GHOSTFACE KILLAH, Button Factory, Dublin, Tonight, Friday 29th
It’s tough being a Wu-Tang fan these days. Their 2014 album A Better Tomorrow was an over-produced mess, with a few syrupy tracks that border on Disney balladry, and they’ve spent the last two years in a mortifying beef with Big Pharma ghoul Martin Shkreli, who bought the supposed only physical copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for $2 million.
The Wu are also currently trying to pass off an album of odds and ends called The Saga Continues as genuine product, but no one’s having it. Ghostface is the most stand-up Clan member, though — still releasing solid albums and muscling in on guest features with his hyper delivery and unending gift for a tall story.
His most recent albums Twelve Reasons to Die I & II and 36 Seasons are as strong as any Wu release in the last 20 years, but this will probably be a nostalgia trip. Expect loads of medleys of his own Wu bars and solo cuts, and let’s hope he does Triumph, Da Mystery of Chessboxin’, Ice Cream and his greatest ever guest verse, on GZA’s 4th Chamber.
HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES, Various Dublin venues, tonight, Friday 29th – tomorrow
Hard Working Class Heroes launched last night at the Chocolate Factory, with keynote interviews with New Yorker music journalist John Seabrook and Richard Jones of Key Music Management, who’s looked after Pixies, PJ Harvey and the Spice Girls, among many others.
The opening night frames HWCH as a proper music conference event rather than a straight-up gig marathon, but it’s that too.
As well as industry networking and workshops, there are 50 gigs over the two days, at the Workmans Club, Grand Social, The Underground, the Tara Building, and the new Tramline venue.
Make sure to catch Bad Bones, Sleep Thieves, Bitch Falcon, Loah and Soule – who’s also been booked for the famous Dutch music conference Eurosonic in the new year.
BOXED OFF FESTIVAL, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co Meath, Tomorrow, Saturday 30th
You might’ve thought you’d put festivals to bed for the winter, but Boxed Off has just sneaked in to tempt you again.
The all-day electronic music festival is going into its third edition, with organisers saying it’s their biggest production yet, and they have the blockbuster guests to back up that claim.
Stand-out big names include Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills, UK house don Hot Since 82, dubstep figurehead-turned anything goes party animal Skream, and Dublin electro and techno hero Defekt.
There are plenty of buses from the city centre, which return after it finishes at Fairyhouse at 11pm. And don’t worry if that’s too early, the afters at District 8, the Button Factory, Wah Wah Club and Grand Social mean no one will be at a loose end.
SHELLAC, Tivoli, Dublin, tomorrow, 25; Limelight, Belfast, Sunday
Steve Albini is one of the last real DIY independent punk rock guys. In fact the last time I saw Shellac live I bought a T-shirt off him from a bin bag at the side of the stage. Even if he had never picked up a guitar, he’d be an alt-rock legend through his engineering work on albums by Nirvana, Low, Helmet, Jesus, Fugazi and about 1,500 others.
After calling time on his 80s noise bands Rapeman and Big Black, Albini has focused on Shellac since 1992, sporadically releasing albums and occasionally touring – and they’re the first band added to the line-up of Primavera Barcelona every year.
Like his own favourite bands, Shellac go for noise and tension over melody, with wiry, angular riffs, rattling percussion and lyrics shot through with cynicism. Their last album Dude Incredible was released in 2014, so with no new record they’ll be doing an overview – with their 2000 album 1000 Hurts getting the lion’s share.
RUSSELL CROWE’S INDOOR GARDEN PARTY Olympia, Dublin, Sunday
There aren’t many actors who can pull off rock’n’roll, with Jared Leto maybe the most ‘legit’ Hollywood star-turned frontman, with his Thirty Seconds To Mars emo sideline. Remember, it’s all relative, and Thirty Seconds of Mars are shite. The likes of Johnny Depp, Kiefer Sutherland and Tim Robbins get gigs, but they’re probably calling in favours all over.
Russell Crowe has been playing for years, and spent over a decade in his blues rock bar band Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts. He was also a psycho Nazi punk in his breakthrough film, the cult clas – sic Romper Stomper.
His latest band Indoor Garden Party is a much more wholesome proposition — safe and pleasant acoustic-led rock with shades of Counting Crows and a few trad licks. He’s been joined on stage in the past by Sting and Hugh Jackman, but in the Olympia it’s officially just his backing band — but you’d bet on him bringing out a few special guests. Probably Bono though…
- Irish Daily Star, September 29, 2017