Are U2 back already? This week’s must-see rock and pop gigs

Catch Metropolis, Cork Jazz Festival, Sligo Live, Westival, Robert Plant & Van Morrison, Johnny Marr, Chemical Brothers and Phosphorescent over the mid-term break


What? Back in Ireland already? For a band that takes so long to record and deliver albums, it seems ironic they play concerts so regularly here. And yet there is method at play, as the band always appear to be looking ahead. U2 have been touring for over three years: their indoor Innocence + Experience shows in 2015, last year's 30th anniversary The Joshua Tree concerts, and, from May of this year – as a plug for latest album, Songs of Experience – the Experience + Innocence gigs. Advance reports hint at various new approaches to the arena presentation (no surprises when you take into consideration how U2 have played around with and changed the format), while an old U2 "character", MacPhisto, reappears. Which begs the question – what are U2 looking ahead to? Will they put MacPhisto back in mothballs or bring him out again for the inevitable tour that will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Achtung Baby? I think we know the answer to that one. TCL

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

The jazz quotient of this festival is covered elsewhere in more detail, but there has always been an excellent parallel run of pop/rock gigs, too. Higher profile names on this list include Laura Mvula (Cork City Hall, Saturday), Brian Deady (Opera House, Saturday, 7pm), Wyvern Lingo (Live at St Luke's, Saturday), All Tvvins (Opera House, Saturday, Midnight), The 4 of Us (Live at St Luke's, Sunday), and Talos (Opera House, Sunday). Try, also, not to miss out on emerging Irish artists such as Marlene Enright  (Saturday and Sunday, Electric South), Jack O'Rourke (Saturday/Sunday/Monday, River Lee Hotel, playing quality versions of jazz standards), and Shookrah (Sunday, Old Oak). Visit for further details on ticket prices and venues. TCL


Tivoli Theatre, Dublin Saturday October 27th €25

Fresh off the release of his seventh album, C'est La Vie, Matthew Houck is going on his first European tour in four years as Phosphorescent. As the album title goes, his new record lets us in on the big and small moments that fill up his life, from meeting his future wife to playing the new role as dad. The New York-based singer-songwriter is bringing a full band with him to kick some extra life into songs that ponder the very point of our existence. LB

Fish Go Deep

Connolly's of Leap, Cork Saturday October 27th €15

When it comes to bank holiday parties, you're generally in safe hands with the good people in Connolly's of Leap. If you're stuck for Saturday plans, the house DJs from Cork's Fish Go Deep are taking control of the decks from 8pm. Going on until 1am, Greg Dowling and Shane Johnson will be joined by Colm Motherway and, between the three of them, they're bound to keep the dancefloor at full capacity all night. LB

Lumo Club’s Third Birthday

Yamamori Tengu, Dublin Saturday October 27th €5-€10

Three years going strong, Lumo wants to celebrate with you. The Lumo Three, Nialler9, Simon Roche and Super Extra Bonus Party's Gavin Elsted will be playing all night downstairs, while Today FM's Kelly-Anne Byrne will be in charge of the disco inferno upstairs. If you haven't Lumo-ed before, expect to hear some Phil Collins sandwiched between LCD Soundsystem hits and Beastie Boys belters. And – NB – if you have a wristband from September's Lumo, you and a friend get free entry. LB

Sligo Live

You know winter is only a breath away when Sligo Live arrives. With Metropolis in the east of the country and the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival down south, Sligo Live keeps the West awake (ahem) with its usual level of quality music acts. Highlights on Saturday night include Saint Sister, with support Niamh Farrell (Hawk's Well Theatre), The Boomtown Rats (Knocknarea Arena), and Little Hours, with support Brave Giant (Andersons). Highlights on Sunday include Rhiannon Giddens (Hawk's Well Theatre), and Hudson Taylor (Andersons). Visit for further details on ticket prices and venues. TCL

Westival: Westport Music & Arts Festival

As the newly revamped Westport Music & Arts Festival, now known as Westival, comes to a close this weekend, there's still a number of gigs that you can catch before the final curtain. On Saturday, Lisa Hannigan plays Holy Trinity Church (sold out) and both Tom Hickok (€10) and Le Galaxie (€15) play the Westival Club in the Mill Times. The full music, theatre, workshop and family-friendly listings are available online. LB

Metropolis Festival

RDS Main Hall, Dublin Saturday October 27th/Sunday October 28th 4pm €109.50/€69.50/€49.50

Now in its fourth year, this multi-stage music festival and conference event is continuing its astute policy of presenting eye-wateringly hip music acts in a city centre venue. Hip ratio notwithstanding, the line-up is most impressive. Saturday's acts include Booka Brass, David Keenan, Gwenno, Friendly Fires and Villagers. Sunday's line-up includes Kojaque, Young Fathers, Blood Orange, Mac Demarco and Róisín Murphy. This year's festival is overshadowed by the sad news of the death of promoter John Reynolds, the man behind Metropolis, on Thursday. Note: Metropolis Festival is a strictly over-21s event. TCL

Robert Plant & the Shapeshifters/Van Morrison

3Arena, Dublin Sunday October 28th 8pm €89.50

Here's the drill: take two weathered giants of rock music (admittedly, one quite flashier than the other), each of whom have a substantial back catalogue, sit back, and let them deliver the songs you know and love. That sounds like a decent plan, but what you have here are two mavericks, so while you might want Plant to rip through several Led Zeppelin songs in exactly the way they are on the records, think again (especially with his current multi-genre band). And if you want Morrison to deliver note-perfect versions of TB Sheets or Madame George, then you'd best prepare to be disappointed. Mavericks don't do what you want them to – maybe it's why they should never be taken for granted. TCL

Hunt & Gather present: Tall Tales House of Kitsuné

Loughcrew Gardens & Estate, Oldcastle, Co Meath Sunday October 28th €45-€55

Leaning deep into Halloween, the Hunt & Gather team are putting on a BYOB mini-festival on the grounds of Loughcrew. With three stages of music, art installations and immersive performances, this party runs until 5am¨, and fancy dress is not just welcomed but seriously encouraged. DJs and performers on the night include Le Boom's Aimee Mallon, the EVE collective, Kelly-Anne Byrne, prYmary colours and Monsieur Pompier's Travelling Freakshow. LB

Chemical Brothers

3Arena, Dublin Monday October 29th 8pm €49.50

Thirty years is a very long time to even try to keep ahead of the posse, but Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have been doing their best. Pioneers of presenting and positioning big beats into pop music, the London lads have managed to soldier on through the years by adapting – notably the visual elements of their live shows, which are of the eye-popping variety. An album is forthcoming (a new song, Free Yourself, was released last month), but expect this show to focus on the tried, tested and beloved. TCL

Elder Island

Grand Social, Dublin Tuesday October 30th 8pm €15

Bristol-based Elder Island have been making a mark since their 2014 self-titled EP bridged the gap between being loved by BBC Radio 1 and performing at crucial band-building festivals. Self-describing their music as "raw, electronic pop with a soulful house-indie persuasion" may leave nothing left to chance, but over the last three years they have developed into a unit that sits right at home between the likes of Sylvan Esso, Mount Kimbie and The xx. Advice? Bring yer dancing shoes. TCL

Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr (born John Maher) turns 55 the day before this gig, and it is, frankly, a delight to say that he is still delivering the goods some 35 years after he co-founded The Smiths. Now that even Smiths bores are fed up asking if that band will ever reform, Marr can just get on with his own music. After decades of collaborations and session work with acts such as The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse and The Cribs, he has focused on a solo career. His debut, The Messenger, was released in 2013, and between then and now (his third album was released a few months ago) he has deftly positioned himself as one of rock music's most eloquent guitar stylists. He's also authentically Irish, so we're definitely holding onto him. TCL


We really like the stylistic cut and form of Vulpynes. For the past two years the two-piece act (guitarist/vocalist Maeve Molly McKernan and drummer Kaz Miller) have been tearing holes out of the atmosphere. Such a template for great noise didn't come out of a void – in their formative years, both musicians were exposed to the music of Hole, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and L7, and so began a trip to the outer limits of terrific riffage and no-holds-barred punk/garage/grunge. New song, 2 Cents, will be unleashed. Special guests are Rob Walsh and Huntings. TCL

Yxng Bane

Green Room at The Academy, Dublin Friday November 2nd €15.35

For the guts of the last 18 months, East London rapper Yxng Bane's name has been moving up and down in the charts like a yo-yo. Although his chart appearances have been as a collaborator on songs such as 2018 single Answerphone with Banx & Ranx and Ella Eyre, and the 2017 top 10 single Bestie with Yungen, he's been very busy and this busyness has paid off because this gig is all sold out. LB