The best pop and rock this week: David Bowie festival

Frances Black & Kieran Goss kick of Irish tour and one to watch: singer David Keenan

 

Saturday, January 6

Dublin Bowie Festival

Various venues across Dublin dublinbowiefestival.ie

Fast becoming a magnet for David Bowie fans worldwide – not least due to the care and consideration of the Bowie-besotted and Bowie-knowledgeable organisers – this continues across the weekend with events in Grand Social, Sugar Club, Lighthouse Cinema, Woolen Mills, and Vicar Street. Exclusive events for the clued-in fan include: Gavin Friday talks Bowie with Prof Eoin Devereaux (DC Music Club, Sunday 7pm €10/€8), Holy Holy (Vicar Street, Monday), Messing with the Paintwork: Bowie, Yeats & Beckett (Studio 10, Tuesday, 1pm, adm free, limited seating), and An Audience with Jonathan Barnbrook (Harry Clarke Lecture Hall, NCAD, Wednesday 6pm, adm free). Runs until January 10th. Tony Clayton-Lea

Frances Black & Kieran Goss

Mullingar Arts Centre, Co Westmeath 8pm €27.50/€25 mullingarartscentre.ie Also Sunday, Baker’s Loft at Brogans, Trim, Co Meath 8pm €25 brogans.ie; Wednesday National Concert Hall Dublin 8pm €32.50 nch.ie; Thursday Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire Co Dublin 8pm €28 paviliontheatre.ie; Friday Marketplace Theatre Armagh 8pm £25 marketplacearmagh.com

Twenty-five years ago, there was no more popular a singing partnership in Ireland than Frances Black and Kieran Goss. The former could set a room alight with her voice, while the latter could make a room erupt with laughter via perfect comic banter as well as bring an audience to its collective knees with poignant original material. Last year, the performers teamed up again for a series of shows, and the results were loved so much that a follow-up jaunt was a no-brainer. The tour continues until the end of January. See kierangoss.com for full details. TCL

The Kickbacks The Bowery, Dublin €5 after 11pm thebowery.ie

The Kickbacks are a four-piece cover band made up of some of Ireland’s best session musicians. They tend to all of your singalong and dancing needs with covers and mash ups of Blackstreet’s No Diggity, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky (Check that single out if you can . . . it’s going to be the sound of the summer – @DaftLiimmy, 2013 – present), Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, Cameo’s Word Up and loads more. All the hits sure. Their default setting is party so as a Saturday night go-to, when the rest of Dublin is eerily quiet and you’re itching to leave the house, this gig in Rathmines may be your best bet. Louise Bruton

David Keenan

Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €14 (sold out) whelanslive.com

A new name for some, but not if you’ve been keeping an ear out for songwriting talent. The likes of Glen Hansard, Hozier, and Damien Dempsey have praised this 20-something Dundalk singer-songwriter for lyrical flights of fancy that are inspired by WB Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen. Critics, meanwhile, have noted his storytelling nous. This gig is his first headline show in Dublin, but based on the music we’ve heard it won’t be his last. Next stop? Eurosonic in Groningen, the Netherlands, in two weeks time. TCL

First Fortnight

Various venues/times/adm nationwide firstfortnight.ie

Always a pleasure come the first two weeks of the new year, First Fortnight is Ireland’s only arts festival devoted to mental health. Further spreading its reach outside Dublin, the festival’s Therapy Sessions event visits County Cork venues White Horse (Ballincollig 7.30pm €10/€5) and De Barras (Clonakilty, 7.30pm €10/€5). Music, poetry and spoken word are featured with soul singer Karen Underwood, former Fred frontman Joe O’Leary, electro-pop trio Wiggle, progressive hip-hop act Poetic Pilgrimage, and poet Tony Walsh. The Therapy Sessions Dublin leg, meanwhile, takes place Friday January 12th, at the Workman’s Club (8pm €10/€5). It features Bleeding Heart Pigeons, Pillow Queens, and a selection of spoken word acts especially chosen/presented by Dublin poet Stephen James Smith. TCL

Out to Lunch 2018

Black Box/various times/adm Belfast cqaf.com

There are too many shows and performers than we have space for here, but the first-week music treats of this admirable annual arts festival include the Four of Us (tonight, 2pm £15) and Wolfgang Flur, Saturday January 13th, 9pm £12/£10). Spoken word highlights include Holly McNish and Tony Walsh (Sunday, 3pm/8pm, £8), while comedy treasure comes from Fern Brady (Sunday, 7pm, £8), Andrew Maxwell (Wednesday, sold out/Thursday, 8pm £10), and Joanne McNally (Thursday 1pm £7 – ticket price includes lunch). Runs until January 28th. TCL

Monday January 8

Holy Holy

Vicar St Dublin 7.30pm €40 ticketmaster.ie

By this point, there are so many David Bowie tribute acts that it’s almost too easy to filter out the ones that just don’t fit. There is, however, an argument to be made for Holy Holy, which features long-time Bowie friend and producer Tony Visconti and drummer Woody Woodmansey, one of the mainstays of Bowie’s wham-bam-thank-you-M’aam band, the Spiders from Mars. Performing as part of the Dublin Bowie Festival, Holy Holy not only bring with them vast Bowie-related experience, but also the debut live performance, in its entirety, of one of the best rock/pop albums ever recorded – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars. We predict that people of a certain age will – as a later Bowie song would have it – break down and cry. TCL

Tuesday January 9

Silent Disco

Roisin Dubh, Galway €5 roisindubh.net

The Roisin Dubh Silent Disco, run by maestros  Gugai and Ted, and there assorted pals, is the stuff that legends are made of. Greeted by a shot of Jager at the door, you are then handed a set of headphones with two radio dials. You switch between Gugai’s station and Ted’s where you flick hear Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah (something you never realised that you needed to sing your heart out to at 1am) and Avril Lavigne’s Complicated. You learn more about your friends here than anywhere else. What gets them excited? What do they know all the words to? How much do they really love Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2U? This is the great reveal and great escape during the last few lazy days of Christmas. LB

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