Best rock and pop this week: Rhiannon Giddens, Bryson Tiller and James Blunt

There’s some serious riffage courtesy of Bitch Falcon and Royal Bloood while Queen + Adam Lambert and S Club Live look back

Bitch Falcon has proven that when it comes to no nonsense brilliance there are very few to beat them.

Bitch Falcon has proven that when it comes to no nonsense brilliance there are very few to beat them.

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Saturday, November 25

Bitch Falcon
Whelan’s, Dublin;. 8pm, €15; whelanslive.com
No frills, no fuss, no filler – Dublin rock band Bitch Falcon has been delivering just that for over three years. In a similar fashion to peer Irish rock acts Fangclub and Otherkin, Bitch Falcon has proven that when it comes to no nonsense brilliance there are very few to beat them. This gig, the band’s last in Ireland until 2018, is the launching pad for their new single, Of Heart, which UK music magazine Clash recently described as “a raw, frenzied take on the fetid carcass of grunge”. Yes, really. – Tony Clayton-Lea

Homebeat Presents: Grandbrothers
St Stephen’s Church (The Pepper Canister), Dublin; 8pm, €16.74-€27.49; eventbrite.ie
German duo Grandbrothers consists of Erol Sarp and Lukas Vogel, who are not brothers – not even in the slightest – but we can confirm that their piano-led electronia tunes are are more than just grand. Lured over by Homebeat, they will be showcasing music from their new album Open in the very special surroundings of The Pepper Canister church, with Sarp on the keys and Vogel using different samplers to manipulate the sounds and add percussion as he goes.
– Louise Bruton

S Club Live
The Library, Limerick; 9pm, €10; ticketweb.ie
There ain’t no party like an S Club Party, it’s true. S Club Live represents just Tina, Jo and Bradley from the wide-eyed, pop monstrosity that was once known as S Club 7. They recently played a set at Electric Picnic in September, at Electric Ireland’s Throwback Stage, and it served as a warning for us all to set up a savings account, just in case the day job falls through. But, look, no harm in being in the crowd for this one for a nostalgic sing-song. – LB

Rhiannon Giddens
Vicar Street, Dublin; 7.30pm, €30; ticketmaster.ie

Rhiannon Giddens.

Former Carolina Chocolate Drops singer and founding member Rhiannon Giddens released her solo debut album, Tomorrow Is My Turn, two years ago, and continues to impress with this year’s follow-up, Freedom Highway. The new album, in particular, highlights the singer’s emotional courage via songs that sound as if they’ve been unearthed from a different era yet contain contemporary narratives that hold true. “Her voice is a perpetually soulful marvel,” said the New York Times. Impossible to disagree. – TCL

Songhoy Blues
Button Factory, Dublin; 7.30pm, €23.50; buttonfactory.ie
They’re at Other Voices next weekend, but for those who aren’t planning to visit the festival now’s your chance to see this incredible group of musicians. It’s a long way from Timbuktu, Mali to Dingle, Co Kerry, and it has occasionally been a hard road, but with the help of Damon Albarn, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ guitarist Nick Zinner, and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, the group has established itself as one of the most exciting proponents of guitar-ravaging, hip-hop/R&B-referencing desert blues. – TCL

Queen + Adam Lambert
3Arena, Dublin; 8pm €94/87 (sold out); ticketmaster.ie. Also Sunday SSE Arena, Belfast; 6.30pm, £80/£74; ssearenabelfast.com

DALLAS, TEXAS - AUGUST 04: Brian May (R) and Adam Lambert perform in concert with Queen at the American Airlines Center on August 4, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

For some people this is surely a bit like U2 + some other bloke that sounds a bit like Bono. It seems, however, that Queen aficionados and pop music lovers are happy enough to welcome former American Idol star Adam Lambert into their arms, even if authenticity is replaced by a shrewd type of facsimile. Advance reports suggest that the eye-popping production values for these shows are, perhaps unsurprisingly, state of the art. Expect classic pop songs, some unearthed material and a rousing finale. – TCL

Sunday, November 26th

Royal Blood
3Arena, Dublin; 8pm, €32.50; ticketmaster.ie

27/05/2017 - NEWS - Royal Blood playing support to Guns N Roses, at Slane Castle, Co. Meath.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

The question of how two musicians can make so much and such loud music has often been asked of Royal Blood, which formed in Brighton, England, four years ago. Taking the forms of blues and garage rock, and fusing this with psychedelic and sandblasted stoner rock, it took some time for drummer Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr to make an impact. They need not have worried – within a year of forming, their 2014 self-titled debut album raised the profile considerably. This year’s follow-up, How Did We Get So Dark?, easily matched the debut’s quality while also increasing the band’s popularity to such an extent that venues like 3Arena are their’s for the taking. Support acts include At the Drive In, and Black Honey. – TCL

Monday November 27th

Wolf Alice
Ulster Hall, Belfast; 8pm £26/23.50; ulsterhall.co.uk. Also Tuesday Olympia Theatre, Dublin; 7pm, €33.50/30.40/27.90; ticketmaster.ie
With recently released second album, Visions of a Life, now safely in place as a most worthwhile follow-up to 2015’s Grammy-nominated debut, My Love is Cool, UK’s Wolf Alice is riding a substantial crest of a wave. Not only does the group have a sizeable reputation as one of the more exciting doing the rounds, but they also bring a brilliant back-to-basics approach with them. Glittering guitar-based rock/pop might sound a bit passé in these experimental, cross-genre days but when the music is as bratty and audacious as Wolf Alice’s, who cares? – TCL

James Blunt
3Arena, Dublin; 8pm. €46/55; ticketmaster.ie

James Blunt. Photograph: jamesblunt.com
 Photograph: jamesblunt.com

While S Club Live are cashing in on a very long run of chart hits and playing small venues in Ireland, to the untrained eye, it might seem unfair that James Blunt is playing the 3Arena, when most of us know him from the success of his 2005 single, You’re Beautiful. For the years between then and now, the witty tweeter kept on releasing music (and probably had a decent savings account too) and here he is, on a worldwide tour. The wonders never cease. – LB 

Tuesday, November 28th 

Bell X1, Lisa O’Neill, Jape
Whelan’s, Dublin; 8pm, €26.50; whelanslive.com

04/04/2016 - ARTS FEATURES Lisa O' Neill Lisa O'Neill who realeases her new album , photographed for interview with Tony Clayton-Lea. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Due to the time of year that’s in it, we will no doubt see more fundraising gigs than usual, but this one has some extra ingredients to make it even more special. With all proceeds going to Alone, a charity that supports older people to remain in their homes, the line-up includes Richie Egan (Jape),

Lisa O’Neill, and BellX1. All three acts are firm favourites, of course, but it’s likely most ears and eyes will be open for a rare acoustic-ish set from Paul Noonan and friends, who will be accompanied by a quartet drawn from the National Concert Hall’s Blow The Dust Orchestra.  For more information visit alone.ie – TCL

 Sun Kil Moon
Vicar Street, Dublin; 7.30pm, €29.80; ticketmaster.ie
Mark Kozalek has been a fringe figure for more years than he cares to recall, but there are people of a certain age out there that fondly flick through the back pages of his first cult band, Red House Painters. Sun Kil Moon may experience a similar fate, but as time has passed so also have early Kozalek fans grown up, which is why his music has filtered out so much in recent times. Certainly, this fully-seated show is Sun Kil Moon’s biggest in Ireland. It is also the final date of his European tour, so expect a few sighs of relief, some giddy celebration, and a selection of the band’s intensely low-key songs. – TCL

Thursday, November 30th

Bryson Tiller
3Arena, Dublin; 6.30pm, €44; ticketmaster.ie
The American rapper has been gigging since June with his True to Self Tour and the Dublin date will be his final date, so make sure he goes out with style. His low-tempo, confessional hip-hop doesn’t stray too far from the eternally sad Drake but with support from SZA, whose album Ctrl is one of the finest R&B releases of the year, and the very cool IAMDDB, all of your emotions and needs will be catered to. – LB

IAMDDB
The Button Factory, Dublin; 7.15pm, €11.23/16.55; eventbrite.ie

Rapper IAMDDB

Pegging it from the 3Arena, where she’s supporting Bryson Tiller, the singer, producer and rapper IAMDDB will be performing her own headline gig and she is worth keeping an eye on. Using elements of hip-hop, neo-soul and trap music, the 21-year-old from Manchester (via Angola and Portugal) is making music so laid back, it’s practically horizontal. Hoodrich Vol. 3 is her third EP since 2016, and with two gigs in one night, try and bottle some of her energy. – LB

Friday, December 1st 

Yungen
The Academy 2, Dublin; 7pm, €15; ticketmaster.ie

Yungen

Since the release of Bestie, Yungen’s single with Yxng Bane, he’s been making waves in the Irish iTunes chart and is probably on the cusp of something bigger. The south London MC has been active in the UK’s grime scene since 2010 and has worked with Stormzy, Krept & Konan and Wretch 32. Although he hasn’t released an album since 2014’s Project Black & Red, he’s exploring new sounds that might just move him up from venues bigger than The Academy 2. – LB

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