THE BREEDERS: Vicar Street, Dublin, Monday
The last time The Breeders went on tour they couldn’t resist doing the now-obligatory 20th anniversary album shows that any self-respecting 1990s alt-rock band goes for.
The band took their breakthrough LP Last Splash on the road in the US and Europe, including a show at Vicar Street – but this time it’s not a full-on nostalgia-fest.
Like frontwoman Kim Deal’s former band Pixies, The Breeders have had to record new songs to excuse the comeback.
Wait in the Car is the first in a series of 7-inches, and it’s a great two-minute skuzzy garage track that’ll ease fans’ nerves — but most people here will be showing up for Cannonball, Divine Hammer and the rest.
THE DARKNESS: Dolan’s, Limerick, tonight; The Academy, Dublin, tomorrow; The Limelight, Belfast, Sunday
I still get grim flashbacks to trudging past the main stage at Oxegen 2003 seeing the Darkness in place of David Bowie who’d cancelled – one of the true horror stories in Irish festival history. The scene is even more tragic in Bowie’s absence.
But it was hardly the fault of the Darkness, who were huge at the time — good-natured cock-rock goofballs who were playing the guitar god thing like a cheesy pantomime.
Well over a decade later, they’ve already had their drugs mess-ups, an extended hiatus and three records since their return in 2012.
New one Pinewood Smile is 36 minutes long so it gets to the point immediately — that point being that the last 30-odd years of music never happened and classic rock riffs and squealing geetar solos will save the day.
JOOLS HOLLAND and HIS RHYTHM & BLUES ORCHESTRA: Waterfront Hall Auditorium, Belfast, tonight; 3Arena, Dublin, tomorrow
Jools Holland’s jaunty piano man schtick isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – Mark E Smith of The Fall once said he’d only agree to play if he didn’t have to duet with the former Squeeze man: “No boogie-woogie piano, Mister Holland.”
But still, the English veteran’s pop cultural clout is set in stone, after 20 years of his Later… show, the most consistent live format TV show still running, that’s hosted countless legends and legends in the making.
So he’s mostly known for jamming on the keys with everyone from Bowie to Jay-Z and Joe Strummer, but his own music will be on show in these shows, with a few choice covers.
Latest album piano is full of good-time piano boppers with titles like Bumble Boogie, Bang and Pop and Red Ragtime, and he’ll add blues and ska to the mix here.
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN: Vicar Street, Dublin, Tuesday.
Glasgow brothers Jim and William Reid were like the Gallagher brothers of 80s indie — creating some of the hyped music of the decade while still at each other’s throats.
But while Liam and Noel plundered the back catalogues of the Beatles and the Kinks, The Jesus and Mary Chain were in thrall to 50s doo-wop, Spector’s wall of sound and psychedelic pop.
It’s only six months since The Jesus and Mary Chain last played Vicar Street, so it seems the band are a proper going concern after a few years in comeback nostalgia limbo. Their first album since 1998, Damage and Joy, is a nod to the band’s classic debut Psychocandy — which will please just about everyone in Vicar Street.
J.COLE: 3Arena, Dublin, Wednesday
While everyone has been losing the plot over the imminent arrival of Kendrick Lamar to Dublin next year, another 3Arena gig by another prominent socially-conscious rapper has been sidelined slightly.
North Carolina MC Cole is touring his latest album 4 Your Eyez Only, playing ‘in the round’ in the middle of the floor, looking like he’s ready for 12 rounds in a boxing ring, wearing an orange inmate jumpsuit.
Don’t expect him to race through the hit without taking some time outs to ‘discuss’ the absolute state of his country.