Riding shotgun underneath the hot sun: The week’s best rock and pop gigs

George Ezra, Saul Williams, Maria Doyle Kennedy and RuPaul’s Drag Race queens

George Ezra will be playing his current  hit Shotgun in Belfast on Friday August 10th. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/EPA

George Ezra will be playing his current hit Shotgun in Belfast on Friday August 10th. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/EPA


Saul Williams
Sugar Club, Dublin Saturday August 4th 8pm €20 thesugarclub.com

Over 20 years ago, would-be actor Saul Williams chanced upon an open mic night for poets. “It was a place where a lot of people were experimenting with language, performance art, and writing,” he told this newspaper several years ago. He has come a long way since then, his life turned and twisted by fate and well-grasped opportunities. A classy act, Williams blends his work (which incorporates music, spoken word and acting) with political heft. While in Ireland, he also makes an appearance at the All Together Now festival in Curraghmore House, Waterford on Sunday, August 5th. TCL

Yamamori Tengu Takeover with DHD, MAGIC and Eclectrika
Yamamori Tengu, Dublin Saturday August 4th 8pm €8 eventbrite.ie

Taking full advantage of the bank holiday weekend, collectives DHD, Eclectrika and MAGIC are planning to leave their mark on Tengu. Kicking off at 8pm, they’ll be going until closing time at 3am with promises of deep ’n’ dirty house and melodic techno. With a rotating cast of DJs from each collective, including Syl Black, Throwing Emotions and Pete Dux, there will be no rest for the wicked here. Go big or go home, as they say. LB

Urban Village
Indiependence Music & Arts Festival, Deer Farm, Mitchelstown, Co Cork Saturday August 4th & Sunday August 5th 2pm €139 indiependence.tickets.ie

Anyone who thinks that Ireland is not up to delivering classy, smart urban music needs to rethink and re-evaluate. Major festivals such as Longitude have proven there is more than a thirst for the music, while this year Indiependence has introduced its very own space for it. Over the weekend Irish acts such as Mango x MathMan, Sequence, Erica Cody, Kojaque, Tebi Rex, Shookrah, Jay Ronic, JyellowL, Xo Mo, and Outsider Yp will be providing the beats and rhythms, while DJs Stevie G and Phil Taggart will be upping the ante in the let’s-go-crazy department. TCL

Secret Garden Music Festival
Abbey Grounds, Wicklow town, Co Wicklow Sunday August 5 3pm €15 secretgarden.ie

Applying the principle of putting on a festival in your hometown that you yourself would like to go to, Wicklow band Birds of Olympus (specifically frontman John Murphy) is behind this new single-day festival. Combining visual art/installations (created by Wicklow artist Eoghain Phelan), workshops (craft making, drumming), and music (including Cat Dowling, Mongrel State, Daniel John Paxton and a headline slot by Birds of Olympus, who made many friends with their recent performances at Groove Festival and KnockanStockan), this family-friendly event looks set to become a regular on the festival calendar. TCL

One Till One
Connolly’s of Leap, Cork Sunday August 5th 1pm €15/€20 connollysofleap.com

Not to be overshadowed by any other all-day party, Connolly’s of Leap’s One Till One does exactly as it says on the tin. From 1pm in the afternoon, Fish Go Deep, Colm Motherway, Colm K , Arveene and Bon Voyage will be tending to all of your musical needs up until 1am. While Bon Voyage will be spitting rhymes over hip-hop beats, the rest of the gang will be serving up everything from house to funk to techno. LB

Silent Disco Street Party
Galway’s West End Monday August 6th €20 roisindubh.net

If you’ve somehow got some energy left in your weary body on bank holiday Monday, then roll up to the Silent Disco Street Party that will be taking over Galway’s West End. This over-18s event is in association with the Róisín Dubh and if you’re in any way familiar with the stylings of silent disco DJs Gugai and Ted, then you know that you’ll get everything from Blondie to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song to Le Galaxie playing in your ears. LB

Art School Girlfriend
The Sound House, Eden Quay, Dublin 1 Wednesday August 8 8pm €11.50 thewileyfox.ie/thesoundhouse

From Margate via Wrexham (that’s England via Wales for those who never paid attention in Geography class), Art School Girlfriend may have a moniker straight out of the Belle & Sebastian songbook, but there is something rather edgier going on here. With songs that explore identity, relationships and just a smidgen of despair, Polly Mackey tags on music that is calm/conflict alt.pop to perfection. Special guest is Northern Irish singer-songwriter Roe. TCL

Cloud Castle Lake
Róisín Dubh, Galway Thursday August 9th 9pm Adm free roisindubh.net

Some bands just drift along, rolling with the punches and participating in the occasional side project (Low Tide) or providing music for fashion show launches (Simone Rocha). Cloud Castle Lake, however, take the proverbial biscuit – the core musicians (Rory O’Connor, Brendan Jenkinson, Daniel McAuley, Brendan Doherty) have been around for some years, but it is only since this year, with the release of their debut album, Malingerer, that more than the usual few are sitting up and taking notice. “Music without borders,” opined vanyaland.com of quite likely the only Irish group named after a Vladimir Nabokov short story, “sounds and moods that are as lengthy as pop music is short.” TCL

The Murder Capital
Whelan’s Upstairs, Dublin Thursday August 9 8pm €10 whelanslive.com

Excellent new(ish) band alert! Although The Murder Capital have been around for just over the six-month mark, the band have stamped their collective boot over the heads of anyone that has seen them live. A recent gig at Dublin’s Sound House (as part of the Dublin Quays Festival) brought a few hot spotlights to bear on how good the band is at fusing hardcore with melody. Fragments of Fugazi and bits of Black Flag snag the attention, but there are more than just hints and influences going on here. You are hereby advised to check out what’s what with this bunch before the world and its relatives get in on the act. TCL

Maria Doyle Kennedy
Hook Lighthouse, Hook Head, Co Wexford Friday, August 10th 8pm €35 hookheritage.ie

We have been here before, but singer and actor Maria Doyle Kennedy loves to perform in out-of-the-way, quite special spaces, and Hook Lighthouse is one such. She will be drawing on material from her numerous solo albums, but eager-eared fans will also surely receive exclusive previews of songs from her as-yet-untitled new album. The really good news is that if you miss this fully seated show, Doyle Kennedy will be hosting three more at the same venue – on Saturday August 11th, and then on Friday August 24th and Saturday August 25th.  (As part of National Heritage Week, which runs from August 18th to August 26th.) TCL

The RnB Club
Yamamori Tengu, Dublin Friday August 10th 10pm €6.96-€13.94 thernbclub8.eventbrite.ie

The RnB Club is one of those nights that is so easy to get involved in thanks to the fine calibre of tracks handpicked by DJs Papa Lou and Stevie G. From Biggie to Beyoncé, Erykah Badu to the Pharcyde, they throw in old R&B and hip-hop classics and slip them in beside new and unknown songs for everyone to enjoy. Early bird tickets are still available from their Eventbrite page for €6. LB

We’ve Only Just Begun
Whelan’s, Dublin Friday August 10th to Sunday August 12th 8pm €20 (weekend ticket)/€10 (day ticket) whelanslive.com

This is, of course, a brilliant idea, and not before time: a female-centric weekend of singers, songwriters, musicians, DJs and all-round sonic sounders. The line-up on Friday, includes Cathy Davey, Eve Belle, Ships (recent RTÉ Choice Music Prize winners), Molly Sterling, Dowry and Leila Jane, capped off with a DJ set by the good folk of Wyvern Lingo. Saturday’s line-up includes Bitch Falcon, Vernon Jane, Girlfriend, Susie Blue and Amy Montgomery. Sunday’s line-up includes Sorcha Richardson, Roe, Aislinn Logan, Dreaming of Jupiter and a going-out-with-a-bang DJ set by Le Boom’s Aimie Mallon. TCL

10s Across the Board
Downstairs @ Tivoli, Dublin Friday August 10th €35-€90 draggedup.net

10s! 10s! 10s! Across the board! Join some of the finest queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race in an all-dancing and all-lip-syncing night in the Tivoli. Season 10’s winner Aquaria will be joined by Kameron Michaels, Yuhua Hamasaki, Asia O’Hara (she was robbed!) and Miz Cracker for a pop-filled, disco-dancing, dragtastic event. Standard tickets cost €35 and if you want to mingle with the queens before the show, you can upgrade to a VIP ticket for €90. LB

Kurt Travis
The Bowery, Rathmines Friday August 10th 8pm €10 thebowery.ie

Despite not being a household name, Sacramento, California singer and songwriter Kurt Travis is one of those real-deal musicians who pass our way now and again, and who deserves your time. Between work in bands such as Eternity Forever and Royal Coda, and his solo work (including 2014’s Everything is Beautiful and latest album, There’s a Place I Want to Take You), Travis runs the gamut from hardcore to heartache and many points in between. A full band show here will tell a taut tale or two. Special guests are Austin, Texas band Televangelist, and Scotland’s Atlas:Empire. TCL

George Ezra
Custom House Square, Belfast Friday August 10 £49 ticketmaster.ie

With his latest single Shotgun following you everywhere this summer, George Ezra has been shooting out the hits from his second album Staying at Tamara’s like there’s no tomorrow. As he is one of the nicest guys in pop, you’ll get more than mid-tempo, uplifting chart hits at this show – you’ll get an extra dose of charm. Not to everyone’s taste – if his spice was marked on an Indian takeaway menu, he’d get just one chilli – but what he does, he does very well. LB

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