Get the August Bank Holiday blues – and rock, folk and hip-hop
Indiependence, Castlepalooza, Beatyard, Dublin Blues, Roots & Brass Festival, Eric Bibb and the mighty Regina Spektor – the best rock and pop gigs to see this week
Manic Street Preachers headline Indiependence on Sunday August 6th
Deer Park, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, Friday August 4th-Sunday August 6th, 2pm, €119/€52.50 tickets.ie
The success of this boutique music and arts festival continues apace, and it once again proves its worth by championing mostly Irish acts during the day and early evening, and then ending the day with a UK headline act. Across the weekend, Irish acts performing include All Tvvins, Hermitage Green, The Riptide Movement, Brian Deady, We Cut Corners, Fangclub and Talos. Headliners include Tom Odell (Friday), The Coronas (Saturday), and Manic Street Preachers (Sunday). Also spoken word (including Stephen James Smith, Abby Oliveira, Wasps vs Humans), comedy (including Bernard Casey, Totally Wired), and afternoon music/interview slots (via Culture Vultures).
Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co Offaly, Friday August 4th-Sunday August 6th, 2pm, €159/€139/€59
Another excellent regional boutique music and arts festival (which last year, with a different promoter, took place some weeks before Indiependence), Castlepalooza also features a mostly Irish line-up. Acts across the weekend include Le Galaxie, RSAG, Bitch Falcon, Third Smoke, Hot Cops, I Have a Tribe, Heroes in Hiding, Rosa Nutty, Thumper, Farah Elle, Hvmmingbird and Oh Boland. A solid comedy strand features Deirdre O’Kane, Colm O’Regan, Fred Cooke, PJ Gallagher, Kevin McGahern and Shane Clifford.
Dublin Blues, Roots & Brass Festival
Whelan’s, Wexford St, Dublin, Friday August 4th-Sunday August 6th, 8pm, Adm free whelanslive.com
If you’re Dublin-based and looking for more blues/rock, blues and roots music than you can really handle, then make a beeline for the Dublin Blues, Roots and Brass Festival, a yearly blast of an event that always manages to mix the tried and trusted with new adventures in the respective genres. Acts featured across the weekend include Blackbird and Crow, Dublin City Rounders, The Louisiana Six, Pete Cummins & Terry Woods, Mary Stokes Band, Mik Pyro, RoboCobra Quartet, Crow Black Chicken, The Dublin Bluegrass Collective, Mongrel State, and Áine Tyrell.
Sons of Southern Ulster
Art and Culture Centre, Bailieboro, Co Cavan, Friday August 4th, 8pm, Adm by donation (all funds raised to Cavan Hospice)
The Washerwoman, Ballina, Co Tipperary, Saturday August 5th, 8pm, €10
“Get ready for a punky spacefolk invasion,” advises (or is it warns?) the promo leaflet for a couple of rare live performances from Cavan’s Sons of Southern Ulster. Primarily duo JJ Kelly and David Meagher, SOSU’s terrific 2016 debut album, Foundry Folk Songs, promptly disappeared down a hole marked “cult”. Its songs of small-town Ireland, however, continue to resonate among those that value not only its musical influences (a blend of Whipping Boy, Velvet Underground, The Fall and A House) but also its insightful collection of rural Ireland tales. Rarely has there been such a progressive, psycho-geographical album released in recent years. No city dates? Sons of Southern Ulster wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, Saturday August 5th & Sunday August 6th, €59-€89 plus booking fees the-beatyard.com/tickets/
Beatyard has become a staple part of the August Bank Holiday weekend, bringing in some of the best live acts to Dún Laoghaire harbour, like headliners Mark Ronson and Air. Make sure you pencil in Bananarama, Rusangano Family, Morcheeba, Soulé, Romare and Toots and the Maytals to your schedule. Various other ’yards (Eatyard, Gamesyard, Banteryard, Kidsyard) will make sure that you’re well fed and entertained, and the many Brewtonic Bars onsite will wet your whistle all weekend long.
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, Sunday August 6th, 8pm, €54.65/€49.65 bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
The last time Regina Spektor – the Russian-born singer and songwriter who cut her creative teeth in New York’s anti-folk/Strokes environment of the very early 2000s – played Ireland was in 2013, when she played Dublin’s Olympia theatre to an adoring throng of mostly women. It was one of the best gigs this writer has ever been to; Spektor’s command of the fans was supreme, idiosyncratic and charming, and the response to her was so tightly connected it was virtually symbiotic. Welcome back – frankly, we’ve been waiting too long.
Sim Simma All Day Summer Party Connolly’s of Leap, Co Cork, Sunday August 6th, 4pm, €12 connollysofleap.com
For a whopping €12, you can get a taste of somewhere totally tropical with the resident Sim Simma DJs – and their special guests Bon Voyage and Toby Kaar – as they take over the hidden gem that is Connolly’s of Leap. Sim Simma’s vibe is chill sonified, ie perfect bank holiday fodder, as they’ll spin a delectable selection of Caribbean, African, Latin and hip-hop tunes. Kicking off at 4pm, their tunes will keep you going on into the night.
National Concert Hall , Dublin, Thursday August 10th, 8pm, €26 nch.ie
A real-deal blues troubadour isn’t something you don’t see or hear very often, so when New Yorker Eric Bibb comes to town you best make whatever plans you have to in order to nab a ticket and grab a seat. Tipping a hat in the direction of Taj Mahal (the 1960s blues musician who, noted Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau, “took on the mission of making acoustic blues a locus of black pride”), Bibb delivers subtle blues/soul with a perceptive balance of significant twists of the knife. A class act.
Róisín Dubh Galway Thursday August 10th, 9pm, €12.50/€10 roisindubh.net
It has been said of New Zealand singer-songwriter Nadia Reid that she is saving folk music. From what we’re not sure, but there’s little doubt that her self-released 2014 debut album, Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs, and this year’s follow-up, Preservation, are welcome and necessary additions to the genre. If you’re looking for reference points (and we know you are), they’re along the lines of Laura Marling, Martha Wainwright, Gillian Welch, Sharon Van Etten and Stevie Nicks. She’s in good company, then, and to say she holds her own is an understatement.