The Guide: August 26th-September 1st, 2023 – Events to see, shows to book and ones to catch before they end

The best movies, music, art and more coming your way this week

Event of the week

Electric Picnic

From Friday, September 1st, until Sunday, September 3rd; Stradbally Hall, Co Laois; 11am; (sold out);

A sell-out even before the bill was announced, Electric Picnic continues apace with a broad cross-generational line-up that is as high-profile (Billie Eilish, The Killers, Niall Horan, Paulo Nutini) as it is common touch (Saw Doctors, Rick Astley, Wolfe Tones) and niche (too many to list). As always, a strong Irish line-up is dotted across the weekend, but the reach of Electric Picnic goes far beyond the tunes, as evidenced by the likes of Mindfield (the festival’s brain trust), Theatre of Food (the festival’s body-friendly buddy), the introduction this year of Croí (the festival’s meditative mood minder) and much more besides (including Greencrafts, Artlot, the Theatre and Global Green).


Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Sunday, August 27th, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8; 5pm; €49.90;

The younger brother may be stealing all the silverware these days, figuratively speaking, but Liam Gallagher’s older sibling still has the edge in the songwriting department, as evidenced by his recently released album, Council Skies. If a mix of new and old solo songs doesn’t ignite the show, then a string of Oasis songs (including, as per recent UK shows, Half the World Away, Live Forever, Little by Little and Don’t Look Back in Anger) surely will. Special guests are Primal Scream and Happy Mondays. Will melons be twisted? You betcha.

Franz Ferdinand

Sunday, August 27th, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7; 6pm; €54.65;

Almost 20 years ago Franz Ferdinand won the Mercury Prize with their self-titled debut album, and their singular art-school style and sense of fashion have continued ever since. It’s five years since they last released a studio album (2018′s Always Ascending), so we would expect to hear some new tracks at this show, interspersed with better-known songs (which were collected on last year’s compilation album, Hits to the Head). Special guests are Ireland’s Pillow Queens.


Monday, August 28th, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8; 5pm; €59.90/€49.90;

They may have been lumbered with the “supergroup” tag, but you sense that Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers are no more bothered about that than most of the fans of their respective works are. The cherry on the cake is that the trio’s debut album, The Record, released in March, is easily one of the year’s best, with critics falling over each other to proclaim it an instant indie-pop classic. This show is both Boygenius’s debut Irish performance and the final gig of their European tour, so expect fun, games and a few surprises. Special guests are Muna and Ye Vagabonds.


Nickel Creek

Wednesday, August 30th, NCH, Dublin 2; 8pm; €45/€40/€35;

The southern California band Nickel Creek have been at the forefront of the bluegrass revival for more than 20 years. In part they can thank the US bluegrass singer Alison Krauss for that: she produced their 2000 self-titled debut, which sold by the bucketload and earned nominations for Grammy and Country Music Association awards, thereby setting the trio on a path to continued commercial success in what has been termed the progressive-bluegrass genre. The nimble-fingered musicians – siblings Sara and Sean Watkins, and Chris Thile – are in Dublin to promote Celebrants, their first album in almost 10 years.



August 26th-September 16th, Abbey Theatre, Dublin 1;

It’s a serious undertaking that Druid’s cofounder and artistic director, Garry Hynes, has committed to: a new production of Seán O’Casey’s Dublin trilogy – The Plough and the Stars, The Shadow of a Gunman, and Juno and the Paycock – which provides grounded views of the working classes as the Irish nation comes into being. The production, yet another high point in the Galway-based company’s always probing output, arrives in Dublin following runs in Galway and Belfast. Actors breathing vivid life into O’Casey’s characters include Aaron Monaghan, Hilda Fay, Liam Heslin, Rory Nolan, Sophie Lenglinger and Zara Devlin. Full details of performance times, including the trilogy performed together, and ticket prices from the Abbey website.

Visual art

William McKeown: An Open Room

Thursday, August 31st, until Saturday, September 30th, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin 2; free;

“There are two types of art,” the artist William McKeown (1962-2011) said. “Open and closed.” Gathering numerous examples of McKeown’s oil paintings and watercolour works on paper, the exhibition highlights serene studies of natural environments. The exhibition also coincides with the publication of In an Open Room, a monograph outlining 15 years of McKeown’s work, featuring insights from the artist himself, visual-art critics and commentators (Declan Long, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, John Hutchinson) and the artist Isabel Nolan.


Lewis Black

Friday, September 1st, Liberty Hall, Dublin 1; 7.30pm; €40;

Veteran comedian Lewis Black, known as the King of Rant, unleashes what fans say is a therapeutic discharge of extreme annoyance at life’s numerous irritating absurdities. At the start of his 2023 comedy special, Tragically, I Need You, Black explains his comedic modus operandi: “What’s going to happen is that I’ll say some things ... and you’re going to feel that somehow I have insulted you on a level you would never have imagined, but all I’ve said is a joke.” Let’s remember that, shall we?

Still running


Until Sunday, September 3rd, The Mill, Lismore Castle Arts, Co Waterford; free;

As curated by Rosa Abbott, the concept of Confessions – to re-examine the legacy of Catholicism through the fusion of spirituality and sensuality – is presented by new works of three early-career artists: Ireland’s Austin Hearne, Portugal’s David Leal, and Italy’s M Lissoni.

Book it this week

The Streets, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin, October 24th;

The Charlatans, City Hall, Cork, October 27th;

Holly Johnson & Band, NCH, Dublin, November 26th;

Damien Dempsey, Vicar Street, Dublin, December 16th-23rd;