A roundup of this week's music news in brief
Can you Handel this?
A day-long programme of events is planned in Dublin next Tuesday, April 13th, to commemorate the 268th anniversary of Handel’s Messiah debut in the city. From 10am until midnight, there will be walks, performances, talks and dance workshops taking place, as well as an open-air screening of Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon at Meeting House Square. templebar.ie
Making it a Great Escape
A clutch of Ireland’s finest will invade Brighton next month for the fifth Great Escape festival. The past few years has seen a growing number of Irish musicians make the trek across the Irish Sea for the event, which takes place across the city’s many music venues. The Great Escape’s resemblance to a certain Texas-based festival has led many to dub it “SXSW-on- Sea”.
In 2008, the only act flying the Tricolour was James Vincent McMorrow. Conor O’Brien of Villagers was also due to perform last year, but cancelled his sets due to illness. However, bands such as Fight Like Apes and And So I Watch You from Afar wowed audiences.
ASIWYFA will return to the festival this year, along with Fionn Regan, General Fiasco and The Chakras. Among the non-Irish contingent are Broken Social Scene, Born Ruffians, Wild Beasts, The Slits, Stornoway and Everything Everything. escapegreat.com
Atoms get an airing
The first gigs by Atoms for Peace, the new Thom Yorke- led supergroup that also features Flea and Nigel Godrich, took place in New York this week. There was speculation that the gig would be cancelled after an “exploding manhole” incident near the venue, but it went ahead as planned. The quintet played new songs as well as tracks from Radiohead and Yorke’s solo catalogue.
Perry does the rounds:Former Dead Can Dance man Brendan Perry plays three Irish solo gigs next month: Tripod (May 26th), The Pavilion (May 27th) and Róisín Dubh (May 28th). Tickets are on sale on Monday.
A little bit Later:Villagers will appear on Later . . . with Jools Hollandnext Tuesday at 10pm, performing several tracks from their forthcoming album, Becoming a Jackal.
Twisting the Jacknife:REM will return to the studio in the coming weeks to record the follow-up to 2008’s Accelerate. The band’s 15th studio album will once again be produced by Dublin’s own Jacknife Lee.
Inside track:He might be in the Big House, but that hasn’t stopped Lil Wayne from launching a new website. Weezythanx you.com will document Lil Wayne’s jail term and count down to his release date.
Westmeath gets fired up for festival
The Festival of the Fires is set to take place in Co Westmeath on May 1st, and the organisers hope to spark a “rekindling” of Bealtaine, the ancient Gaelic festival that heralded the beginning of the summer season.
A fire will be lit on the Hill of Uisneach, just outside Mullingar, and carried to the four corners of Ireland, while more than 20 satellite events take place in other locations.
But don’t worry, it’s not all pagan lore and mythology – there’ll be music and more to keep attendees entertained. Headlining will be folk-trad titans Kíla while Sharon Shannon and her Big Band, Mundy and Jerry Fish will also play.
“We wanted the festival to have an Irish-centric line-up rooted in the history of the Hill, and folk and trad acts are just that,” said festival coordinator Ronan Casey.
Further names will be announced in the coming weeks, while a Session Tent will play host to dozens of rock, folk and trad acts, along with other tents featuring artists, poets and theatre, and local food and drink. festivalofthefires.com
"Michael Stipe once told me to wear tighter trousers. We did and we had a No 1 in America"
Thanks for that, Chris Martin