Going to the Bordello or the Ball? This week’s pop and rock highlights

Gogol Bordello are back, The Script, The Coronas and Gavin James are at the 2FM Xmas Ball, Glen Hansard plays Vicar St and Mark Feehily gets festive at the Sugar Club


Button Factory, Dublin, Saturday December 16th, 7.30pm, €15 buttonfactory.ie

Dublin band The Eskies know all about the value of getting crowds all hopped up and ready to go. The band's 2015 debut album, After the Sherry Went Round, won the hearts of the most sour music critics with its unrestricted styles and devil-may-care approaches. Recently released follow-up album And Don't Spare the Horses sees the band in fine fettle, as they imbue dramatic narratives with sturdy music that brings to mind a blistering mix of folk, punk, klezmer and all points in between.

Adrian Crowley


Grand Social, Dublin, Saturday December 16th, 7pm, €16 tickets.ie

Two decades in, and Adrian Crowley continues at the measured pace he has always employed. There is a lesson to be learned in the songwriter's tortoise-and-hare stance. Crowley came relatively late to music, but from his 1999 debut album, A Strange Kind, he has stealthily released music that has elevated him to the position of Ireland's premier autumnal singer-songwriter. His latest album, Dark Eyed Messenger, is an immersive, literate work that may have shades of The Blue Nile and Mercury Rev, but which ultimately sounds like no one except Adrian Crowley.

PrYmary Colours

39-40 Arran Quay, Dublin, Saturday December 16th, Free prymarycolours.bandcamp.com

PrYmary Colours, the electronic two-piece from Dublin, are launching their new EP Lighter Side Of Day in the upstairs part of Voodoo Lounge. Rounding off an active year on the festival circuit, Cayisha and Daz invite you to “leave your troubles at the door, check in your emotional baggage and meet us on the dancefloor”. Their live shows tend to involve a troupe of dancers and hula-hoopers, among other surprises, so prepare to get involved.

Zehr Gut

D Light Studios and Wigwam, Dublin, Saturday December 16th, €8-€20 homebeat.ie

Zehr Gut is a German-Irish two-part party in collaboration with Homebeat and Goethe-Institut Irland. Part A will kick off in D Light Studios with music from Leafar Legov and Dublin’s r.kitt. It’s also BYOB. Part B will pick up from where they left off (you’ll have to leave the booze behind if you proceed) with a set from the Berlin-based Waterford DJ Neil Flynn in Wigwam. Combo event tickets are available for €20.

Glen Hansard

Vicar St, Dublin, Sunday December 17th & Monday December 18th, 7.30pm, €40 ticketmaster.ie

Glen Hansard on his lonesome is reason enough to leave the comfort of your home on a winter's night. Anyone who has been to a solo gig of his (he performed in this manner at this Dublin venue last August) will know that his inclusiveness is not only infectious but also genuine. The heat, however, rises significantly when the performer is accompanied by a bunch of musicians. For these two Christmas shows, Hansard gathers the usual band format as well as people who know their way around various strings and brass instruments. Indeed, we wouldn't be surprised to see a musician expertly playing Jingle Bells.


isín Dubh, Galway Sunday December 17th, €10-€12.50 roisindubh.net

This Galway date will be the last gig of Loah's cross-country (and a quick jaunt to London) tour. Since the release of her debut EP This Heart earlier this year, she has upped the ante as a performer, growing in strength, style and prowess. The Sierra Leone-Maynooth singer brings together afro-soul rhythms, jazz arrangements and indie rock flourishes. This is one of her final dates of 2017, and it will be the perfect way to celebrate her whirlwind of a year.

Little Green Cars

Grand Social, Dublin, Monday December 18th-Thursday December 21st, 7pm €25 (all dates sold out) tickets.ie

This exceptional Irish band are steeling themselves for the release of their third album next year, and so most of the gigs they’ve undertaken this year have been of the low-key variety during which new material has been road-tested. There are two shows in a much larger venue next month (Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, January 19th & 20th), but here’s a chance to see them very up close and really personal before then. Or would have been if these gigs hadn’t sold out so quickly. Lucky you, then, who has a ticket to any of these four gigs.

2FM Xmas Ball

3Arena, Dublin, Tuesday December 19th, 6pm, €39.50 (sold out) ticketmaster.ie

For the past several years, RTÉ 2FM and MCD have teamed up to co-host an annual Christmas ball in aid of ISPCC. Last year’s event raised over €460,000, and the aim of this year’s ball is to top that. There are more guests to be added, but for now the line-up reads like a veritable who’s-who of Irish pop/rock: The Script (headliners), The Coronas, Gavin James, Little Hours, Wild Youth, Hudson Taylor and Hermitage Green. Your 2FM hosts include Eoghan McDermott, Nicky Byrne, Jenny Greene, Bernard O’Shea, Jennifer Zamparelli, Keith Walsh, Tracy Clifford and a few more. Listen out for screaming. Lots of screaming.

Mark Feehily

The Sugar Club, Dublin, Tuesday December 19th, €27.90 ticketmaster.ie

The name Mark Feehily will either sound vaguely familiar or it will get you all a-flutter, for Mark Feehily was once in Westlife, Ireland's most successful boyband. He has released a Christmas album, simply called Christmas, as his second solo album, and this Sugar Club gig, with a capacity of 350 people, will be a festive explosion. For €81, mega-fans can queue up for a meet and greet with the man himself.

Kerry Hart

The Workman's Club, Dublin, Tuesday December 19th, 8pm, Adm free theworkmansclub.com

God bless the travelling musician that views the touring life as the greatest of adventures. Los Angeles-based Irish-American singer-songwriter Kerry Hart comes to the end of her nationwide tour, and from Cork to Belfast, Galway to Dublin, she has been performing subtle acoustic folk and ballads from her recently released EP, Live at the Sky, and lots more besides. Hart has also been shadowed by a film crew, which has documented her roots-finding travels as well as her interaction with Irish musicians. Give one of our own a warm Dublin welcome on a very cold night.

Gogol Bordello

Academy, Dublin, Tuesday December 19th, 7pm €30 ticketmaster.ie

There aren’t many bands on this earth that have cornered the market with a fusion of ideologically influenced gypsy music and The Clash. With a band name nabbed from the Russian Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol, this New York band has been at the forefront of the sub-genre for almost 20 years. Prepare for extraordinarily high-intensity music mixed with ethnic identity and sweat. Special guests are Lucky Chops, a multi-cultural NYC brass/funk band that returns to Dublin after last year’s successful Button Factory show.

The Strypes

Whelan's, Dublin, Thursday December 21st & Friday December 22nd, 7.30pm, €30 (with extra all-ages show, Friday, 1pm, €15) ticketmaster.ie

This was the year The Strypes came of age. The band's third album, Spitting Image, paid due attention to the truculent R&B that inspired them in their early development, but it also added a decent amount of smart punk/pop influences to proceedings: Nick Lowe, early Elvis Costello, Buzzcocks, and more. The result is a more rounded band that still kicks dirt around the stage. The long, strange trip for this spiky Cavan band continues.

Rusangano Family

Dolans Warehouse, Limerick, Thursday December 21st, €21 ticketmaster.ie

Another amazing Irish act that has had an incredible year. In March, the Limerick-based hip-hop group won the Choice Music Prize for their 2016 album Let the Dead Bury the Dead, and they've rightfully been doing victory laps ever since. Their live set brings unlimited amounts of joy to every crowd they meet, delivering warmth, energy and brutal sincerity. They're undeniably one of the best recent acts to come out of Ireland.

The Frank & Walters

Academy, Dublin, Friday December 22nd, 7pm, €22.50 ticketmaster.ie

It's all happening with Cork music these days. First it was the recent shock announcement of the regrouping of Microdisney for a one-off gig next year at the NCH; then it was revealed that the Sultans of Ping album Casual Sex at the Cineplex is to be reissued in January for a special-edition 25th anniversary, and now we have The Frank & Walters celebrating the 20th anniversary of their superb album Grand Parade. Great groups, great city, great music. And a Happy Christmas to you, like.

Bodytonic + Beatyard Xmas Party: Horse Meat Disco + Conor L & Eoin Callanan

Wigwam, Dublin, Friday December 22nd, €15-18 wigwam.com

Bodytonic, the team behind Wigwam, The Bernard Shaw, Eatyard, Beatyard, MVP, The Square Ball and The Back Page, are throwing one hell of a Christmas hoolie in the basement of Wigwam, with DJ sets from Bodytonic’s own Conor L and Eoin Callanan and a whopper set from Horse Meat Disco that will get your blood pumping.