Irish gigs of the week

LEE “SCRATCH” PERRY: The Limelight 2 Belfast, tonight, Friday 17th (£22.50) & Whelan’s, Dublin, Sunday (25).
Jamaican legend Lee Scratch Perry is 81 in a few days, but he’s still got the mischievous glint of a teenager and a head full of cavernous dub dread.

From his 1970s Black Ark studio, Perry, along with fellow alchemist King Tubby, invented dub out of reggae’s bare bones, twisting and shape-shifting beats and deep space in a constant haze of smoke — and kinda invented the remix in the process.

His live sets may ramble these days, but there probably isn’t an MC alive with his gift of grabbing infinite lines from the cosmos.

DAVID HOLMES: The Sugar Club, Dublin, tonight, Friday 17th (€17.50)
Too many DJs claim to be eclectic when they maybe play techno AND house, but David Holmes is Ireland’s OG of the truly out-there selectors.

Tonight he’s turning the Sugar Club into God’s Waiting Room, promising a “roundabout selection of the cinematic, library music, rock’n’roll, psych, experimental, unclassifiable and the independent”.

After kickstarting Belfast’s techno scene in the early 90s, Holmes sidestepped into soundtracks with This Film’s Crap Let’s Slash the Seats and one of the most freewheeling BBC Essential mixes of the decade. That cinematic drive remains, on his albums, film scores and recent mixes on NTS radio.

In an interview with me two years ago he said he’s “too fuckin old to make a bunch of 20-year-olds dance”, so tonight’s set will be light on techno and heavy on the outer limits.

YOUNG BLOOD SHOWCASE: National Concert Hall, Dublin, tomorrow, Saturday 18th (18)
This showcase of young hip-hop, offbeat pop and poetry has just been given a last-minute boost in the wake of (pictured) Rusangano Family’s Choice Music Prize win last week — but there’s plenty else on bill to jolt your weekend back to life again after Paddy’s Day.

As well as Rusangano Family’s psychedelic hip-hop collages by mynameisjOhn and infectious rhymes and livewire antics by God Knows and MuRli, the NCH will also be bombarded by bouncy hip-hop trio Hare Squead, experimental spoken word MC Kojey Radical, Dublin poet and playwright Stephen James Smith and singer-songwriter Katie Laffan.

MELJOANN + EVERYTHING SHOOK: Tivoli Backstage Bar, Dublin, Sunday 19th (10)
Ireland’s newest festival of experimental electronic music, Open Ear returns to Sherkin Island in Cork over the June bank holiday after gushing praise from the few hundred happy campers who made the trip last year.

This new Ears Open series is a chance to reconnect with Open Ear affiliates away from the festival, and “a chance to forge new links while strengthening existing ones”.

Headliner is Brighton-based Irish electronic producer and singer Meljoann, who makes wonky, nervy pop with a wickedly wry sense of humour.

Her brilliant new glitch-pop single Personal Assistant sounds like Robyn and Kraftwerk’s Numbers processed through a 90s modem.

Also on the bill are Dublin trio Everything Shook, whose offbeat synth creations recall Fever Ray and Ladytron at a melancholy 4am disco with David Lynch DJing.

NAPALM DEATH: Dolan’s, Limerick, tonight, Friday 17th SOLD OUT & Voodoo Lounge, Dublin tomorrow (23.50) & The Limelight 2, Belfast, Sunday 19th (£20)
UK grindcore metal icons Napalm Death are one of the most joyously vile bands of the last 30 years, taking Slayer and Metallica’s thrash bones and forcing them through a festering mincer, with a side of death-growled anarchist rants.

Their 1987 track You Suffer is officially the shortest song ever recorded at 1.316 seconds, and most of the songs on their 16 albums don’t pass the two-minute mark, with riffs  like swarming wasps and blast beats drilling into your ears.

Their newest single is called Cesspits, so they haven’t mellowed any, but fans classics like Scum, Mentally Murdered and Dead Kennedys’ Nazi Punks Fuck Off are the ultimate moshpit timebombs.

MUSIC FOR 18 MACHINES: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, tomorrow, Saturday 18th (18)
Two years ago Crash Ensemble and Bang on a Can performed composer Steve Reich’s masterpiece Music For 18 Musicians at the NCH and I’m still popping goosebumps from that night.

Last year, on the 40th anniversary of the landmark minimalist piece, Irish electronic musicians Simon Cullen (Lasertom, pictured) and Neil O’Connor (Somadrone) reimagined it for 18 synths — a debt of gratitude for its influence on electronic music, with its hypnotic phasing and ever-evolving pulses and cycles.

After its debut last year, the pair are returning to the NCH to perform the piece again as part of the St Patrick’s Festival, with an interpretative visual installation.

RICK ASTLEY: Waterfront Hall, Belfast, Monday, SOLD OUT & Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Tuesday, SOLD OUT
NO MATTER how cool you think your gig plans are for the week, you’ve just been Rickrolled with a tip to go see the biggest living music meme — beating even Drake and Lionel Richie.

Beyond the infuriating — but still funny — joke of tagging his cheeseball 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up to unlikely web links, Astley won’t mean much to younger music fans. But the over-30s still have a soft spot for his exaggerated baritone, shuffly dad dancing and baggy beige suits.

A quick YouTube hunt confirms you can expect the Stock, Aitken & Waterman 80s pop like Never Gonna Give you up and Together Forever, as well as some end-of-pier banter and some WTF covers — AC/DC’s Highway To Hell for starters, and Sweet Home Alabama.

RIDE: The Limelight, Belfast, Tuesday 21st (£26.50) & Olympia Theatre, Wednesday 22nd (34.50)
A Few years ago Ride frontman Mark Gardener said the band would never reunite, preserving the legacy of the 90s shoegaze pioneers in psychedelic noise, distortion and beautifully abstract album covers.

But after the return of Slowdive, preceded by My Bloody Valentine, the Oxford act reformed in full as a live concern — first on the festival circuit including a show at Electric Picnic 2015, and now this headline tour.

Like The Jesus and Mary Chain, they’re not just back to collect the ticket money, but have a new album on the way — their first since 1996.

New singles Home is a Feeling and Charm Assault are two hazy comfort blankets that ease the nerves while waiting for the LP.

  • Published in The Irish Daily Star