The best gigs to see this week: Barrow River Arts Festival, Kasabian, Maverick Sabre and more

Our critical picks of the very best of what’s on in the capital and around the country this weekend and beyond

Selected highlights chosen by Michael Dervan, Jim Carroll, Laurence Mackin, Tony Clayton-Lea, Siobhán Long, Aidan Dunne, Peter Crawley and Cormac Larkin


Barrow River Arts Festival

Borris House, Borris, Co. Carlow, until Sunday,

The Barrow River Arts Festival is a hidden gem of the music calendar, a quietly august gathering of musicians, lured into the shadow of the Blackstairs mountains by Swiss baroque violinist Maya Homburger and legendary free jazz bassist Barry Guy. The annual festival, in the stately surroundings of Borris House - ancestral home of the MacMurrough Kavanghs, who are still in residence - is a defiantly eclectic three days of musical open-mindedness, presenting early Baroque, contemporary classical, spoken word and free jazz cheek by jowl. Greek vocalist Savina Yanatou's (above) Songs from the Mediterranean, with Guy and Dubin-based pianist Francesco Turrisi, opens the festival on Friday night; also worth checking out over the weekend are Flamenco dancer Sònia Sánchez; Guy's own Beyond Trio with Swiss saxophonist Jürg Wickihalder; readings from Beckett by Barry McGovern; a song recital from vocalist Sylvia O'Brien and guitarist Benjamin Dwyer; and folk songs and Bach Cantatas from Swedish soprano Maria Keohane. CL


Weekend long festival, Ennis

The phenomenal revival of the concertina continues apace with this intimate weekend gathering of players, makers and listeners alike. Fittingly set in Clare, the home of this most versatile and immaculate musical instrument, this weekend gathering will feature an expo where concertina makers, designers and decorators will share (some of) their secrets. Directors Áine Hensey and Tim Collins have gathered the great and the good for this weekend. Instrument maintenance workshops and classes will keep musicians more than occupied during daylight hours and after the witching hour, there are nightly concertina by candlelight sessions featuring among others, the supremely talented Cormac Begley and Jack Talty (above). Nightly concerts will include performances by Edel Fox and The Mulcahy Family. A concertina love in like no other. SL


The Black Box Belfast 9pm £8/£6 resistbelfast
A night for the techno connoisseurs in Belfast with live to-dos from some champion Northern Irish talents. Kapoor is the name at the top of the bill, the dude who runs leading-edge local label Four Sides. He'll be making his live debut here following some thrilling displays at clubs like Berlin's Tresor in 2016. He's joined by Autumns, the Derry act who've been making waves with their gritty slo-noise electronics and were recently signed by Regis to his influential Downwards label. The third live act is Kandehha, a debut appearance for this collaboration between techno producer Koichi and sound and visual artist Helena Hamilton. GIRL member Marion Hawkes opens proceedings in the main room, while Resist resident Liam McCartan runs things in Room 2. JC

The Lough Allen Dance Weekend

Lough Allen Hotel, Drumshanbo all weekend 086-1649989
Six dance masters come together to teach workshops in sean nós, set, 2 hand, old style and modern Irish step dancing with each dance workshop being accompanied by live music from Harry Bradley, Danny Diamond and Stephen Doherty. By night these musicians will continue to play for sessions of music and dance for all to join in. Take your pick from James Devine (Modern Irish Step Dance) to Timmy "the Brit" McCarthy (polka & slides sets of Sliabh Luachra), Siobhan Butler (Sean Nós Dancing),Joe McGuiggan (Old Style Step Dancing), Maureen Culleton (2 Hand Dances) and Edwina Guckian (Dance the Tune - creating dance with a musician). Walking tours, pilates and stand up paddle boarding are also part of the programme, clearly balm to soothe those dance-tired muscles. SL

Christian Löffler

Dlight Studio Dublin 8pm €22/ €13

When German producer and artist Christian Löffler talks about his music, he knows there are two sides to what he does. On the one hand, there's "a gloomy spirit" and on the other, there's "a warm sincerity". Balancing this yin and yang, these opposites of melancholy and euphoria, has meant Löffler is ideally placed to produce music which works both on and off the dancefloor. Produced in his log-cabin studio on the Darss peninsula overlooking the Baltic sea, albums such as last year's well received Mare and 2012's A Forest are beautifully pitched and deployed, full of minimally adorned deep house grooves and icy emotions and moods. Löffler worked on the last album with Danish singer Mohna and she will join him for this date. JC

Phil Ware Trio feat. Anders Bergcrantz & Perico Sambeat

JJ Smyths, Aungier St, Dublin, 9pm, €20,

After a succession of false dusks and hopes for a reprieve, it looks like JJ Smyth's will finally close its doors at the end of the month, and live music fans of all hues – but particularly the jazz audience – will shed a tear for one of the last bars in Dublin's city centre where the name above the door was the face behind the bar. Dublin pianist Phil Ware, one of the stalwarts of the JJs roster over the years, brings the curtain down in fine style this week with an international quintet brimming with talent, including Swedish trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz and renowned Spanish saxophonist Perico Sambeat – expect hard-bop horn arrangements and hard-swinging grooves from Ware and his top notch trio with bassist Dave Redmond and drummer Kevin Brady. JJs final week also features a farewell performance from guitarist Nigel Mooney (Sunday afternoon), perhaps the musician most associated with the fabled upstairs room on Aungier St, with pianist Johnny Taylor's trio and special guest, saxophonist Richie Buckley. CL



Olympia theatre Dublin 8pm €48.90
Yes, we know there's something cartoonish about Leicester's Kasabian (right), but the naysayers can wait another day before they can stick the book in. Never ones for subtlety, Kasabian has shoehorned this gig (intimate by their standards – they headlined Glastonbury a few years ago) into their schedule as a way to preview material from their forthcoming (sixth) album For Crying out Loud. Celebrating their 20th year as a going concern, the band has ably managed to plug the laddish gap left by Oasis, while their (at times) undeniable rock'n'roll swagger brings to mind The Stone Roses and Primal Scream. Don't expect any real innovation here, but rather a canny assimilation of rock music that gets the pulse racing. TCL


Pgy Dublin 7pm €10

At this stage of the game, Achim "Prosumer" Brandenburg is one of those dudes on the international DJ circuit who probably doesn't require an introduction. You can chalk that up to his long-running residency at Berlin's Panorama Bar, where he was one of those tasked with soundtracking the top floor of the Berghain complex with warm house and tech grooves. Originally from Saarbruecken and now based in Edinburgh, Prosumer's adventures as a DJ began when he worked behind the counter at Hard Wax in Berlin before moving on to spin tunes at clubs worldwide. As a producer, he's released some fine cuts for Berghain in-house label Ostgut Ton as well as for Playhouse and Running Back. Support from Colin Perkins and Calum Kennedy. JC

Danny O'Mahony and Liz Kane

St John's Theatre, Listowel 8pm €15/€12
O'Mahony is an accordion player from north Kerry whose bold and intense interpretations have set him apart. Liz Kane is a fiddle player from Letterfrack whose recordings with her sister Yvonne set the pair apart as musicians with an ear cocked to the tradition and another to the subtle nuances of interpretation that allowed them make the music their own. Having toured extensively with Sharon Shannon, Liz Kane now teaches music, and it's likely that this intimate concert setting will suit the fiddle/ accordion duo very well. SL

Empty Spaces x Abstract

Opium Rooms Dublin 11pm €15/€12/€10/€8
Local collectives Empty Spaces and Abstract join forces to bring Locked Groove to the city. Berlin-based Flemish producer Tim Van de Meutter has accumulated quite a run of tracks over the past couple of years. His trippy, dubby techno skills have seen him attract attention from such imprints as Scuba's Hotflush, Tale Of Us' techno stable Afterlife, Turbo and Permanent Vacation. Support in the main room from Empty Spaces' resident Maggie Rose Brennock, while Eoin Brennan, Adam Sheridan, Leon Doyle and guests soundtrack the Smoking Area. JC


The Sound House Dublin 11pm €15/€12/€10
A live performance from Neil Landstrumm, a producer who has made many trips to the capital over the years. He started out in the game back in the early 1990s with releases for such labels as Peacefrog, Tresor and Planet Mu, and had spells working for MTV and Rockstar Games. Be it Bedrooms and Cities or Restaurant Of Assassins, Landstrumm has long been a master at working new-school and old-school sounds and sensibilities into new and and enticing shapes. JC


New Dublin Voices

Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin noon, Adm free
Multi-award-winning choir New Dublin Voices and their conductor Bernie Sherlock present a typically mixed programme with the emphasis on the music of our own time. April, of course, is the month of the Cork International Choral Festival (Wednesday 26th to Sunday 30th), whose top prize, the Fleischmann International Trophy, is among New Dublin Voices' successes. Sherlock is one of this year's adjudicators, so the choir's Cork performances on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th will be part of the festival's non- competitive programme. MD

Repeal - A Night In The Key Of 8

Olympia Theatre Dublin 8pm €32.50/€28.50

There are few fundraising gigs as important as this, and with a line-up of musicians and performers as strong as David Gray, Mary Black, Neil Hannon, Lisa O'Neill, Paul Noonan's Printer Clips project, Camille O'Sullivan, Le Galaxie, Roisin O, Wyvern Lingo and Loah (above), it's difficult to come up with any reasons not to attend. But there's more than just music. The array of contributors includes performer/activist Panti, convener of the coalition to repeal the 8th Amendment Aibhe Smyth, Poet Laureate Paula Meehan, writer/activist Una Mullally, Independent Senator Lynn Ruane, poet Felicia Olusanyo, writer/editor Róisín Ingle and Traveler Activist Eileen Flynn. MC is actor/activist Tara Flynn. TCL

Joe Chester

Róisín Dubh Galway 8pm €10/€8
While positioned for most people firmly under the radar, Irish singer, songwriter and producer Joe Chester is the go-to person for quite a few well-known music acts (including Hozier, The Coronas, Gemma Hayes, The Waterboys). That his solo recording career has been virtually overlooked by all but the avid fan is surely equal parts frustrating (for Chester) and shameful (everyone else). He undertakes some shows over the next few weeks in support of his latest, superb album, The Easter Vigil. Further gigs include next Friday, April 28, at Unitarian Church, Dublin, where Chester will be joined by Vyvienne Long and Steve Wickham. Gigs in May include Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co Louth (solo, May 4), and Crane Lane Theatre, Cork (with Vyvienne Long, May 27). TCL

Anthony McCall

Lismore Castle Gallery, Lismore, Co Waterford Until October 15

Anthony McCall is well known not only for his work, which confounds conventional categories by encompassing elements of film, drawing, sculpture and performance, but also for a 20-year hiatus from the end of the 1970s when he abstained from artistic pursuits. Prior to that, he had produced highly regarded experimental films including Landscape For Fire in 1972, Line Describing a Cone, 1973, and Five Minute Drawing, 1974, all of which feature – the latter two in revised, 2010 and 2007 versions – in this show. After that we leap forward to 2013 and last year for his more recent work. Fire dominates Landscape For Fire, but from there on McCall sets about deconstructing film, stripping it down to its basic components, "time and light and removing the screen entirely." Instead, beams of light sculpt forms in haze-filled rooms. AD


Whispering to the ground

Patrick Redmond. Molesworth Gallery, Dublin Until May 26

A disproportionate number of artists are drawn to Freud's conception of the uncanny, Das Unheimlich (the un-homely). Not surprising given that they are often trying to see behind immediate appearances. Patrick Redmond is one of those artists, and in his hyper-realistic work sets about demonstrating that the apparently familiar is never as cosy or comforting as we might like to think. Aodhán Floyd in his essay on Redmond points to the "narrative indeterminacy" of the potential, fictional, though always compelling worlds that he conjures up. Expect to be disorientated. AD

Alexander Bernstein (piano)

NCH John Field Room, 8pm €20/€15
US pianist Alexander Bernstein, a pupil of John O'Conor, took the second prize at the last Dublin International Piano Competition in 2015. He is one of the small number of players to have wowed at the competition with a piece by a living composer, Frederic Rzewksi's Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues. That forms the climax of his John Field Room programme, which builds up to it through Aaron Copland's Piano Variations, Beethoven's Eroica Variations and Liszt's Sonata in B minor. MD



Whelan's Dublin 8pm €25; also Wed, Empire Music Hall Belfast 8pm £20; Thurs, Spirit Store, Dundalk Co Louth 8pm €22.50
Such considerate people. Helping, they say, the afflicted since 1990, Northern Ireland's Therapy? have undergone a few changes in their time, but none so different as exchanging electric for acoustic. Metal festival gigs notwithstanding, the band's Wood & Wire tour has been up and running since last summer, and such is its success that it has been extended. Further Irish dates next week include Cyprus Avenue, Cork (Friday April 28), Roisin Dubh, Galway (Saturday April 29), and Dolan's, Limerick (Sunday, April 30). TCL

Waiting For Godot

Abbey Theatre. Previews Apr 22-24 Opens Apr 25-May20 7.30pm (Sat mat 2.30pm)
"Off we go again," says Estragon, and later Vladimir, and until this wonderful production appeared last year, you knew exactly how they felt. Beckett's earliest theatrical masterpiece, long the unofficial property of the Gate Theatre, now makes far more regular appearances than its famous no-show. That makes Druid's exceptional staging all the more miraculous. Directed with energy and heart by Garry Hynes, designed with artful simplicity by Francis O'Connor, and performed by a revelatory cast of Marty Rea, Aaron Monaghan, Rory Nolan and Garrett Lombard, this is the freshest, funniest, most affecting production of the play you're ever likely to see. PC

Colin Stetson

Workmans Club, Dublin, 8pm, €18,

What Colin Stetson does to a saxophone is not natural, and may well be illegal in some states. The Michigan- born, Montreal-based multi- reed player has answered the call from Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Tom Waits and The Chemical Brothers to name but a few, traversing a musical landscape that encompasses everything from free jazz to dark metal with a viscerality and sheer commitment to sound that would fell a lesser man. But it's as a solo performer that Stetson really breaks away from the pack. In fact, it's hard to believe that all that sound is coming from just one guy with a saxophone. Mesmeric, hypnotic, and deep as an ocean. CL

Small Town Portraits

Dennis Dinneen Gallery 1, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin Until May 27
Dennis Dinneen, who died in 1985, was "a publican, taxi driver and, most notably, a photographer in his home town of Macroom." From the 1950s through the 1970s he made numerous portrait photographs of local people, mostly in an improvised studio setting. The photos were generally intended as identity documents for administrative uses, or as personal keepsakes. So the images were cropped from the original negatives. For this show, those edited contexts have been restored, enhancing and lending a sense of context to the work and rooting it in particular historical moments. Wayne Daly has designed an accompanying publication, with a text written by Kevin Barry and an essay by Rachel McIntyre that considers Dinneen's work in relation to comparable, acclaimed portraits by Mike Disframer and Seydou Keïta. AD


A Night for Chernobyl

Set Theatre KiIkenny 7.30pm €25

This fundraising show marks the noted 31st anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, to date the world’s largest. The passage of time, however, has not softened the tragedy, as millions of people – most of them children – continue to suffer from the after-effects. In the aftermath of the incident, Irish woman Adi Roche founded Chernobyl Children International (CCI), which develops programs that improve suffering and safeguard existing and future generations in the Chernobyl area. This show features Bell X1’s frontman Paul Noonan, Maria Doyle Kennedy (left), Gavin Glass, Ollie Cole, and Ian Doyle, and aims to raise funds for Vesnova Orphanage and this summer’s rest and recuperation schedule for CCI. More names will be announced closer to the gig. TCL


Music Current Festival

Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, until Sat,
This is the second new music festival organised by the two musicians behind Dublin Sound Lab, composer Fergal Dowling and organist/harpsichordist Michael Quinn. This year's visitors are the German ensemble KLANK, whose improvisations utilise "various materials from everyday life," from kitchen utensils to office equipment. The festival, which includes masterclasses and workshops as well as concerts, ends with Perisonic, "an immersive, large-scale, panoramic "painting" of Dublin, using eight loudspeakers and four video screens," by composers Gráinne Mulvey, Fergal Dowling and Scott McLaughlin, with video by Mihai Cucu, sound projection by Alexis Nealon, and Sabina Bonnici as creative producer. MD

Maverick Sabre

The Bowery, Rathmines 7pm €25
It must be no fun at all to be lumbered with the title of 'the new Amy Winehouse', but in fairness to Irish/English singer, songwriter and performer Maverick Sabre (aka Michael Stafford), he has shrugged off such a yoke to mark out his own territory. This show sees Stafford perform without a safety net: just him, a few onstage accessories and a bunch of unplugged songs. Two years after the release of his second album, Innersanding, it's quite likely that new material will be road tested here, but that won't be a problem, will it? TCL

Youth Mass

Workmans Club, Dublin €10
Classy indie pop act Youth Mass launch their latest EP Lost Futures, with all proceeds on the night going to the Daisyhouse Housing Association. How's that for some neat altruism? Support comes from Pillow Queens and Sean Rooney. LM


Billy Byrnes, Kilkenny, 9pm, €10; tour continues next week to Campbell's Tavern, Headford (Friday 28th), Bray Jazz Festival (Saturday 29th) and Gulp'd Café, Cork (Sunday 30th April)

As the name implies, Roamer are a band on the move, four of Ireland's leading young jazz musicians, three of whom live elsewhere. Last year, they all happened to be in the country at the same time and decided to get together to play some original music. The result was two sold-out shows at Dublin's Arthurs, an unprecedented feat for a domestic jazz act, and there will be huge interest in their return. Individually, all the Roamers are making moves in international jazz: vocalist Lauren Kinsella won Vocalist of the Year at last year's Jazz FM awards in London; bassist Simon Jermyn has gained a foothold in the ultra-competitive New York scene, appearing at the legendary Village Vanguard and elsewhere; Cologne-based saxophonist Matt Halpin is an award-winning Berklee graduate who performs all over the world; and drummer Matt Jacobson, the only Roamer who's a homer, runs Dublin indie label Diatribe, and leads his own groups Insufficient Funs and RedivideR. Together, they're proof that Irish jazz is moving up in the world. CL

Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn, Laoise Kelly and Noeleen Ní Cholla

Powerscourt Townhouse Theatre, South William St 5.45pm €12 087-2547574
Pipes and harp duo Ó Duinnchinn and Kelly visit a raft of tunes from their album On The Shoulders of Giants/Ar Lorg na Laochra, and are joined by Donegal singer Ní Cholla. Kelly has been described as the most significant harper of her generation, and her collaboration with Monaghan piper Ó Duinnchinn has breathed new life into a rich selection of tunes drawn mainly from the 17th-19th centuries. These teatime sessions, hosted by Gael Linn, have a steadfast following, bringing together some exceptional musicians and singers for an early evening session in exceedingly fine surrounds. Anyone with a penchant for thoughtful music would be foolhardy to miss this gathering. SL