Beck, The xx, Demi Lovato and Game of Thrones: the week’s best rock and pop

Also: Super Silly, Wild Child, Peach Pit, Jerry Fish, Ruthanne, Cut Chemist, Don McLean

Beck will be joined by Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the 3Arena.Photograph: Dave Meehan

Beck will be joined by Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the 3Arena.Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

Super Silly
The Button Factory, Dublin Saturday May 19th €13 ticketmaster.ie

Having been recently wooed (from afar) by Super Silly at the It Takes a Village festival in east Cork, I can highly recommend a Super Silly gig. Dublin and Meath lads Hudis, Grvz, SolBas and Glory make R&B tunes that come with a pop twist and laid-back hip-hop vibes. Fun and uplifting, their music is the perfect way to kick off your Friday night. Support on the night comes from grime MC King David and Sylk, the electronic act from Dublin. LB

Mother Presents: Yestival 2018
Tivoli Theatre, Dublin Saturday May 19th €19.29-€27.32

It’s been three years since Ireland said Yes to marriage equality in the referendum and, to celebrate, the good people of Mother are throwing one hell of a party. This party will spill out across the two floors and the smoking area of the Tivoli, with theatre, music from the Mother DJs, a performance from Ireland’s Got Talent’s Paul Ryder and Sophie freakin’ Ellis-Bextor headlining. It’s Mother on the dance floor. You’d better not kill the groove. LB

Homebeat Summer Party: Another Love Story Soundsystem Takeover with Attention Bébé
The Bernard Shaw, Dublin Saturday May 19th Adm free thebernardshaw.com

The sounders behind Homebeat and Another Love Story, one of the best festivals happening in Ireland this summer, are throwing an all-day party. Kicking off at 2pm, the music will sprawl out into the smoking area during the daytime and, when nighttime starts to fall, the party will move inside and the brassy, horny and totally ravishing ’90s covers band Attention Bébé will keep the party going. LB 

Don McLean
Vicar St, Dublin Sunday May 20th-Wednesday May 23rd 7.30pm €54.65 ticketmaster.ie

Being inducted into the esteemed Songwriters Hall of Fame is no small matter, but if you are the songwriter of at least two of the most recognisable songs of the past 50 years then it’s understandable that those songs (American Pie, Vincent) will be the ones most people will want to hear. Such is the blessing and curse of having songs that have gazumped most others in a songwriter’s back catalogue. Not that McLean worries about such things – last year, American Pie was designated by the US Library of Congress as an “aural treasure”. McLean’s fans would agree with that. Don McLean also performs at the National Opera House, Wexford on May 29th, with more Irish shows scheduled in June. See aikenpromotions.com for further details. TCL  

Don McLean: American Pie man. Photograph: DAVE MEEHAN
Don McLean: American Pie man. Photograph: DAVE MEEHAN

Down in the City
Sugar Club, Dublin Sunday May 20th 8pm €25 thesugarclub.com

Overseen by the cerebral and cultural firebrand that is Philip King, Down in the City (the title is culled from a song by Irish group Scullion, of which King is a constituent part) is the second segment of three conversational and music experiences at this venue that challenges what King calls “the never-ending virtual connection”. Conversation is with acclaimed Irish author Joe O’Connor, while music is performed by Scullion and Saint Sister. The final date of this enriching exchange is on June 17th, with Scullion, Ye Vagabonds, and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh. TCL

The xx
Ulster Hall, Belfast Monday May 21st 8pm £35 (sold out) ulsterhall.co.uk
Tivoli, Dublin Wednesday May 23rd & Thursday May 24th 7pm €40 (sold out) thexx.info/tour

Thirteen years of The xx just might seem as if life is passing you by at a ferocious rate. Formed in 2005 and signed shortly after they posted demo songs on MySpace, the trio of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx, a highly successful recording artist/producer in his own right) has since proven that minimal electronic and highly atmospheric pop songs by no means lack texture or substance. These shows form part of a small tour of unusually intimate venues, and so sold out within hours. You have a ticket? Lucky you. TCL  

Wild Child
Grand Social, Dublin Monday May 21st 8pm €15 thegrandsocial.ie

Austin, Texas is usually the first place in America that springs to mind when you think of classic Americana/roots singer-songwriters, and not indie pop acts. Yet Wild Child hasn’t exactly ignored the city’s weight of influence, as they pepper their smart tunes with instruments such as ukulele and violin. Often referred to as a “seven-piece pop mini-orchestra”, the group mix smart arrangements with lo-fi hiss, all of which is underpinned with lyrics betraying worldly experience. The band’s latest album, Expectations, will be plugged and on sale, so make sure you have some cash in your pockets. TCL  

Wild Child
Wild Child

Peach Pit
Grand Social, Dublin Tuesday May 22nd 8pm €15 thegrandsocial.ie

Vancouver’s Peach Pit pitch their music as a cross between bubblegum pop and dolorous Smiths-like post-punk. Since the release two years ago of their debut mini-album, Sweet FA, the band have gathered fans like bees around honey. Initially influenced by the more sombre side of folk music, an engagement with pop/rock has added the kind of bouncy hooks that have carried them from zero to 100 over the past 18 months. Add to this the unusual level of personal stories in songs such as Seventeen, Drop the Guillotine and Tommy’s Party, and you have a happy/sad combination of no small significance. TCL  

Peach Pit
Peach Pit

Beck & Yeah Yeah Yeahs
3Arena, Dublin Wednesday May 23rd 7pm €58.50 ticketmaster.ie

It isn’t often you have a two-for-one gig of such quality, but here we are: Beck, the songwriter behind a strong back catalogue of what amounts to a collage of various styles (from rock, country, soul and hip-hop to funk, folk and psychedelia), and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the indie rock band fronted by Karen O that mix post-punk raucous with dancefloor-ready rumpus. Despite the co-headline status, we’re guessing that Beck will play out the show due to his 13 albums beating Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ output of four. Either way, a time will be had. TCL  

Ruthanne
Academy, Dublin Wednesday May 23rd 7pm €10.50 ticketmaster.ie

It takes courage and determination to come out from behind the scenery and make your way to the centre of the stage, but Dublin’s Ruth-Anne Cunningham is doing just that. Having spent about 10 years as a backroom co-songwriter in the US and the UK (where she had a hand in writing songs for the likes of Britney Spears, TLC, Professor Green and One Direction), Cunningham is currently working hard at firing up her own solo career. Judging by her debut solo single, The Vow, she’ll be most unlucky if that doesn’t happen. TCL

Ruthanne
Ruthanne

River Matthews
Upstairs at Whelan’s, Dublin Wednesday May 23rd €13 whelanslive.com

Amidst all the buckwild summer parties, River Matthews is going to take the softer approach to sunny days that roll into hazy nights. His latest album, Imogen, is full of indie-folk songs that wouldn’t sound totally out of place on a Jack Johnson record. Carefree, breezy and with just a little dose of sorrow, he takes on the world with his heart on his sleeve, his voice set to soul and his acoustic guitar always ready to play. LB

Game of Thrones – Live Concert Experience
3Arena, Dublin Thursday May 24th 8pm €58.50 ticketmaster.ie
SSE Arena, Belfast Friday May 25th 8pm £82/£75/£67.50/£59/£50 ssearenabelfast.com

Seeing as Game of Thrones fans will have to wait until the summer of next year to see the final season, and discover that Jon Snow is actually the son of &!%$£@, this GoT “Live Experience” will surely bridge the gap. The “experience” goes something like this: impressively large video screens relay scenes from every season, each primary character (and some not) gets their own tribute montage, and series soundtrack composer Ramin Djawadi, conducts a live orchestra through the best-known setpieces and motifs. Advance reports claim this to be the show that hardcore fans have been waiting for. TCL

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
Kit Harington as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones

Demi Lovato
SSE Arena, Belfast Thursday May 24th
3Arena, Dublin Friday May 25th
€46.50-€58.50

Even though she has the best range of the bunch, Demi Lovato is the wildcard of the Disney/Nickelodeon gang, musically speaking, but her new album Tell Me You Love Me is one of the more underrated pop albums of the year. Her two Irish dates mark the start of her European tour and hopefully she starts with a bang loud enough to match A-grade bangers like Sorry Not Sorry and Cool for the Summer. LB 

Jerry Fish
The Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dublin Thursday May 24th 8pm €20 milltheatre.ie

The man known all those years as Ger Whelan, when he was the swirling dervish lead singer with An Emotional Fish in the early to mid-1990s, has doggedly transformed himself into one of Ireland’s best all-round rock-theatre performers. To do this successfully (many have tried and failed, believe me), you need to have confidence and charisma, and Jerry Fish has an abundance of both. This show – billed as an intimate piano-led gig – comprises many facets of the man’s lengthy career, from manic preacher frontman to moustache-twirling trickster. The result is a rarity: equal parts entertaining vaudeville and whole lotta rock’n’roll experience. TCL

Jerry Fish
Jerry Fish

ChoiceCuts Presents: Cut Chemist
The Sugar Club, Dublin Friday May 25th €20 thesugarclub.com

It’s been 12 years since Lucas McFadden’s last release as Cut Chemist, but the hip-hop DJ and producer is back with the very tasty Die Cut. The former Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli member has taken rap sounds and elements of indie rock from the early 1990s and lashed them under a dreamy and cascading electronic wave. With stacks of samples acting as the foundation for each song, his live set is bound to be a hypnotic and impressive experience. LB

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