Kylie and the Bunnymen: This week’s must-see rock and pop gigs

Plus: Lisa Hannigan, They Might Be Giants, Saint Sister, Emmy the Great and . . . Coolio!

Kylie Minogue brings her new country-pop sound to the 3Arena in Dublin on Sunday and the SSE Arena, Belfast on Monday

Kylie Minogue brings her new country-pop sound to the 3Arena in Dublin on Sunday and the SSE Arena, Belfast on Monday


Lisa Hannigan & s t a r g a z e

National Concert Hall, Dublin Saturday October 6th/Sunday October 7th 8pm€40/€34/€27 (sold out)

Is it too tempting not to say that the combination of Lisa Hannigan and s t a r g a z e is a match made in heaven? Perhaps, but there it is. Hannigan, one of Ireland’s smartest and most accomplished songwriters, has been known to throw caution gently enough into the face of oncoming winds, and here – in the company of the (literally, by title, at least) spaced-out s t a r g a z e, an ensemble group of classically trained European musicians – she opens up her back catalogue for interpretation and exploration. A starry, starry night, indeed. TCL


The Academy, Dublin Saturday October 6th €22

Since the release of his debut album Wild Alee last year, Eoin French’s ambient electronic music as Talos has left a trail of fans completely weak at the knees. With the promise of a second album coming soon (he’s currently putting the finishing touches to it down in West Cork), this Dublin gig is the first night of a tour that will bring him to the all the hot spots – London, Cork, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and everywhere in between – before finishing off in Galway this December. LB 

Nighthawks at the Cobalt

Cobalt Café, 16 North Great George’s Street Saturday October 6th 7.45pm €15 (sold out)

This regular multi-strand evening sells out every time, so if you weren’t quick enough to nab a ticket then it’s likely you won’t get to hear music (Inni-K, Shakalak, Brooke Sharkey, Kevin Herm Connolly, Freddy Walsh and James McDonald), comedy (Eric Lalor), and spoken word (Emmet O’Brien). We don’t know how the curators manage to get such good names, and we don’t know how the programmers manage to squeeze so many of them into one evening. What we do know is that these events are the business. You have been duly advised. TCL

They Might Be Giants

Button Factory, Dublin Saturday October 6th 7.30pm €35

Thirty-six years? No, it can’t be. Except – oh, dear – yes it is. Formed in 1982 by Massachusetts friends John Flansburgh and John Linnell, They Might Be Giants may be known in this part of the world for their sole UK Top 10 tune, Birdhouse in Your Soul, but since that 1990 hit they have released almost 20 albums that traverse the pop/rock spectrum with no small amount of smarts and style. The group’s latest, I Like Fun (“expertly crafted powerpop into delivering sentiments worthy of a Beckett play,” noted this paper’s reviewer back in January), will be filleted for snappy tunes, while their best-known song will be dutifully delivered. TCL


3Arena, Dublin Sunday October 7th 8pm €176/€116/€86/€76/€65.45

SSE Arena, Belfast Monday October 8th 7pm £155/£100/£75/£65/£55

We love Kylie, but looking at the uppermost, eye-watering level of those ticket prices, we’re not so sure we can afford to adore her as much as we used to. This said, there’s something about the woman that breaks down such monetary quibbles. She has, after all, been able to breeze through three decades-plus of pop stardom by credibly taking on varying styles of music. The latest, and one that suits her current confessional tones well, is country-pop. Advance reports of this gig suggest that her new (and very good) C&W-centric album, Golden, is heavily plugged and that some of her best-known hits (including Especially for You, and Can’t Get You Out of My Head) also get an airing. In short, prepare for a pop/disco/country stomp show of the highest order. TCL

Everything Everything

Olympia Theatre, Dublin Sunday October 7th €23.50

Having had to cancel their February gig due to that pesky snow the Beast from the East brought, this is Everything Everything’s rescheduled show, with all tickets from the original date remaining valid. What would have been one of the first gigs of their tour for their new album A Fever Dream is now the last, and they’re hopefully going to give it some welly. David Kitt will be joining them as support on the night. LB  

Emmy the Great

Grand Social, Dublin Sunday October 7th 8pm €20

Emma-Lee Moss is a steadfast original songwriter who has been responsible for acutely perceptive albums (2009’s First Love, 2016’s Second Love), film soundtracks (2013’s Austenland), and quite likely the best indie-pop Christmas album of the past 10 years (2011’s This Is Christmas, with Ash’s Tim Wheeler). This show, however, isn’t all about her life as a songwriter and musician, but rather an exploration (under the title of Destiny’s Child: a Story of Karma in New China) of her past and identity. It isn’t often you get the chance to see as fine a performer as Moss deliver an honest account of their lives and their attempts to make sense of it, so this can’t be recommended highly enough. TCL

Anthony D’Amato

Whelan’s Upstairs, Dublin Tuesday October 9th 8pm €11

You may not be overly familiar with the name, but this New Jersey songwriter has been gaining a stable following since his third album, 2014’s The Shipwreck from the Shore. Partly influenced by his time studying with Irish poet Paul Muldoon, the record introduced D’Amato’s tough, roots-inspired tunes that snagged – all too inevitably – comparisons with early Dylan/Springsteen. Perhaps a more pertinent reference point would be Josh Ritter, whose narrative tales of love, joy and woe fit D’Amato’s outlook to a tee. His latest album, 2016’s Cold Snap, will feature heavily – no bad thing. TCL


isín Dubh, Galway Wednesday October 10th €22/€24

He may have spent most his life living in a gangsta’s paradise, but nowadays Coolio can be found playing gigs in small venues, hoping to strike a hit of nostalgia for a pretty penny. The 54-year-old is hitting the four corners of Ireland with gigs in JRB’s in Kildare on October 11th, The Bowery in Rathmines, Dublin on October 12th, The Venue in Cork on October 13th and the Skylite Room Warrenpoint in Newry on October 14th. LB

Saint Sister

Olympia Theatre, Dublin Thursday October 11th 7pm €28.90

DeBarras, Clonakilty, Co Cork Friday October 12th 9pm €20.90

It has taken over four years for Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty to release their debut album, Shape of Silence, but now that it’s here we realise why. Simply put, a work of beauty can take time to perfect. Those who have arrived late to Saint Sister’s music won’t have witnessed their progression over the past few years; those that have can take comfort in the fact that their instincts to stick with them proved correct. Saint Sister continue their nationwide tour with performances at St Luke’s, Cork (October 13th), Dolans, Limerick (October 14th), Róisín Dubh, Galway (October 19th), The Black Box, Belfast (October 20th), The Glassworks, Derry (October 21st) and Hawks Well Theatre, Sligo (October 27th). TCL  

Lucy Spraggan

The Workman’s Club, Dublin Thursday October 11th €16

Even though Lucy Spraggan first came to prominence on The X Factor in 2012, auditioning with a song she had written herself and making it through to the live shows with her own music, her career is far from the usual X Factor conveyor belt of contestants. Less poppy than the rest, her four solo albums take an early noughties, indie-folky twist that wouldn’t sound out of place alongside The Maccabees, Noah and the Whale or The Mystery Jets. LB

Homebeat Presents: James Holden & The Animal Spirits

The Sugar Club, Dublin Thursday October 11th €18.60-€22.50

If you think the words folk and trance are were destined to join up, then James Holden and his Animal Spirits are the crew for you. The experimental producer pours a lifetime of musical influences into his third album The Animal Spirits, using northern African rhythms and spiritual jazz leanings to push things forward. If his Body & Soul set is anything to go by, expect an eclectic entourage onstage at the Sugar Club. LB

Echo & the Bunnymen

Olympia Theatre, Dublin Friday October 12th 7pm €39.45 (sold out)

Celebrating 40 years as a going concern, Liverpool’s Echo & the Bunnymen (now officially a duo, with original co-founding members Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant) have found a way to reinvigorate their often thrilling back catalogue: infuse the hits with classical gas. This show promotes a newly released album, The Stars, the Oceans & the Moon, a collection that adds orchestral strings to songs such as Seven Seas, The Killing Moon, Lips Like Sugar, and Bring on the Dancing Horses. Considering the classic status of the tunes, this is a risky venture, but since when has the ever-assertive McCulloch not been up for a challenge? TCL  

Eat: Ith: Ceoil with Margie Jean Lewis

Fumbally Stables, Dublin Friday October 12th €15

Changing up the gig format a little bit, Homebeat and Fumbally Stables are coming together to provide you with dinner and a show that takes place every Friday in October. The cost of the ticket gets you entry and a gig (this week’s special guest is the brilliant and musically rich Margie Jean Lewis) and the small plates at dinner are priced at €6 and €7 with wine going by the glass. Perfect autumnal entertainment. LB  

Tom Robinson

Whelan’s, Dublin Friday October 12th 8pm €25

It may seem stylistically quaint now, but Tom Robinson’s Glad to Be Gay still holds resonance. Indeed, the song – first released in early 1978 – is still held in high regard as a singalong anthem for the LGBT community. Robinson, meanwhile, has long since been viewed as a commendable commentator on equal rights. Such history blends with his public profile in the UK and beyond as a presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music. He visits Dublin to ostensibly plug his most recent album, 2015’s Only the Now, but you can bet your rent money the older songs will be performed before the gig ends. TCL

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