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Gig of the Week: Electric Picnic powers up for its return to Stradbally

Also: Arcade Fire; 10CC; Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin’s Lumen; Room with Live Score

Electric Picnic

Friday, September 2nd, to Sunday, September 4th; Stradbally, Co Laois;

The annual music and arts shindig at Stradbally has been sorely missed – last year was particularly frustrating for fans, as the festival looked tantalisingly set to go ahead until the plug was pulled at the last minute because of fears of a Covid surge. This year, though, not even a plague of frogs will stop EP from going ahead, so festivalgoers will be looking forward to reacquainting themselves with the sights and sounds of Stradbally Hall, including Trailer Park, Transmission, Trenchtown, Salty Dog, Mindfield, Theatre of Food and Global Green. The line-up is nice and picnicky too, with the main stage hosting Dermot Kennedy and Megan Thee Stallion on Friday, Tame Impala and Picture This on Saturday, and Arctic Monkeys and Snow Patrol on Sunday, and dozens of other great acts rocking, rolling, folking, spinning, hip-hopping and griming throughout the weekend, including Anne-Marie, Fontaines DC, Glass Animals, London Grammar, Pixies, Coronas, Wolf Alice, CMat, Denise Chaila, Hudson Taylor, Tolu Makay, Aby Coulibaly, Khruangbin and James Vincent McMorrow.

Arcade Fire

Tuesday, August 30th, and Wednesday, August 31st; 3Arena, Dublin; 6.30pm; from €80.35;

The Canadian band can always rely on a rapturous welcome around these parts. This year they’re bringing their “must-see” world tour to Dublin for two nights, hot on the heels of their latest album, WE, featuring the Springsteenesque The Lightning I, II. Once again the band, led by husband-and-wife team Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, confound our expectations of what indie music should sound like, creating epic soundscapes that beguile and bewitch, lifting our spirits while bringing everything down to human level. Catch them while they’re still burning.


Thursday, September 1st; Ulster Hall, Belfast; £45;
Friday, September 2nd, and Saturday, September 3rd; Vicar Street, Dublin; €46.50;
Sunday, September 4th; Cork Opera House; €39.50;

Three-quarters of the original 1970s line-up are absent, but Graham Gouldman has been the self-appointed caretaker of the 10CC brand for nigh on 30 years, so let’s just paraphrase Meat Loaf and say one out of four ain’t bad. These gigs in Belfast, Dublin and Cork are part of the band’s Ultimate Greatest Hits tour, so expect most of their top-10 hits to get an airing, including The Wall Street Shuffle, I’m Mandy Fly Me, Art for Art’s Sake, Good Morning Judge and Rubber Bullets. But younger fans (ie anyone under 60) will be listening in particular for I’m Not in Love, which featured on the soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy, and also for Dreadlock Holiday, just because it’s still a top party tune. “They don’t seem to date,” says Gouldman about 10CC’s tunes. “They are original. We never followed any trend – we simply wrote for our own pleasure.” The pleasure is all ours, Mr Gouldman.

Lumen - The Music of Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin: A Celebration of the Light

Friday, September 2nd; National Concert Hall, Dublin; 7.30pm; various prices;

There’s a dual purpose to this concert honouring the late, great composer. First, it’s a chance to hear his superb musical work Lumen: A Celebration of the Light, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Richard Brophy, with guest appearances from the singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, the flautist Mike McGoldrick and an ensemble of students from the University of Limerick and University College Cork, where the composer distinguished himself as an inspiring academician. Second, it’s a golden opportunity to present the composer with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of how Ó Suilleabháin’s music has infused Irish life and brought together the present and the past with seamless skill. The award will be presented to Ó Súilleabháin’s family on this very special evening of music and memories.


The John McCormack Songbook

Friday, September 2nd; NCH, Dublin; 1.05pm; €17/€15;

The tenor Ross Scanlon and the pianist David O’Shea have been performing the John McCormack songbook to enthralled audiences for a decade, and this 10th anniversary concert will be a double trip down memory lane, as Scanlon and O’Shea return to the venue where they debuted the show in 2012, and the audience is cast back into a golden past via such timeless songs as Macushla, I Hear You Calling Me and I’ll Walk Beside You, when Count John McCormack ruled supreme in the Irish music dominion.

World Premiere of Room with Live Score

Saturday, September 3rd; NCH, Dublin; 7.30pm; €32.50-€45;

Lenny Abrahamson’s unforgettable film, based on the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue, featured incredible performances from its stars, Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. It also featured a superb score by Stephen Rennicks, and in this world premiere, this powerful and life-affirming film will get a screening with live score performed by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra under the baton of Gavin Maloney. Both director and composer will be there to introduce the film, in conversation with John Kelly.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist