SIGUR ROS, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin, Sunday.
The last time we had some glacial Icelandic tuneage up at Kilmainham it was Forbidden Fruit highlights Kiasmos. But this time we’re not expecting anyone from Sigur Ros to be fist-pumping on top of the speakers, even if their country is going as mad as ours over last-16 Euros qualification.
For 20 years, Sigur Ros have been a byword for lofty and graceful transcendence, nominally given a ‘post-rock’ banner, but that’s always seemed a bit reductive.
The first time they headlined Electric Picnic in 2008 they didn’t quite hit the buzz on the Main Stage, but since then their music has grown in expanse, stature and acclaim, with a spectacular visual show that’s evolved with each album.
A few clips of their recent Primavera performance should seal the deal for anyone on the fence about going.
INTERLUDE FESTIVAL, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, tonight-Sunday.
The first ever Interlude Festival kicked off last October, but the organisers didn’t fancy waiting a full year for another one, so they stuck it in the middle of the summer instead.
The first edition had Tom Middleton, Lasertom, Wounded Healer and Justin Robertson, but this year there’s less of an
electronic buzz. You’ve still got Crazy P, Kenny Dope (pictured), Dimitri From Paris and Billy Scurry among others for the bleeps, but the likes of Lisa Hannigan, Wyvern Lingo and Booka Brass Band even it out.
There’s also showcases from Nialler9 and Paul McLoone, who know well by now how to curate a stage.
Keep an eye out for Bad Bones aka Dublin electronic experimentalist Sal Stapleton, one of the most interesting emerging acts on the bill, who’s cut from the same cloth as FKA Twigs or a more leftfield Robyn.
And because it’s in the RHA, expect some quality art installations, and there’s also a dedicated food court sponsored by justeat.ie.
ROD STEWART, Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, tomorrow.
It’s always funny when heritage acts go on the road and call it ‘The Hits’ tour, as if there’s any chance they’d come on stage at a stadium and play some free jazz or experimental electronica to test the booing audience.
But quintessential croaky crooner Rod has struck gold calling this expedition The Hits Tour — it’s long sold out, and if you’re a weekend blow-in without a hotel the Kilkenny tourist office has nothing to offer apart from hotels two counties away.
In fairness, Rod does indeed have The Hits — you’ll know half the setlist even if you’ve never stuck on one of his albums. It’ll just be a big karaoke as he bangs out Maggie May, You’re In My Heart, Tonight’s the Night and all the rest. And of course his most brilliantly daft song Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?.
LISA O’NEILL, Dolan’s, Limerick, tomorrow.
Lisa O’Neill’s launch for her third album Pothole In the Sky in Whelan’s last month was one of the most genuinely joyous gigs of the year, as she played the new tracks with an extreme vigour and conviction, with between-song patter bordering on scatterbrained stand-up.
Pothole in the Sky is her strongest album yet — an intense and haunting collection full of black humour and notions of mortality. It’s due another Choice Prize nomination, to follow her previous nods.
Too often folk singers get weighed down by cheesy earnestness, but O’Neill’s leftfield take on trad, folk and Sean-Nos style live performance is a real alternative.
DISCLOSURE, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Tuesday.
I had a bit of a snigger when Fact Mag called Disclosure “dance music’s very own Jedward” last week, but it was more of a term of endearment rather than a sleight on their music.
The brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence have been the path (or the blame, depending on who you ask) to the resurgence of garage-y house music in the charts in the last three or four years, especially with their debut album Settle and its mega singles featuring Sam Smith and Jessie Ware.
They’re at such a level now that they can rope in soul legend Al Green for new track Feel Like I Do, and as festival headliners in their own right, they’ll pull out all the bells and whistles for this one on a school night.
It’s a pity we didn’t get California rapper Vince Staples for his own headline show, or at least a high-up festival spot this season.
Staples’ debut album Summertime ’06 was a ready-made Def Jam classic, and he was apparently the obvious highlight of last year’s Metropolis festival in the RDS, which I missed for some reason, watching bloody Hot Chip (facepalm).
SAUL WILLIAMS, Roisin Dubh, Galway, Tuesday & Sugar Club, Dublin, Thursday.
Part hip-hop freestyle, part slam poetry reading, part mosh session, a Saul Williams gig is always a thrill. The New Yorker is on tour on the back of his new album MartyrLoserKing, another verbose political diatribe with dense production that veers between electronic breakbeats and wiry guitars.
Williams began his career as an open mic poet in the 90s, making a natural shift to music, performing with like-minded artists like KRS-One, De La Soul, Blackalicious and Erykah Badu.
His 2001 debut album Amethyst Rock Star fused furious rhymes and twisted funk, but his 2007 LP with Trent Reznor, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! is a high-point, his most political statement over a Reznor’s NIN-style industrial digital decay. MartyrLoserKing follows the Niggy path, still focused on social justice and protest over frazzled beats. He won’t stop for a break at these gigs.
- Published in Irish Daily Star