Steve Davis leads the Irish gigs highlighter

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 08.12.17STEVE DAVIS, Cyprus Avenue, Cork, tonight, €15

ONE of my favourite gig memories of recent years is seeing Steve Davis – yes, that Steve Davis – play a four or five-hour set at Tengu in Dublin as part of the Out To Lunch weekender in 2016. The moment in question was snooker-star DJ Steve and his DJ partner Kavus Torabi of psychedelic band Knifeworld slurp ramen noodles while playing Autechre and Captain Beefheart with a backdrop of Japanese graffiti in the restaurant’s courtyard.

For those in the know, Davis is an underground crate-digging hero, with a long-running Interesting Alternative show on London community radio, that allows him to indulge his love of prog rock, electronica, avant-rock and other true music outliers.

After being invited to play the famous techno festival Bloc in 2016, Davis has been a regular fixture at festivals, including Glastonbury and Castlepalooza closer to home. Just don’t mention Snooker Loopy (although I did get him to sign my 7-inch).


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The National, Energia Park, Dublin, tonight & tomorrow, €76

The National seem to be one of those American bands who probably pencil Ireland in first when they’re planning a world tour. Over the last 10 years they’ve played residencies in clubs and theatres, played big arena gigs and headlined festivals – and they were here last September for three nights at Vicar Street.

This time round they’re curating a two-day festival of sorts, with some special guests lined up at the former Donnybrook Stadium.

As well as The National’s intense, literary indie-rock, today’s event features collaborator Lisa Hannigan, lo-fi pop singer Jay Som, broody post-punk figures Preoccupations and leftfield electronic pop maestro John Grant.

Tomorrow, The National will be backed by Conor O’Brien’s Villagers, former Vampire Weekend star Rostam, UK punks Dream Wife and Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon.


Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 08.15.52Liam Gallagher, Malahide Castle, Dublin, tonight, SOLD OUT; Ormeau Park, Belfast, tomorrow, £44

Liam Gallagher must be loving himself sick now he’s playing bigger gigs than his big bro Noel, for the time being anyway. A few years ago as Noel’s High Flying Birds career was taking off in arenas, Liam was bumming around in Beady Eye playing indie detritus in small theatres.

After headlining the first Samhain Festival in Dublin last Halloween, Liam is back for another two blockbusters at Malahide Castle and Ormeau Park.

While Noel has experimented with his sound, working with David Holmes for starters, Liam’s long-awaited debut solo album As You Were hits the right notes for Oasis diehards – sounding like old B-sides from the vaults.

He’ll also get everyone on side by playing all the Oasis heavy-hitters.


Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 08.18.10John Cale, National Concert Hall, Dublin, tomorrow, €30-40

Velvet Underground founder and avant-garde maestro John Cale is playing a rare Irish show, hoping to summarise his vast canon in the majestic NCH, as part of its Perspectives series.

As well as shaping modern music as part of the Velvet Underground, Cale’s discography includes dozens of albums, from modern composition to art-rock, baroque pop and leftfield soundtracks.

Cale has also collaborated with The Stooges, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Terry Riley and many more, and at 76 he’s still experimenting.


Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 08.19.00FUTURE ISLANDS, Energia Park, Dublin, Sunday, €63

A Future Islands show will always put a spring in your step, but this outdoor gig could well be the feelgood hit of the summer.

Closing off a weekend in Ireland’s newest repurposed gig venue, the Baltimore synthpop trio will knock it out of the park with their insanely catchy hooks and Samuel T Herring’s captivating stage presence.

From his chest-punching and elaborate dad-dancing, to his elastic voice – from croons to death metal growls in a microsecond – Herring is one of the greatest frontmen in modern music.

Like the National shows tonight and tomorrow, make a day of it and head over early to see UK punks Idles, Irish indie act Pillow Queens and indie legends Mercury Rev.