GZA leads the Irish gigs highlighter

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 22.04.30GZA/GENIUS: The Sugar Club, Dublin, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, €27.50

The number of side projects, solo albums and guest appearances in the Wu-Tang Clan universe is head-melting, but GZA’s 1995 album Liquid Swords is one of the essential classics, and one of the best albums in hip-hop history.

GZA’s taking his Liquid Swords show to Dublin for two gigs celebrating the LP’s legacy, while we wait for his space science-themed album Dark Matter. With a shtick as the most cerebral Clan member, GZA’s astute, razor sharp bars are a consistent thrill, without a single wasted moment on the album.

It’s also backed by some of RZA’s best ever production work and iconic samples from the cult kung fu movie Shogun Assassin. Expect all-time Shaolin classics like 4th Chamber, Shadowboxin and Duel of the Iron Mic — and hopefully some Wu-Tang deep cuts.


Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 21.57.50STIFF LITTLE FINGERS: The Academy, Dublin,  Tonight €27.50; Custom House Square, Belfast, Tomorrow, £30

Still firing punk petrol bombs some 41 years after forming in Belfast, Stiff Little Fingers are one of Ireland’s most beloved bands.

SLF never really had the boyish charm of The Undertones, but unlike the Derry lads, they tackled the Troubles head on, trying to make sense of the horror, with escapist punk classics like Alternative Ulster, Suspect Device and Wasted Life forming their teenage kicks.  As well as their non-partisan rebel songs, Jake Burns and co’s wry tales of being young, broke and very fed up still strike a chord.

If you can pick one of these gigs it has to be Belfast, as they’ll be joined by punk legends The Damned and The Buzzcocks and The Defects. Veteran Belfast punks The Defects will be at the Academy.

This is the second year they’ve played Custom House Square after their 40th anniversary hometown victory lap in 2017 — and they’re still working under the banner of, “putting the fast in Belfast”.


Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 21.57.12DRUMCODE SHOWCASE: Custom House Square, Belfast, Sunday, £33

If you’re in rollover form after the Carl Cox marathon in Ballinlough Castle in Westmeath tomorrow, you could do a lot worse than  head up North for this full-on techno round 2.

Swedish DJ Adam Beyer’s Drumcode label has been running since 1996, with nearly 200 releases of no-gimmick techno, unwavering no matter the flavour of the month.

Heavyweights on the label include Slam, Perc, Green Velvet, Ida Engberg and Ben Sims, and plenty more. Beyer (pictured) is headlining this bank holiday showcase on the back of plenty of memorable Irish dates in recent years — a relentless Forbidden Fruit after-party in Hangar springs to mind.

He’s got serious back-up too — I saw Amelie Lens take stomp all over the colossal Dance Arena at Exit Festival in Serbia last month with a lethal dose of acid and techno — she even wore an ‘ACID’ T-shirt so you’d know what she was about.

Further DC goodness from Italian producer Enrico Sangiuliano, who’s geavy on the atmospheric techno — check out his concept album Biomorph.


Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 21.56.26THUNDERPUSSY: The Academy, Dublin,  Monday, €28

Seattle upstarts Thunderpussy are currently in the middle of a three-year court case with the US patent office trying to trademark their name, which is apparently “scandalous” enough to repulse the nation. It recalls the Sex Pistols’ battle over their Never Mind the Bollocks LP.

Hopefully the judges will be on the right side of rock’n’roll history and they throw Thunderpussy a break — that name’s gonna upset the right people on a t-shirt.

Live, it’s all downtuned alt-rock and glam, with frontwoman Molly Sides nearly as outrageous as the sexed-up electro-punk Peaches at points.  Still, they’ve got a more classic sound, channelling Led Zeppelin and The Cramps, with a healthy does of performance art and dance.