Old friends Franz Ferdinand, The Revs, and Paul Weller: the best rock and pop gigs this week

Iron & Wine in for Valentine’s night, Jake Bugg sells out, and Wild Beasts bid farewell

 

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 10

Franz Ferdinand Leisureland Galway. 9pm. €35.70. roisindubh.net Also Sunday Olympia Theatre, Dublin. 8pm. €55/€65 ticketmaster.ie – What? You have to be kidding me. Sixteen years? Yes, it’s true – Franz Ferdinand formed in 2002, and while that might make some people feel old it’s clear there is still vigour and inspiration aplenty left in the band. Following a misstep with 2013’s Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action (and a diversion with Sparks in 2015), the Scottish band returned sure-footed and rebooted last week with new album Always Ascending. Long-standing friends of Ireland, it’s likely these gigs will be well on the way to being sold out, so look left, look right, look sharp. Tony Clayton-Lea

The Revs The Academy, Dublin €22.90 ticketmaster.ie – Well, if this isn’t a blast from the past. The Revs, the pop punk band from Donegal who are best known for their 2001 single Wired to the Moon, are on a bit of a victory lap. Having played a sold-out show in Whelan’s last August, they’re back to make you pine for your youth. So tighten that shell necklace around your neck, throw on your old, baggy ROAD cords and dust off your Vans slip-ons and ride this wave of nostalgia. Louise Bruton

Louise Holden of I Draw Slow. Photograph: Cormac Figgis
Louise Holden of I Draw Slow. Photograph: Cormac Figgis

I Draw Slow Whelan’s Dublin. 8pm. €15 whelanslive.com – Roots bands are 10-a-penny these days, and, indeed, have been for years, so if there’s a band in that bustling marketplace they need to not only be very good but also to have a firm sense of individuality. Say hello, then, to Irish roots/bluegrass act, I Draw Slow, an active presence in Ireland and beyond across 10 years and four albums (the latest is last year’s critically acclaimed Turn Your Face to the Sun). The album was praised for “spurning cliché and playing with structure”, but the live setting is where it’s at for this vibrant group. Prepare to tap those toes. TCL

Anna Mitchell Levi’s Corner House, Ballydehob Co Cork 8pm Adm free (but the hat will be passed around) leviscornerhouse.com; Also Thursday Mike the Pies, Listowel, Co Kerry 10pm €15; mikethepies.com; Friday Whelan’s Upstairs, Dublin 8pm €12 whelanslive.com – You have to take time out to get any kind of perspective, so it’s no surprise to discover that when Anna Mitchell was based in Woodstock, upstate New York, some time ago she wrote the majority of the songs on her recently released self-titled debut album. Taking inspiration from various songwriters (the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Lucinda Williams), Mitchell nonetheless forges her own style and is all the better for it. Special guests for these shows include US singer-songwriter Marie Danielle (Levi’s Corner House), RTÉ Choice Music Prize nominee Marlene Enright (Mike the Pies), and Patrick Freeman (Whelan’s). TCL

 

MONDAY FEBRUARY 12

Syml Whelan’s, Dublin. 8pm €15 whelanslive.com – Seattle’s Brian Fennell is a founding member of the alt.pop band Barcelona, but side project Syml is that band’s moodier, brooding cousin. Where Barcelona favours piano-driven introspection (think Coldplay and U2 in a Battle of the Boring Bands competition), Syml is mostly synth-oriented, spooky vocals and minimal soundscapes. Interestingly, there are Celtic connections here. Fennell is adopted, and aware of having Welsh roots he has named his solo project accordingly (Syml is Welsh for “simple”). Very fine new EP In my Body will be plugged. Highly recommended. TCL

Maleek Berry Green Room, The Academy, Dublin €19.45 ticketmaster.ie – Raised on reggae, dancehall and UK garage, the self-taught British-Nigerian producer and recording artist Maleek Berry creates gentle afro-pop music that honours his Nigerian roots and the south London music scene he grew up in. He’s produced tracks for Wale and Fuse ODG but with his two EPs, First Daze of Summer and First Daze of Winter, he’s putting his own work to the forefront and his debut Irish gig is the start of an exciting year for him. LB

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 13

The Modfather – Paul Weller Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
The Modfather – Paul Weller Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Paul Weller Olympia theatre, Dublin. 8pm €55.65 ticketmaster.ie Also Wednesday Dublin (same venue/ticket price); Thursday, Ulster Hall, Belfast. 8pm £43 ulsterhall.co.uk – Just 60 (he’s that age come May 25th), Paul Weller is old enough to know that he didn’t get to where he is today without performing songs where – as one of his own would have it – “the public gets what the public wants”. To this end, Weller concerts deliver generous helpings not only from a 25-plus year solo career but also from pre-solo days with Style Council and The Jam. Make sure you get to these gigs in plenty of time, by the way, to check out special guests, Derry punk band Touts. The flinty trio stormed the walls of Dingle’s Other Voices event last December with a show that will surely put a smile on the lined faces of Weller’s original batch of fans. TCL

The Front Bottoms Vicar St, Dublin. 7.30pm €24.50 ticketmaster.ie Also Wednesday Mandela Hall, Belfast. 8pm £21 mandelahall.com – Having one of the worst band names in, well, probably forever, hasn’t prevented this New Jersey indie rock act from progressively cracking open the US album charts. Starting off resolutely independent, several years ago the band signed to Fueled By Ramen, currently home to the likes of successful pop/punk acts Paramore and Panic! at the Disco, and has since seen their popularity (and album sales) dramatically increase. Clearly, that popularity has crossed the Atlantic, as proven by these two large venue shows. Special guests are Australia’s The Smith Street Band, and New Jersey’s Brikk and Mortar. TCL

 

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 14

Iron & Wine The Helix, Dublin €32.50 ticketmaster.ie – Every now and again, The Helix strikes gold with its bookings and they’ve pulled a binder by booking Iron & Wine for Valentine’s Day. Tickets are still available for this gig so if love, romance and bearded folk singers are your thing, you could do a lot worse for yourself on this over-hyped capitalist day. If Valentine’s Day actually means something to your someone, trade the petrol station flowers, passive aggression and regrets in for tickets to this gig instead. LB

Alien Ant Farm The Academy, Dublin €25 ticketmaster.ie – Much like The Revs, Alien Ant Farm’s music lives on in your heart and in the nostalgia section of your CD collection . . . back when you bought CDs. The pop-punk band are widely known for their cover of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal but hardcore fans know that their 2003 album TruANT is from a far superior era. And in a totally different vein to the Iron & Wine gig, what better way to spend the day of love in a sweaty moshpit? LB

Oh Boland Róisín Dubh, Galway. Free. roisindubh.net – Coming in all the way from bright lights of Tuam, garage-pop band Oh Boland are playing a free gig in the Róisín. Since the release of their debut album Spilt Milk in 2016, which was included in Pitchfork’s top 20 garage punk albums of 2016, they’ve been keeping busy on the gig and festival circuit but there’s talk of a second album coming soon. So use this gig to tide you over until then. LB

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 15

Jake Bugg

Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €27.90 (sold out) whelanslive.com Also Friday same venue/ticket price (sold out) – He’s hanging in there, is Jake Bugg. The UK singer and songwriter fairly burst out of the traps five years ago with his self-titled debut album. It topped the UK charts and was good enough to herald the usual comparisons to well-established songwriters. A garlanded career seemed a safe bet. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way, and across three further albums, Bugg has discovered that a Midas touch can often lose its shine and impact. And yet, as we say, the man is hanging in there – his latest album, last year’s Hearts That Strain, is his best so far. So, fingers crossed and let’s see. TCL

Wild Beasts. Photograph: Paul Phung.
Wild Beasts. Photograph: Paul Phung.

Wild Beasts Olympia theatre, Dublin. 8pm €28.50 ticketmaster.ie – So many useless bands stay the course, and perhaps a similar amount of the really good ones just don’t, or can’t, stay the distance. And so it is with a weighty heart that we write of Wild Beasts’s final gig in Ireland. Announcing their break-up last September – “we’ve created something quite of our own and built a body of work which we stand by as heartfelt and true. We’re caretakers to something precious and don’t want to have it diminish as we move forward in our lives.” – the band will surely provide a swansong that is both tender and heartbreaking. Missing them already. Like, right now. TCL

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 16

ChoiceCuts presents: Fehdah – The Sugar Club, Dublin €10-12.50 thesugarclub.com – With a promise of special guests and DJs, Fehdah’s Sugar Club gig should keep you ticking over into the wee hours. Emma Garnett’s afro-soul music is a very cool slice of the active, diverse and growing young hub of Irish musicians. Her debut EP Like No Other, which was released in August, shows an artist with a very distinct voice, so make sure you catch her and her band at her first headline show of the year. LB

Emma Langford Róisín Dubh, Galway, 8pm €10 roisindubh.net – Limerick singer-songwriter Emma Langford signed off 2017 on a highly positive note – her debut album Quiet Giant, released in October, picked up the kind of critical praise that doesn’t come around too often for unknown artists. Factor in Langford’s increasing experience as a live performer (she crisscrossed Germany for almost three weeks back in November), and you’re looking at a definite emerging star for 2018. TCL

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