SHINE EASTER MONDAY, Mandela Hall, Belfast, Monday, SOLD OUT
Proving the Belfast techno institution isn’t on a whopper hangover after its 20 years of Shine series that finished off 2015, they’ve hit the bullseye again.
Shine’s annual Easter Monday bash is traditionally its biggest party of the year, and tickets for this are long gone.
It’s a pretty solid roster for the bank holiday, with Chicago legend Green Velvet (pictured) heading North after his takeover of Dublin’s Academy on Paddy’s Eve. Expect his trademark clipped techno and house and some mic action. Dense & Pika will be dusting the wood chippings off their boots after Glendalough for the trip to Belfast, and Glasgow header Jackmaster will be on the house gems, many from the vaults. You can bet your fanciest Lindt Easter egg he’ll be knocking round the pubs on a rollover the next day.
JACK GARRATT, Olympia, Dublin, Wednesday, SOLD OUT.
Jack Garratt is the BBC Sound of 2016 but that doesn’t have to be an automatic leapfrog into the big league, or any cred. Looking back over previous winners, for every Adele, Sam Smith or Ellie Goulding, you’ll have The Bravery, Corinne Bailey-Rae and (seriously, look it up) Mika.
Garratt seems to be a bankable bet — with earnest bluesy torch songs and added electronic production, like a more earthy, folky James Blake.
The sound of 2016 is finally grime, but the BBC wasted Novelist and Stormzy as candidates last year, choosing Years and Years.
But in the meantime, they haven’t dropped the ball with Garratt — this sold out even after it was moved from the Academy, and he’ll be back for the Picnic.
BD FESTIVAL, Glendalough, Wicklow, today, €65.85
Never underestimate our efforts to have an epic session when we’re not allowed to.
Taking on Ireland’s daft Good Friday no-drinking laws, Barn Dance (BD) is a BYOB bash that revels in the illicit.
Glendalough has been turned into a woodland rave, and promoters have been drip-feeding tantalising photos all week. You’ll know the drill if you’ve been to Body & Soul or the outskirts of the Picnic.
The line-up is heavy on house and techno, with Dimitri From Paris, Mylo, Dense & Pika (pictured), Kaily and Decent Perks. But there’s also some daft 90s nostalgia from Smash Hits, and RSAG, Punchface Champions, Mutefish and Heroes In Hiding if you don’t fancy all the bleeps. Check bdfestival.ie for all the acts and the logistics.
JESS GLYNNE, Olympia, Dublin,Thursday, SOLD OUT
Jess Glynne is responsible for singing on Clean Bandit’s way-outplayed Rather Be — a song you’re never more than an hour away from hearing. Rather Be was a handy springboard — in the year after that release she’s had No1 singles in her native UK, making the leap from featured artist to solo singer on the back of a classic dance diva voice.
She can go between the huge cheesy chart house of Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself, and Adele-style heartstrings on the likes of Take Me Home, but she’s also been playing Amy Winehouse tracks live, as well as dance-pop classics like Ce Ce Penniston’s Finally. And that takes some serious guts.
Gregory Porter, Ulster Hall, Belfast, Thursday, £44
Jazz is having a big moment in pop’s outer limits these days, with Kendrick Lamar diving into fusion for his album To Pimp A Butterfly, and artists like Shabazz Palaces, Thundercat and Brainfeeder boss Flying Lotus running with templates laid down by Herbie Hancock and Sun-Ra.
But where these artists fray the ends of experimentation, Gregory Porter’s Grammy-winning album Liquid Spirit just blanks the last 40 or 50 years of popular music.
That’s no bad thing really — Liquid Spirit is a worthy addition to iconic label Blue Note. It’s smooth without curdling into schmaltz, and its brushed drums, simple comforting solos and effortless keys never get in the way of Porter’s stunningly good baritone.