Going out this weekend? Here’s the best of what to see and do

Our critical picks of the best festivals, family events, exhibitions and gigs on around the country this weekend

Maya Jane Coles, part of this weekend's Life festival in  Belvedere House Co Westmeath

Maya Jane Coles, part of this weekend's Life festival in Belvedere House Co Westmeath


Selected highlights chosen by Michael Dervan, Jim Carroll, Tony Clayton-Lea, Siobhán Long, Aidan Dunne and Cormac Larkin


George Ezra

The Limelight Belfast 7pm £25 limelightbelfast.com Also Sat, Millennium Forum Derry 8pm £26/£24 millenniumforum.co.uk; Mon, Olympia theatre Dublin 8pm €30 (sold out) ticketmaster.ie; Tues, Big Top, Milk Market Limerick 7pm €30 ticketmaster.ie
He’s 24 on June 7th, yet UK singer-songwriter/musician George Ezra has been on top of his game for several years. He has been described as a young man playing an old man’s tune, and that’s partly true – a teenage obsession with early Bob Dylan led him to discover older US blues/folk musicians such as Howlin’ Wolf, Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie. By his late teens, Ezra had “found” his voice, and it is the depth of this instrument that has made his music so favorably compared to that of much older musicians. This said, he has youth on his side – as well as a fan base that hugs itself to sleep to the likes of Sam Smith, Tom Odell and Ed Sheeran. TCL

Birr Festival of Music & Voice

Various venues, Birr, Co Offaly, until Sunday birrtheatre.com
May 2017 is turning into an unusual month, bringing the birth of two new classical music festivals, the West Wicklow Festival last week, and the Birr Festival of Music & Voice this weekend. The festival is described as “an extension of the Trench Award,” a bursary for young professional singers that’s now in its fourth year. Hence the festival’s emphasis on voice. The main recital is by baritone Bruno Caproni (Friday 8pm), with a young singers concert (Sunday 3pm), a Trench Award Gala Concert (Sunday 7.30pm), and a concert by the RTÉ Contempo Quartet (Saturday 8pm). Caproni and the Contempo Quartet will also be involved in master classes over the weekend. MD

Fleadh Nua Ennis

Various venues,Ennis, Co Clare all weekend fleadhnua.com
Céilidhe, singing sessions, pub trails and workshops continue to jostle for space as this year’s Fleadh Nua hits its stride for a big weekend. Tomorrow night’s headline concert, Bofin to Burren, features west Kerr box player and singer Seamus Begley, along with his Téada compadre Oisín MacDiarmada, with many other musicians joining in the fray. There’s a real treat on Sunday when Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly are joined by Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Donal O’Connor and Gerry O’Beirne. Glór is the anchor venue for the main concerts with every snug and corner the quarry of other visiting musicians and singers. SL

Clockwork & Footwork

The Bunatee, Belfast 7pm £9 facebook.com/BenjaminDamage
Here’s a night out for fans of bold, deep and expressive techno. Born in Wales and currently resident in Berlin, Benjamin Damage is a dude with great clarity when it comes to his sound and vision.

Over the years, from his first deep rave releaes with DJ Venom and tracks for collaborator Doc Daneeka’s Ten Thousand Yen label, Damage has shown a penchant for tracks with a great wallop of sound. He’s most clearly associated wth Modeselektor’s 50 Weapons label, creating innovative grooves such as those on his Heliosphere and Obsidian albums which cross the tracks between bass and techno. Support at this one from Patrick Campbell and Eddy Kennedy. JC

Johnny Lehane

Ionad Cultúrtha, Ballyvourney 8.30pm €15 ionadculturtha.ie
Cúl Aodha’s song store is second to none, and tonight sees local singer Seán Ó Liathán launch his solo album An Cruiscín Lán, recorded by the unstoppable Peadar Ó Riada in his studio, An Draighean, in the heart of Cúl Aodha. The evening’s celebrations will include an interview by Peadar of this man whose songbook reaches well beyond the boundaries of his home place. This promises to be a night of community and of tall tales and unlikely scéals. SL


Belvedere House Co Westmeath also Sat/Sun 6pm €159/€146/ €80.55 life-festival.com
In terms of line-up alone, Life is the King Kong of the summer dance fests. Every shade of electronic music is covered on a bill which has room for such heavyweights as Nina Kraviz (below), Ricardo Villalobos, drum’n’bass pioneer Goldie, the mighty Maya Jane Coles, reggae and dancehall sound system don David Rodigan and such popular house/pop names as Duke Dumont, Gorgon City, Eats Everything and Rudimental.

It’s the 12th outing for the event and, as always, they’ve got a range of decent Irish names along with those big hitters from abroad, including, homegrown techno stalwart Sunil Sharpe, his Tinfoil buddy DeFeKT, Long Island Sound, Jamie Behan and Phil Kieran. It looks and sounds like another whopper. JC

Out To Lunch

Tengu Dublin 11pm €10 outtolunch.ie
Düsseldorf’s Salon Des Amateurs is the club Belgrade born-and-raised Vladimir Ivkovic has called home for much of the past 12 years. It’s a fascinating venue, a tiny club which has shown that open- minded selectors with an adventurous music policy can make a big impact, as seen by the profile beyond the space of such residents as Lena Willikens, Detlef Weinrich, Jan Schulte and Ivkovic. After cutting his teeth as a DJ back in Belgrade, Ivkovic moved onto labels, running his own Offen Music for experimental music and managing Loco Dice’s Desolat label. Support from Wave Forza and Out to Lunch’s Simon Conway. JC

Far from the Crowd - Nigel Cox

Gormleys Fine Art, 27 South Frederick St, Dublin Until May 27 then at Gormleys Fine Art, 471 Lisburn Rd, Belfast June 3-17 gormleys.ie
Before he was an artist, Nigel Cox was a radio officer in the merchant navy. His experience of the isolated human presence in the vastness of the ice caps when he took part in the Tran globe Expedition between 1979 and 1982 shaped his art. At the time he made watercolour studies in sketchbooks.

Subsequently he developed his trademark iconographic approach of taking individuals from their everyday contexts and marooning them in huge, blank settings. These works can be purely realist or distinctly allegorical. Cox has also established himself as a portrait painter. AD


Imelda May

Waterfront Hall, Belfast 7.30pm £35/£29.50 waterfront.co.uk Also Mon/Tues/Wed, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin 8pm €45/€40 (sold out) bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
Reinvention? What we have here is a smart recalibration of music and image (if we can safely use that word) that no one saw coming. We’re led to believe that the Dubliner’s marriage break-up spurred a change in songcraft and hair-do, and while we don’t doubt that for a second, there’s a strong feeling that – personal circumstances notwithstanding - May would eventually have had to alter her rockabilly stance in order to keep, if not increase, admirers.

May’s intuition has certainly worked – her new look is so cool it has already caused a major spike in sales of the colour black, while her latest album, Life. Love. Flesh. Blood., has cast her in a fresh (and emotive) soul/blues light. TCL

Guns N’Roses
Slane Castle, County Meath 2pm €149.50/€89.50 (sold out) ticketmaster.ie
It’s a clearcut case of hell freezing over as three of the core original members of Guns N’Roses ( Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan) get back together for the aptly titled ‘Not in this Lifetime Tour’.

They’ve played Slane before (1992), but return to Ireland five years after Axl’s 2012 Dublin gig at the O2 (which, of course, followed the debacle of their show in September 2010, at the same venue, when they were bottled off stage). Such memories have no doubt faded in the background, and so it’s all systems go for this gig, which sees one of the best open-air spaces in Europe open its gates for a sold-out 80,000 capacity gig. Support acts include Royal Blood, Mark Lanegan, and Otherkin, but seriously, who’d be a support act for such a partisan audience? TCL


Culturlann McAdam O’Fiaich 8pm £8/£6 culturlann.ie
The riches of the Connacht tradition will be in full flow tonight when flute player John Wynne (left), fiddle player John McEvoy, concertina player and guitarist Jacinta McEvoy, and singer Rachel Garvey bring their cracking collection of tunes and songs Laganside. Debut album Tús Nua is a masterclass in generous ensemble playing, with flute and fiddle in full flAight. This is a foursome worth catching on one of their all too rare live appearances. SL


Turk’s Head, Dublin 10pm €12/€10 facebook.com/flashbackdublin
Flashback is for those whose taste in vintage dance music doesn’t just run to the handful of tried and tested rave classics. Over the past while, Flashback has put on nights with Slipmatt, Brandon Block and 808 State in the city, but it’s a chance for the club’s residents and local guests to shine on this occasion. This roll-call includes the now Moscow-resident Chris D, who held things down at places such as the Waterfront, Temple Theatre and Ormond back in the day, and Derek Cully. They’ll be joined by John Flavrjay Conlon (The Energy Collective), David Murphy and Elaine Robbins (Kickstreamtv). JC


Connolly’s, Leap, Cork, 4pm, €15, connollysofleap.com Mall Arts Centre, Youghal, Cork, 8pm, €15/€12.50. Also Sunday, Connolly’s of Leap, Cork, 4pm, €15, facebook.com/isotopejazz
Isotope is an appropriate name for a band that has passed through various states of matter over the years. The band originally grew out of pianist (and Eurovision legend) Noel Kelehan’s Ozone quintet, featuring demigods of Irish jazz like John Wadham, Frank Hess, Mike Nolan and Keith Donald, and for many years, their Thursday night residency in JJ Smyths was required listening. The line-up has changed organically over the years, so that today, it contains not a single original member, but when the replacements are saxophonist Richie Buckley, his cousin Hugh on guitar, pianist Myles Drennan, bassist Dave Fleming and drummer John Philip Murray, no one is complaining. CL


Nasty Women

Workman’s Club, Dublin 8pm €12 theworkmansclub.com
Back in January, at the Women’s March in Washington DC, US actor Ashley Judd delivered a poem by 19-year- old Tennessee student Nina Donovan. A potent spoken-word piece, Nasty Women criticises US President Donald Trump (“I feel Hitler in these streets. A moustache traded for a toupee...”) as well as highlighting many other social inequalities (“I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, misogyny”).

Dublin now gets its chance to voice dissatisfaction of inequalities via this inspired fundraising gig, which features an all-female line-up that includes Pillow Queens, Naoise Roo (above), Majia Sofia and Molly Sterling. All proceeds towards the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment. TCL

Beat BBQ

The Parlour Belfast 4pm £8 beatbbq.com
It’s a bank holiday weekend up north and an excuse for the Beat BBQ team to put on one of their irregular bashes. Detroit musical kingpin Mike Huckaby is the headliner, the guy from the legendary Record Time record store who comes with a store of great house and techno grooves. Apart from his work as a remixer and producer for labels Deep Transportation and S Y N T H and acts such as Juan Atkins, Loco Dice, Pole and others, Huckaby is also a noted educator, teaching music production with Native Instruments and Ableton software at Youthville in the Motor City and worldwide. Support from Timmt Stewart, OCD and the Tw!tch and Dialog:ue crews. JC


Pyg Dublin 8pm €10 pyg.ie
Rahaan Young is one of those regular visitors to the city who always pulls the kind of sussed crowd who appreciate sets which are wall to wall with thrillers and killers.

Rahaan learned the DJ-ing game at house parties as a youth in Chicago as a member of the Chuck Brothers dance crew, before moving onto hometown clubs and nights like The Spot and Soul In the Hole and, later further afield, the likes of Dekmantel and Boiler Room. Support from Colin Perkins and Calum Kennedy. JC

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