry house and electro and a few tangents.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 22.50.59DAITHI, Cyprus Avenue, Cork, tomorrow, €10
MIXING trad instruments with 4/4 beats has rarely had any kind of a success rate — from mortifying remixes of the Fields of Athenry to the facepalm of Avicii’s Wake Me Up as Gaeilge. Clare man Daithi walks the tightrope and just about stays on — with his fiddle-electronica coming off as an organic hybrid rather than a gimmick.
In fairness, he deals largely in classic house with guest vocalists, with fiddle solos adding an extra virtuoso flourish and a nice live visual cue.
New EP Tribes isn’t a big departure from his 2014 debut album In Flight — melodic breezy house, clean arpeggiated synth lines and well-signposted drops. It’s maybe a bit too polite, but he’s an infectious performer.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 22.53.10HEATHER SMALL, Vicar Street, Dublin, Sunday, €54.65
My teenage jaw rattled against the floor when M People won the 1994 Mercury Prize over Therapy? And The Prodigy, even beating Blur and Pulp just as Britpop was taking hold.
Some 20 years later, M People do the odd nostalgia tour, but singer Heather Small is still belting out their biggest hits, in her, ahem, unique voice that was made for the Marmite analogy.
Definitely one for the 90s throwback kind, expect all the chart smashes like Search For the Hero, Movin’ On Up and Sight For Sore eyes.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 22.54.16THE 1975, 3Arena, Dublin, Thursday, €34
Half the chatter about the 1975 is based around whether they’re some phony boyband or Duran Duran wannabe rip-offs, with less talk about the actual music.
It’s true, they’ve got some pretty vocal fans on social media, and are so rooted in early 80s pop you can only picture them in suit jackets with three-quarter sleeves playing those guitars with no heads.
Pisstaking aside, they’re nowhere as cheesy as the slagging suggests.
Among the Simon Le Bon affectations, fretless bass and Casio handclaps, there’s plenty of interesting electronic confection to binge on.
If not a patch on Duran Duran, Japan or Let’s Dance-era Bowie, they’re at least a pretty solid Level 42.
Even with all the stick for being ironic and pretentious, they still have a load of fun with it — calling their second album I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It.