Rock & Pop Highlights: Another Sky, Zaska and Quarter Block Party

This week’s offerings also include Anna Mieke and a Sing Along Social for 1980s fans

Another Sky: The band’s debut EP made critics and radio programmers weak at the knees

Another Sky: The band’s debut EP made critics and radio programmers weak at the knees

 

SATURDAY 2

Daniel John Paxton
Whelan’s Upstairs, 25 Wexford Street, Dublin 2, 8pm €5 whelanslive.com
There are very few Irish musicians that have been in a succession of could-have/should-have bands, but Daniel John Paxton is one of them. Having been a member of bands of such calibre as Sweet Jane, The Brothers Movement, and Buffalo Sunn (each of which released sorely underappreciated, extremely good albums), Paxton in solo capacity has taken the best bits from these alt rock bands and fused them into music that could arguably be pitched as Laurel Canyon meets Detroit. This gig is the launch for his debut solo single, Railway Line, a belter of a tune (and one of many he will deliver tonight). Special guests are Galants. TCL

Nicki Bluhm
Grand Social, 35 Liffey Street Lower, Dublin 1, 8pm €15 thegrandsocial.ie
Lafayette, California, singer-songwriter Nicki Bluhm has had her share of YouTube viral sensations, especially so considering she caused one of them with a cover of Hall & Oates’s I Can’t Go for That. That was some years ago when she was the front person of Americana band Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. Now out on her own, and with a debut solo album (To Rise You Gotta Fall) to plug, Bluhm is the kind of roots/folk songwriter that can mix personal, too-much-information narratives (of which the album has many), with recognisable but wholly effective melody lines. The real deal. TCL

MONDAY 4

Mike Yung
Whelan’s, 25 Wexford Street, Dublin 2, 8pm €18 whelanslive.com
Let’s hear it for the almost 60s! New York City native Mike Yung – 59 years of age, and counting – participated in season 12 of America’s Got Talent and reached the semi-finals, before departing the reality music programme in the autumn of 2017. Gone but not ignored, Yung – a former subway station busker – has advanced to the point where he is now performing above ground, singing songs such as Dreamer, a tribute to his late wife who died last year. Oh, dear – is that something in my eye? TCL

TUESDAY 5

Steel Panther
Vicar Street, 58-59 Thomas Street, Dublin 2, 7.30pm €38 ticketmaster.ie; also Wednesday, February 6th (same venue); Thursday, February 7th, Ulster Hall Belfast 8pm £35-£38 ulsterhall.co.uk
Feel the Steel, Balls Out, Poontang Boomerang, Gangbang at the Old Folks Home
– welcome, lads and lassies (although it’s mostly lads) to Los Angeles glam-metal band Steel Panther. Coming on like the bastard offspring of Mötley Crüe and Guns N’Roses, we reckon there’s a fine line to be walked here between parody and reality. What makes much more sense than the albums and their ridiculously titled songs, however, are the live shows, which showcase a hair metal band whose members – bewigged and be-striped – know the score. Spinal tapped, anyone? TCL

WEDNESDAY 6

The Lemonheads
Academy Dublin 7pm €26.45 ticketmaster.ie; also Thursday, February 7th, Cyprus Avenue, Cork, 7.30pm €20 cyprusavenue.ie; Friday, February 8th, Elmwood Hall, Belfast 7pm £22.50 elmwoodhall.com
Interesting fact about The Lemonheads: formed in 1986, one of the band’s original co-founding members was bass player Jesse Peretz, who went on to develop an impressive career as a film (Juliet, Naked) and TV (Girls, Nurse Jackie, Divorce, GLOW) director. But enough about Peretz – co-founder Evan Dando is the sole remaining original member, and a musician that has experienced enough personal turmoil to last a few lifetimes. These days, Dando delivers a thrilling, refurbished Lemonheads Greatest Hits set, while these shows will also highlight tracks from their latest album, Vershons 2, which includes cover versions of songs by Yo La Tengo, John Prine, Lucinda Williams and The Jayhawks. TCL

Another Sky
McHugh’s Basement, Belfast 8pm £12/£11 mchughsbar.com; also Thursday, February 7th, Whelan’s Upstairs, Dublin, 8pm €13 whelanslive.com
London’s Another Sky (named after an Emily Dickenson poem) have been praised to the hilt in recent times, primarily because their debut EP Forget Yourself made critics and radio programmers weak at the knees with its mix of The xx, Fourtet, and Radiohead. And yet it has been with their new single, Avalanche, and its associated video, that Another Sky have made real advances. Syncing in with the #MeToo movement, the theme of the song, says lead singer Catrin Vincent (whose artistic inspirations include Kate Tempest, Margaret Atwood, and Frida Kahlo), “speaks of the toxic masculinity that bleeds into every other form of oppression”.  TCL

THURSDAY 7

Sleaford Mods
The Limelight Belfast 7pm £16 limelightbelfast.com; also Friday February 8th Academy Dublin 8pm €18 (sold out) ticketmaster.ie
There seems to be no holding back Nottingham’s conflict-ridden Sleaford Mods (Andrew Fearn, Jason Williamson), who have gone from strength to strength on what some might term basic electro-punk. For all the criticism thrown their way, however (“cheap keyboard riffs and listless wafts of guitar”, reckons the Wire), there is an equal amount of backers (“with echoes of The Fall and Throbbing Gristle, the music fittingly recalls an era that demanded engaged art” – Rolling Stone). Fearn and Williamson continue their brief Irish tour with gigs on Saturday, February 9th (Róisín Dubh, Galway, sold out), and Sunday, February 10th (Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick). TCL

Sing Along Social presents: George Michael vs Michael Jackson
The Sugar Club, Dublin €10 thesugarclub.com
If you take the two very different groups of Michael Jackson fans and George Michael fans and pit them against each other in a singing competition of sorts, who do you think will win? Thanks to the zero-commitment choir Sing Along Social, you can find out for yourself. In a bid to restore your faith with some pop thrillers… put some rhythm back into those guilty feet and don’t stop until you get enough. LB

Homebeat presents: I Have a Tribe & Sun Collective
GOMA, Waterford €12 homebeat.ie, also Saturday, February 9th, Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co Wicklow, mermaidartscentre.ie; Thursday, February 14th, Pot Duggan’s, Ennistymon, Co Clare, potduggans.com; Friday, February 15th, Levi’s Bar, Ballydehob, Co Cork, leviscornerhouse.com; Saturday, February 16th, The Roundy, Cork, theroundy.com.
Patrick O’Laoghaire of I Have a Tribe once told The Irish Times that playing music is a lot like playing hurling – both require considerable training to do well, but when the time comes, you can’t overthink your actions, and they must become instinctual. Meanwhile, Sun Collective is a collaborative group of jazz and classical musicians headed by Caimin Gilmore . So, if your cockles are in desperate need of some warming, this double headlining winter tour might be the tonic. LB

Homebeat presents: Anna Mieke
Little Fox, Enistymon, Co Clare donation on the door homebeat.ie,
Fresh from supporting Gyða Valtýsdóttir in the Unitarian Church and playing with singer-songwriter Samyel in Bray’s Harbour Bar (February 3rd), folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Anna Mieke is taking her Small Places tour across Ireland. Starting off in Ennistymon, she will also be playing Galway’s The Secret Garden (February 18th) and she will be making an appearance at Cork’s Quarter Block Party (February 10th). Her gigs will operate a money donation of your choice on the door so, be kind: she’s worth it. LB

FRIDAY 8

Quarter Block Party 2019
Various venues/times, Cork City €50/€25 (bundle tickets) quarterblockparty.com
Starting today for the weekend, Cork’s Quarter Block Party hosts its fifth edition, and in many ways comes into its own as a multi-disciplinary arts festival. Growing a dedicated audience within the confines of a local annual event takes time and dedication, but the people behind QBP – using any and every available space on Cork’s North and South Main Streets – know that the best way to snag attention is to programme unique and groundbreaking shows. To this end, you’ll need to make time to catch music from the likes of Hilary Woods, Spekulative Fiktion, Lords of Strut, Le Boom, Landless, Anna Mieke, Junior Brother, Silverbacks, and Trick Mist. Don’t miss out on tons of other stuff – visit the event website for full details. TCL

Shabazz Palaces
The Sugar Club, Dublin €20 thesugarclub.com
It’s been almost two years since the experimental hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces (Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire) last played Ireland on the foot of their “monozygotic twin” 2017 albums Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines. In their latest music, they treat America as if it’s a dangerous planet and through their freeform rap, extraterrestrial jazz and rhythmic drum machines, they take you with them on their cosmic journey of societal, technological and racial discourse. LB

Zaska
Button Factory, Dublin €15 buttonfactory.ie
Dublin musician Zaska is launching his debut funk-fuelled album It Takes A Village and to put the album title’s name into action, he’s bringing a gaggle of special guests and a revolving rhythm section onstage with him. His album features collaborations with Wyvern Lingo, Loah, BARQ, Carly Coonagh, Emma Garnett and various members of Little Green Cars, Super Silly and Gypsies on the Autobahn. This gig will be a who’s-who of the Irish music scene and a massive celebration to welcome a long-awaited album. LB

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