NILS FRAHM, National Concert Hall, Dublin, Monday
German pianist and avant-garde composer Nils Frahm has had a few striking performances in ireland in recent years — his last NCH appearance and a transcendent concert at Belfast City Hall stand out.
Whether it’s sprinting between analogue synths or playing an organ with toilet brushes, the Berliner is one of the great neoclassical performers.
His new album All Melody broadens his palette, with nods to jazz, ambient, electronica and even gentle deep house — and he’s taking a huge home made pipe organ on tour that’s too big to fit on the stage.
SEAL, Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Sunday
The jazz standards route is usually the only option left when X Factor relics, boybands or Rod Stewart run out of ideas, so Seal’s new album Standards is a bit of a wild card. He even released a Santa Claus Is Coming to Town ‘duet’ with Sinatra before Christmas.
There’ll always be a bang of karaoke about these albums, and you’s always imagined Seal was too aloof for such capers – with a back catalogue full of electronic soul-pop like Crazy, Killer to call on.
Then again, Seal’s voice is still damn miraculous, and Standards has arrangements by Nick Patrick, who worked with Tina Turner and Marvin Gaye – so the likes of I Put a Spell On You, My Funny Valentine and Smile ooze big band class with him steering the wheel.
THE STRANGLERS, Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Thursday
The Stranglers’ Golden Brown is one of the great songs about heroin that’s been hiding in plain sight for decades – joining Lust For Life, Comfortably Numb Under the Bridge and others on dad rock playlists and bank ads.
Golden Brown – and other loose, inventive songs like Peaches and No More Heroes – elevated The Stranglers above the other gobby punk also-rans who had to keep pogoing for fear of dying off. The Stranglers’ more refined and sophisticated compositions already sounded like post-punk in 1977, so they don’t have to pretend they’re teenage shitheads on tour 40 years later. It’s a punk heritage gig without the morto.
And in one of the best gig bonuses of the year, support is by Therapy?, the Antrim noise-punks who are back turning everything up to 11 after their acoustic tour Wood & Wire.
- Irish Daily Star