A lighthouse treat, some lonesome blues and Niall Horan sets off on another direction
The best gigs this coming week
Wyvern Lingo – Caoimhe Barry, Karen Cowley and Saoirse Duane – tee up the release of their much anticipated debut album with a single launch show
US songwriter and musician Stephin Merritt
Courtney Marie Andrews: pulls no punches
Friday August 25
SINGLE LAUNCH Wyvern Lingo – Grand Social, Dublin 7pm €17.50 thegrandsocial.ie – Adopting the tortoise and not the hare approach, Wicklow trio Wyvern Lingo (Caoimhe Barry, vocals/drums; Karen Cowley, vocals/keyboards/bass synth; Saoirse Duane, vocals/guitar) tee up the release of their much anticipated debut album with a single launch show. The song, I Love You, Sadie, co-produced and mixed in London by Neil Comber (M.I.A./Crystal Fighters) highlights the group’s slinky/sultry R’n’B side, while the rest of the previewed material from the album illustrates how carefully the group prepares and arranges the gorgeous parallel and interweaving vocals.
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE Maria Doyle Kennedy Hook Lighthouse, County Wexford 7.30pm – €30 hookheritage.ie Also Saturday, Co Wexford, same venue – It isn’t often you get an opportunity to see one of your favourite performers and songwriters play a gig in a 800-year-old lighthouse, but – as part of National Heritage Week – that is exactly where you’ll be able to see Maria Doyle Kennedy. The event is fully seated, there will be no corners to hide in, and the multitalented Kennedy – possibly better known as an actor outside of Ireland than as a singer – will deliver a batch of familiar material as well as several new songs from her forthcoming album. TCL
FRESH BAGELS Search Party Animal – Upstairs in Whelan’s, Dublin €12 whelanslive.com – Search Party Animal, the act formerly known as Bagels, are back with their polished-up cluster of indie, electropop and noise. The loud and energetic five-piece from Dundrum take influence from Everything Everything, Foals and And So I Watch You From Afar, so expect to get sweaty in the cosy setting of the upstairs venue in Whelan’s. Dive into their latest single Enemies, a slow-paced but textured song, for a little taste of what’s to come.
LONESOME BLUES Ivan Nicolas – Bello Bar, Dublin €5 bellobardublin.com – Ivan Nicolas ticks all the boxes as a singer-songwriter. Starting out as a blues drummer, he looked to Philip Donnelly, a session musician for Johnny Cash, as a mentor and then moved to Kerry, where he lived all on his Toblerone on the side of a mountain in Kerry to write his debut album. He’s launching his second single, Moving On, in the Bello Bar on Friday so pop along to check out the results of what a bit of reclusiveness can do to a man.
Saturday August 26
KEEP IT COUNTRY Harvest County Music Festival – Enniskillen Airport, Co Fermanagh; Westport House, Co Mayo 2pm €155/€140/€80 harvestcountrymusicfestival.com Also Sunday August 27 – Proving once again that Ireland is a safe haven for country music, this unique event crisscrosses between Mayo and Fermanagh over the weekend. Some might view it as a mixed bag, but there’s really something for everyone with varying country music tastes. For those with “Irish country” inclinations, you have the likes of Nathan Carter, Cliona Hagan and Lee Matthews. US country music fans are well catered for with performances by Miranda Lambert, Charley Pride, Maddie & Tae, and Kip Moore, while more discerning Americana fans will love that the likes of Jarrod Dickenson, Mo Pitney, Victoria Shaw, and Earl Bud Lee will be sharing tunes and stories.
Monday August 28
SONGWRITER Magnetic Fields – National Concert Hall Dublin 8pm €37.50/€32/€27.50 nch.ie Also Tuesday, Dublin, same venue – There is hardly any musical style that US songwriter and musician Stephin Merritt hasn’t managed to perfect. The musical polymath founded Magnetic Fields (essentially, a vehicle for one) in 1989, and is best known for his adventurous long-form, concept works, including 1999’s three-disc 69 Love Songs, the no-synth trilogy – i (2004), Distortion (2008), Realism (2010) – and this year’s five-disc 50 Song Memoir, a song-by-song chronicle of the first 50 years of his life. It is the latter magnum opus that Merritt brings to Ireland for the first (and probably only) time. Across two nights, with a full band and fully staged show, he will equally divide the song list. Hands up who’s going to both nights?
Tuesday August 29
ANOTHER DIRECTION Niall Horan – Olympia Theatre Dublin 8pm €59.50/€49.50 (sold out) ticketmaster.ie – How does a former member of the world’s most successful boyband manage expectations from a fanbase that might not be into his new direction? It’s a question Niall Horan will be asking himself in the lead-up to his debut solo album being released, but irrespective of the outcome you can’t but admire him for playing small venues where (as he has said) he can “re-learn the craft of doing shows”. Under the title of Flicker Sessions 2017, Horan previews previously unheard songs, as well as two hit singles (This Town, Slow Hands) and, inevitably, a One Direction tune or three.
ROOTS Courtney Marie Andrews – Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €16 whelanslive.com – From the very start of Courtney Marie Andrews’s career she was noted for not pulling her punches. Indeed, she has always regarded her craft as a conduit to strongly express her views, and from 2008 debut Urban Myths to this year’s Honest Life, she has mined a vein of hardnosed authenticity. If you’re after self-possessed songs that reference the quality of songwriters like Joni Mitchell, John Prine and Guy Clark, then we can safely guarantee you won’t go away empty handed.
Wednesday August 30
SONGWRITER Julie Byrne – Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €16 whelanslive.com – At the age of 17, New York State singer and songwriter Julie Byrne learned guitar solely to honor the legacy of her guitarist father’s fingerstyle techniques – which, sadly, he had to forego due to advancing complications from multiple sclerosis. Across two albums – 2014’s debut Rooms with Walls and Windows, this year’s Not even Happiness – Byrne has duly achieved a blissed-out balance of what Spin magazine called “a duet between solo voice and acoustic guitar”. This gig is a co-headliner with New Zealand singer-songwriter, Nadia Reid. A two-for-one gig par excellence.