Gigs of the week: May 13-19

HOT 8 BRASS BAND, Sugar Club, Dublin, tonight and tomorrow, both SOLD OUT
There’s always one of your mates banging on about some cover band they saw at a festival doing quirky versions of pop hits. But Hot 8 Brass Band are one of the best out there, and they’re on the road with two sold-out shows on their 20th anniversary to prove it.

The New Orleans crew got a worldwide audience in Spike Lee’s polemic Hurricane Katrina documentary in When the Levees Break in 2006, but they’d been heroes in their home city for a decade. For 20 years they’ve been playing in New Orleans second line parades, traditional jazz funerals and local clubs, but their take on house, hip-hop, soul and punk has given them plenty air miles.

It’ll be tough to get them all 15 of them on the Sugar Club stage, so they’ll hit the floor at some point. Expect their joyous calling card covers of Basement Jaxx’s Bingo Bango, The Specials’ Ghost Town, Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing, anf hopefully they’ll finish with When the Saints Go Marching In.

You feel a bit sorry for the Irish Booka Brass Band opening, but they’re still Dublin headliners and festival faves in their own right. Still, it’s kinda reminds me of The Blizzards having to open for AC/DC at Punchestown a few years ago.


ONEMAN, Opium Rooms, Dublin, tomorrow, €10
London DJ Oneman can often be found back to back with Glasgow header Jackmaster, so you’ve a good idea of the party he’ll bring tonight, as well as some corner of Dublin after the show.

Originally getting a leg up in the dubstep scene, he thankfully didn’t join the numbskull arms race that spiralled to the bottom in a mess of chundering bass and high fives in bro vests.

Steve Bishop grew up listening to garage and two-step, so he was able to bypass the macho dubstep path – reverting back to dub, dancehall, house and hip-hop and grime into his freewheeling sets. He’s been with Rinse FM for 10 years, and that’s a good place to start to get an idea, as well as his b2b sets with Jackmaster online. Or actually just go tonight, that’s a better place to start.


LITTLE GREEN CARS, Big Top, Limerick, tonight, €22.90 & Cork Opera House, tomorrow, €25
Dubliners Little Green Cars are one of the better new Irish guitar bands — more sensitive and sophisticated than the retro indie-rock that’s still hanging on in Britain, but without the beige schmaltz of Kodaline and The Script.

They’re just back from a two-month stretch in the States for their second album Ephemera, and these two shows follow a gig in Galway last night, before their big homecoming gig at Iveagh Gardens in July.

Ephemera follows on from the catchy exuberance of their debut Absolute Zero, with more introspective and subdued takes on bereavement, break-ups and the obsession with collective happiness.

Still, Easier Day is one of the catchiest indie singles of the year, its London Grammar / The xx intro giving way to a full-on Fleetwood Mac defiant singalong chorus.


CATFISH & THE BOTTLEMEN, Olympia, Dublin, Monday, €26.90
Catfish and the Bottlemen formed in 2007 but they’re only getting big now — maybe proof that the backlash against landfill indie is starting to subside.

The Welsh act are feeding on the cast-offs of every 5/10 indie band of the last 20 years — impish nasally vocals, third hand riffs and stadium choruses signposted from miles away.

They make Arctic Monkeys sound like Swans — so of course they won this year’s BRITs British Breakthrough act. If your music year-zero is Razorlight or The Kooks, this’ll be perfect.


MIKE PETERS presents THE ALARM, Academy 2, Dublin, Thursday, €18
IN A parallel universe or with a better break in the States, The Alarm could’ve gone the distance with U2 — or at least Simple Minds. Mike Peters’ band supported U2 on the War tour in the US, and he even shared a dodgy mullet with Bono for much of the 80s.
New wave alt-rock hits like 68 Guns and Spirit of 76 once filled stadiums, but Peters’ gigs have been a lot cosier in the last few decades. He and fellow Alarm founder Dave Sharp split in 1991 and he’s been using a high turnover backing band on sporadic tours since.
He’s battled cancer three times in the last decade, and the latest tour is just an example of an old guard rocker who won’t lie down.


WORD UP COLLECTIVE #3, Bello Bar, Dublin, Thursday, €5
Word Up is one of the most promising Irish collectives to emerge recently, gathering together a loose group of rappers, hip-hop producers, R&B singers and young leftfield pop movers and shakers.

They’ve set up a monthly showcase at Dublin’s Bello Bar and this edition features headliner AikJ, who’s at the sleek R&B and pop end of the scale. He’ll be launching his single Suite Life, which could easily sneak into the charts with a bit of a push.

Also in the bill you’ve got Dublin MC Damola, as well as hip-hop crew Nuxsense and solo artists Huva, Sean X and Dammy Ari.