Boy George is back in Dublin town

Rock & pop gigs of the week

 

SATURDAY 24

STEPHEN JAMES SMITH Button Factory Dublin 7.30pm €15 buttonfactory.ie Anyone interested in contemporary spoken-word will know that Stephen James Smith is one of the leading lights of Ireland’s contribution to the form. Like Colm Keegan and John Cummins, Smith enhanced its perception by delivering work that has both rationality and strength. This headline show is the final date of Smith’s nationwide tour in support of his superb debut collection of poetry, Fear Not, copies of which will be on sale at the venue. TCL

LAOISE The Grand Social, Dublin €12.50 thegrandsocial.ie With her latest single Again drawing comparisons to Dua Lipa, it’s unfair to contain Galway singer Laoise to just a comparison. As one of Ireland’s up-and-coming ladies of pop, she’s a rare breed. A pop lover and a pop purveyor, her tunes are infectious, super-slick and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be all over the radio. This is her second last gig of the year, with the last scheduled in Galway’s Róisín Dubh on December 14th. LB

SUNDAY 25

BOY GEORGE & CULTURE CLUB 3Arena Dublin 6.30pm €49.50 ticketmaster.ie It is quite the 1980s nostalgia-fest at 3Arena tonight, with hits-filled shows from two of the era’s best-known acts. From Culture Club (the name now emphatically preceded by lead singer George O’Dowd) we have eight Top 10 UK hits from 1982-1986. From special guest act Tom Bailey (performing under the title of Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey), we have eight Top 20 UK hits from 1982-1985. Enough to appease the avid fans, for sure, but casual attendees beware. TCL

Devotcha
Devotcha

DEVOTCHKA Academy Dublin 7pm €17.50 ticketmaster.ie Taking their name from the Russian for ‘girl’, Denver, Colorado’s DeVotchKa first performed as the touring band with model and burlesque entertainer Dita Von Teese, but it was via the 2006 indie film Little Miss Sunshine (for which the band composed the film score), that a greater part of the world became aware of them. From then to now, the band’s music has evolved, impacted surely by frontman Nick Urata’s film composition work for the likes of Crazy Stupid Love and Paddington. The band will be promoting their most recent album, The Night Falls Forever. TCL

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26

GAVIN BRYARS National Concert Hall Dublin 8pm €30/€20 nch.ie Pioneers, adventurers and followers of non-fashion such as Gavin Bryars are increasingly rare these days. The Yorkshireman is widely regarded as one of the most important post-minimalist composers, and although he may be best known for two works (The Sinking of the Titanic, and Jesus’ Blood Never Failed me Yet – both composed in the early 1970s), he has continued to evade categorisation.  TCL

TUESDAY 27

Jess Glynne
Jess Glynne

JESS GLYNNE 3Arena Dublin 6.30pm €40.40 ticketmaster.ie London singer-songwriter Jess Glynne knows the ropes inside and outside the ring. Her mother once worked in the music industry as an A&R spotter, while Glynne herself worked for a music management company, which is where she built up her contacts list before embarking on a music-related course. It was during her time here (throughout 2010) that Glynne met future songwriting collaborators, and subsequently signed a publishing and record deal. Since then, she has released two albums (2015’s debut, I Cry When I Laugh, and this year’s Always in Between), each of which displays her strengths as a pop/R&B artist. TCL

SOAK The Grand Social, Dublin €20 thegrandsocial.ie - Northern Irish singer-songwriter SOAK scooped up the Choice Music Prize for her 2015 album Before We Forgot How To Dream, released when she was just 19, and she’s now kicking off the next part of her career. An incredibly sensitive and insightful songwriter – as heard on her new single Everybody Loves You, a song about the lengths we go to protect ourselves – it’s great to have SOAK back. LB

WEDNESDAY 28

BELLX1 National Concert Hall Dublin 8pm €37.50/€25 nch.ie; also Thursday same venue. Both shows sold out - Subtitled ‘Acoustic-ish with Dowry Strings’, this is yet another example of how BellX1 successfully manage to come up with different ways to present their music without alerting the listener to over-familiarity. Across these two sold-out shows, the band will flick through their back catalogue with the added bonus of a string quartet guided by composer and arranger Éna Brennan (aka Dowry). Don’t expect anything less than a bucketful of beautiful, is our prediction. TCL

WHEATUS Monroe’s, Galway €25 monroes.ie - You’d be forgiven for thinking that Wheatus disappeared after the massive success of their 2000 single Teenage Dirtbag and their 2001 cover of Erasure’s A Little Respect, but the New York band kept on chugging along, releasing albums such as the not-so-cryptically titled Suck Fony in 2005 and Pop, Songs & Death in 2012, and putting out their new single Lullaby last June. I guess a Teenage Dirtbag’s dream is even harder to beat. LB

MABEL The Academy, Dublin €20 ticketmaster.ie - 2018 has been one hell of a year for R&B singer Mabel. The daughter of Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey, she’s been hopping up and down the charts, collaborating with Not3s, Raye, Jax Jones and Stefflon Don. This gig is a step-up from her last headlining visit to Dublin, where she played the smaller stage in The Academy’s Green Room. With an extended version of her Ivy to Roses mixtape freshly released, hopefully an album isn’t far away. LB

Blossoms
Blossoms

BLOSSOMS The Limelight Belfast 8pm £17.50 limelightbelfast.com; also Thursday, Olympia Theatre, Dublin 8pm €22.90 ticketmaster.ie - The past two years have seen Manchester’s Blossoms rise out of relative obscurity to being on the BBC Sound of 2016 list and then receiving a nomination for their self-titled debut album on the 2017 Mercury Music Prize list. Similar praise has been heaped onto their second album, this year’s Cool like You, which takes the band’s indie pop/psych music up a notch or two. Special guest act is Derry band Touts, who we recommend specifically for fans of no-holds-barred punk rock circa 1977. TCL

FRIDAY 30

LAURYN HILL 3Arena Dublin 6.30pm €67 ticketmaster.ie - Twenty years after the release of Lauryn Hill’s debut (and, to date, only studio) album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the American singer makes her solo debut in Ireland, bringing that justly acclaimed neo-soul album with her (and, according to advance reports, some covers, and a song or two by Fugees, her former group). The tour has not been without controversy, however, with late starting times causing audience upsets at numerous venues. Whatever about timing issues, this will surely be the first opportunity for Irish fans to hear The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill played in its entirety (although whether in strict order and in arrangements you will recognisable is open to debate – another sore point with numerous audiences). TCL

CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS RDS Main Hall, Dublin €54.50 ticketmaster.ie - Christine and the Queens’s latest tour is reported to be a full-blown art pop show, involving intense choreography that places her on the same pedestal as Janet Jackson. French singer Héloïse Letissier came back with a new look, a new sound and a shortened name on her last album Chris, which toys with stereotypes and expectations of gender and sexuality, and her live show is a deeply thought-out extension of that exploration. LB

OTHER VOICES Various venues/times, Dingle, Co Kerry othervoices.ie - Seventeen years a-growing, and Other Voices remains a highlight in the year’s pop-culture calendar. As usual, there’s so much going on that you won’t be able to do/see everything, but no doubt you’ll try to pack in as much as possible. What’s on offer includes the St James’ Church shows (tonight and tomorrow, Saturday December 1, including Courtney Marie Andrews, Mahalia, Nahkane, Whenyoung), the Hennessy Music Trail (including many of the acts you’ll hear much more of in 2019), the IMRO Other Room (including Kitt Philippa Mango & Mathman, and Kojaque), Music Trail West, and the Ireland’s Edge conference. And don’t forget Banter, After Dark and Waxing Lyrical. Busy business as usual, then? TCL

HOLY TRINITY AND DRAGGED UP PRESENTS: ABCD TOUR The Olympia Theatre, Dublin €50.65 ticketmaster.ie - Adore Delano, Bianca Del Rio, Courtney Act and Darienne Lake are the top four queens from season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race and they also make up the A, B, C and D of the ABCD Tour. The all-singing, all-dancing and all lip-syncing dames will pull out all the stops to entertain you, through serving tea, shade tears, laughter and song. VIP meet & greet tickets from €97. LB

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