Irish gigs round-up

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 15.05.55MULATU ASTATKE: The Sugar Club, Dublin, Monday & Tuesday.
You might think Ethiopian jazz is down some obscure rabbit hole you’d never stumble on, but there’s a good chance you’ve come across the work of Mulatu Astatke indirectly.

Known as the father of Ethio-jazz, Astatke is known for his 70s albums, with him leading on vibraphone, and combining the jazz-funk of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis with Latin jazz and traditional Ethiopian music.

Mulatu got a second wind in the 90s when his solo LPs and Ethiopiques compilations were rinsed for samples, and he’s since appeared on beats by Nas, Kanye West, Madlib and Cut Chemist, among others.

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 15.06.47ROYAL BLOOD, 3Arena, Dublin, Sunday
Two-piece Royal Blood make an even bigger racket than the White Stripes, and have no problem filling arenas armed with just a drum kit and a versatile distorted bass.

But while the White Stripes strip-mined the primal Delta blues greats for inspiration, Brighton duo Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher are straight-up classic rock fan boys, opting for souped-up riffs from the Led Zeppelin songbook. They even got a we’re not worthy shout-out from guitar god Jimmy Page, who said they were “taking rock into a new realm”.

Their influences are even more pronounced on new album How Did We Get So Dark, which sounds more like early Queens of the Stone Age than the actual new QOTSA album.

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 15.07.32QUEEN & ADAM LAMBERT,  3Arena, Dublin, tomorrow; SSE Arena, Belfast, Sunday
It takes some balls for a band to carry on after losing a singer – especially when your frontman was the actual rock’n’roll superhero Freddie Mercury.

After Freddie’s death in 1991, Brian May and Roger Taylor kept the band’s legacy alive with reissues, occasional guest appearances and an eventual hook-up with croaky classic rocker Paul Rodgers of Free from 2004-2009.

But while Rodgers was all bombast and chest-beating, current frontman Adam Lambert is a better fit — an X Factor graduate who’s got the feather boa flamboyance and the high notes, but without Freddie it really does seem like high-production karaoke.

Still, the band never had the balls to say Freddie was being replaced — and we’re really left with the best Queen tribute band on Earth.

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 15.08.19Kasabian: 3Arena, Dublin, Tuesday
It seemed like Kasabian had one foot in the indie landfill site in recent years — with dwindling crowds and half-assed festival headline slots a world away from their 2014 Glastonbury headliner.

But while they played the relatively small Olympia in April this year, they also topped the CHSq in Belfast’s huge outdoor space in Custom House Square in the summer, and they’re back at the 3Arena.

Earlier this year guitarist Serge Pizzorno said their latest album For Crying Out Loud is “about saving guitar music from the abyss”, which is a spit out your tea moment, but it does have a few experimental edges beyond their big chant-along choruses. Still, the money shots will be the big ones like Shoot the Runner and Club Foot.


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