Irish gigs round-up: September 30 – August 6


screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-16-27-59Bishop Nehru, The Academy Green Room, Dublin, Tuesday
A few years ago when Odd Future were gatecrashing the hip-hop scene with their snotty teen antics and splattercore fantasies, Bishop Nehru was quietly blazing his own trail.

Originally dropping beats on the Odd Future forum, in 2012 he went viral with a freestyle over Mos Def’s Mathematics, and within months he was supporting Wu-Tang Clan, getting stage shout-outs from Nas and Kendrick Lamar, and by 18 he had a full-on LP collaboration with cult masked hip-hop hero DOOM in 2014.

He’s now on tour with his latest mixtape, Magic: 19, a largely self-produced collection with equal nods to ‘Golden Era’ rap beloved of Joey Bada$$ and trap touches without the autotune slurring.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-21-35-07DUA LIPA, The Academy, Dublin, Wednesday.
Teen singer-songwriter Dua Lipa is trying to tick a load of pop boxes at once, but most of them stick.

On first listen, her Sia/Gaga voice grates a bit, but her deft, soft-focus synthetic productions and tribal percussion recalls the pop sheen of Dev ‘Blood Orange’ Hynes on his own tracks and collaborations with Sky Ferreira and Solange.

After a few years of modelling and posting YouTube covers of Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado, she was snapped up by Warner Bros in 2015 and it looks like they’re aiming big.

She’s already been on the BBC Sound of 2016 longlist and picked up plenty of praise for her slick festival slots.

With her debut album not out until next year, fans will have to make do with her live shows and instantly hashtaggable singles like Hotter Than Hell and Blow Your Mind (Mwah), which does actually have the kiss effect in the song.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-21-35-48CORK FOLK FESTIVAL, Various venues, on till Sunday
This annual favourite began on Wednesday, but there’s plenty of music in various haunts around the city over the weekend.

Now in it’s 37th year, the Cork Folk Festival goes off in concert halls, music venues, 30 bars and spills out onto the streets — and it’s known as one of the top sessions of the year.

There’s loads to sift through, with various prices, but ones that stand out are local hero Mick Flannery, Dublin alt-trad renegades Lynched (pictured), mystical English folk act The Unthanks, trad crew Buttons & Bows and bluegrass /trad crossover act We Banjo 3.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-21-36-46KING KONG COMPANY, The Academy, Dublin, tonight
Waterford act King Kong Company’s profile gets bumped up after every festival season, and they’re just about to play their biggest headline show yet.

The six-piece have been around since the 90s, with a big split in between, but their dubby, electronic, brassy crossover antics have been really taking root in the last few years, hoovering up new fans.

There’s a chance they’ll spill over and become as omnipresent as Le Galaxie, but enjoy their ape masks, megaphones  and crash test dummy dancing while their gigs are still rare-ish.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-21-37-23The Unthanks, Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, tomorrow
These days there’s a pretty lax policy on what passes for folk, but thankfully the The Unthanks are way off the X Factor-ready fluff like James Bay or Mumford & Sons.

Singers Rachel and Becky Unthank dig deeper than mopey Coldplay CDs for a darker, more mystical take on folk, with a direct line to 60s proggy acts like Pentangle and Fairport Convention, with a hint of paganism.

They’ve just wrapped up their own festival, with guests including Richard Hawley, jazz-fusion legends The Headhunters and a performance of minimalist composer Steve Reich’s Different Trains, so that’s another nod to their influences.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-21-37-55Level 42, Waterfront, Belfast, tomorrow; Vicar Street, Dublin, Sunday
Dad rock is a label that’s as morto as Enda Kenny doing air guitar to Bruce — but what about dad funk?

Level 42 were never even cool back in the day, looking like yuppie estate agents or crap boring uncles who were no craic at weddings.

But if humanity is allowing a nu-metal revival to happen right now, there’s also room for a Level 42 reappraisal.

The elaborate jazz-funk basslines and pristine uber-produced synths and horns are only a few degrees of separation away from Herbie Hancock’s mid-80s pop, and Runs in the Family and Lessons in Love are total belters for a bit of 80s finger-click dancing.

While we’re at it, Hot Water could easily slot into an DJ set by Optimo or the Glimmers. I’ll stop here before I’m in way too deep, but this’ll be a laugh.