The 15 best rock and pop gigs to catch in Ireland this week

Paul Simon bids farewell, Michael Bublé in Croker, Bruno Mars and Longitude

Saturday, July 7th

The The
Iveagh Gardens, Dublin; 7.30pm; €55.50;
It takes an artist of some standing to effectively disappear from view only to return, almost 15 years later, to an arms-wide-open welcome. Matt Johnson of The The (the UK post-punk band whose albums include Soul Mining, Infected, Mind Bomb and Dusk) retired from the tyranny of commercial chart positions in 2003 but returned last year with collated vinyl releases and a smattering of new music. Highly politically-minded, yet with a keen pop/punk sensibility, The The's influence shouldn't be underestimated, which is why the announcement of this show came as such a pleasant surprise to his original, loyal fanbase. Special guests include Xordox (aka Johnson's longtime friend, associate and collaborator, Jim Thirlwell). TCL

Michael Bublé
Croke Park, Dublin; €89.50-129.50;
Sometimes it seems as if even Michael Bublé can't believe his luck. Where the likes of Westlife and Robbie Williams attempted to dive into the crooning  world with novelty swing albums, channelling Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, this Canadian singer has built an entire career out of it, covering songs such as Me and Mrs. Jones, Feeling Good and occasionally airing some tunes of his own. Tickets are still available for his Croke Park concert. LB

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival
Bridge Street, Sligo;
One of the lesser spotted multi-strand arts festivals in Ireland's cultural calendar, Sligo-based Cairde opens in fine style tonight with Disco é Cultura, a vinyl-only event that delves into the rich music of East Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean islands (The Swagman; 10pm; Adm free). Music highlights include three events on Tuesday, July 10th (Native Oak, 5pm, Collooney, Adm free; LemonCello, Lyon's Café, 6pm, €15, ticket includes light supper; Julia Croft Power Ballad, Factory Performance Space, 8pm, €14) and the ever fresh New Jackson, aka David Kitt, with special guest Margie Lewis, McGarrigles, 10pm, €12. TCL

Groove Festival
Kilruddery House & Gardens, Wicklow; €11-€225;
This family-orientated festival caters to people of all ages and interests, with Heather Smalls from M People, Fun Lovin' Criminals and Tom Dunne's band Something Happens taking charge of the music, plenty of outdoor activities for kids and teens, a huge range of food stalls and Tony Clayton-Lea interviewing some of the festival's performers under the Culture Vultures banner. Weekend and individual day tickets can be bought specifically for children, teens and families and any other regular punter. LB

Sunday, July 8th

Queen + Adam Lambert
Marlay Park, Dublin; 4pm; €79.50;
We have said it before, and we shall say it again: irrespective of quality or calibre, is any commercially successful music act genuinely doing anyone a favour by replacing a recognisible lead vocalist with another singer? Even with vocal verisimilitude, wouldn't it be odd if, for example, U2 were fronted by anyone other than Bono, Coldplay by anyone other than Chris Martin, Arcade Fire by anyone other than Win Butler? Apparently not, as reports of last year's 3Arena show by Queen and Adam Lambert were beyond positive. What the hell do I know, anyway? Special guests are the Boomtown Rats, and The Darkness. TCL

Tuesday, July 10th

Rufus Wainwright
National Concert Hall Dublin; 8pm; €57/€50/€45/€25;
"The greatest songwriter on the planet," said Elton John of Rufus Wainwright, and although that description is a tad OTT, there's little doubt that Rufus has written many very fine songs . While we celebrate the man's songwriting skills, however, we also send him 20th birthday celebrations for the release of his self-titled debut album. Expect this solo show to focus on that album, as well as the follow-up, Poses. Hopefully, Wainwright will also throw in a cover or three of songs by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen, the Canadian artists he has been honoring in his recent concert series, Northern Stars. Special guest is Australian songwriter/performer Frally Hynes. TCL

At the Drive-In
Vicar Street, Dublin; 7.30pm; €47;
From At the Drive-In to Mars Volta and back again, it has been a rocky road for Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala, two of the main components of each band. Now reunited for the second time, At the Drive-In has never taken the easy route – their brand of post-hardcore, quiet-loud-quiet song configurations and tricky time sequences is favoured by those who like to rub their stomachs while simultaneously patting their heads. The band remains one of the most influential post-hardcore acts of the past 25 years, a fact augmented by the commercial success last year of their fourth album, Interalia. Earplugs advised. TCL

Tivoli Theatre, Dublin; 9pm; €24;
American art-pop songwriter and performer Merril Garbus has made real inroads into normalising alternative lo-fi music and changing people's minds about its worth. The daughter of folk musicians, Garbus had studied theatre (she is a gifted puppeteer) before she picked up a ukulele and managed to work out how to use a loop pedal. For the past ten years, Garbus has been a regular must-see for those who like their music spliced with odd shimmers and edged with a genuine difference. Songs from her latest (fourth) album, I Can Feel You Creep Into my Private Life, will be aired, along with tracks from her previous three. TCL

Wednesday, July 11th

Live at the Marquee, Cork; 6.30pm; €86/€76 (sold out);
Following last year's concert at Dublin's Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Kraftwerk return in jig time, so to speak, for another iteration of their acclaimed, award-winning 3-D show. Similar in form and shape, the four quite static members of the pioneering electro-pop art unit will deliver precise renditions of some of their best-known songs (including Trans Europe Express, Neon Lights, Autobahn, and Computer Love). Add to this the visually innovative stage show and the fact that for part of it you'll be wearing 3-D glasses, and you have a sensory experience that is difficult beat. TCL

Thursday, July 12th
Bruno Mars
Marlay Park, Dublin; €79.50;
Before the Longitude weekend kicks off, pint-sized pop star Bruno Mars will be warming up the grounds of Marlay Park. While he's perfect daytime radio material, thanks to songs like Finesse and Uptown Funk, Mars puts on one hell of a live show. When he came to Dublin last April, he oozed personality and charm to a totally sold out 3Arena so expect more the same. Support on the night comes from Sister Sledge and DNCE. LB

Kitt Philippa 
East Side Tavern, Dublin; 8pm; €12;
Belfast-based singer-songwriter Kitt Philippa may have been raised on a diet of classical music, but she has long since veered outwards in search of other styles that embrace electronics and other less obvious signifiers. With substantial interest from some of the biggest names in UK broadcasting (including Huw Stephens, Mary Anne Hobbs, Tom Ravenscroft, and Tom Robinson), Philippa is playing this intimate venue as part of the promo tour for her beguiling new single, Human. We advise you catch her in such small venues while you can. TCL

Wood Quay Summer Sessions: Improvised Music Company Presents . . . 
Wood Quay Amphitheatre, Dublin; Adm free;
If you fancy spicing up your Thursday lunch hour, nip over to Wood Quay Amphitheatre to see the jazz quintet Parallel Society and jazz singer Aoife Doyle and her band perform.  Founded by Dublin City Council,  the Wood Quay Summer Sessions are running every Thursday for the month of July. There will be plenty of food trucks there to choose from, as well as ticket giveaways for other concerts and events. LB

. . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
The Button Factory, Dublin; €20;
It's been four years since . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead released their ninth album IX, their most recent, but their latest tours have seen the Austin post-hardcore band revisit old favourites Source Tags & Codes (2002) and Madonna (1999), with some cities getting the album played in full live. While this treatment hasn't been confirmed for their Dublin show, expect a musical throwback to your past. LB

Friday, July 13th

Paul Simon
RDS Arena, Dublin; 3pm; €49.90;
Paul Simon is hanging up his touring boots, which means that this may well be the last time we'll see him perform in Ireland with such a gathering of musicians and guests. Certainly, Simon will be missed, as his songwriting throughout the decades – from solo to Simon & Garfunkel and back again – has encapsulated all that is good about artistic honesty and self-expression. Expect a show of grace and goodwill, and a send-off second to none for one of pop music's most erudite practitioners. Special guests include James Taylor and his All-Star Band, and Bonnie Raitt. TCL

Marlay Park, Dublin; €69.50-189.50;
Calling in some of the biggest and most current names in hip-hop, pop, dance and R&B, Longitude has hit the jackpot with its line-up. With Saturday and Sunday taking care of the younger audiences, with J. Cole, Migos, Post Malone, Travis Scott and Diplo performing, Sunday will be the calmer day of the weekend with the wonderful Solange, SZA and Anderson Paak doing their very best to move you. Limited tickets are still available for Sunday. LB

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