The best rock and pop gigs of the week

London African Gospel Choir plays at National Concert Hall and US songwriter Jason Ringenberg comes to Dundalk

The London African Gospel Choir performs Paul Simon’s Graceland at the National Concert Dublin on Tuesday

The London African Gospel Choir performs Paul Simon’s Graceland at the National Concert Dublin on Tuesday


Saturday 24

A4 Sounds presents: Hands Up Who Wants to Die  
St Joseph’s Parade, Dublin  
A4 Sounds is an alternative workspace that wants to change how “cultural works are produced, accessed, and understood in Ireland”. They regularly host gigs by bands that fly under the radar and this gig is no exception. Hands Up Who Wants to Die are the Dublin-based DIY noise rock band and with two LPs under their belt, they’re in the process of recording number three. Check ‘em out and, for the love of God, keep your hands down. LB

Tuesday 27

London African Gospel Choir performs Paul Simon’s Graceland 
NCH, Dublin. Also Wed 28, Leisureland, Galway; Thurs 29, Dolan’s, Limerick  
It takes a brave group of people to perform one of the most praised albums of the past 35 years, but the London African Gospel Choir pay due regard to Paul Simon’s classic. Sectioned in two, the first half of the concert features traditional African songs specifically rearranged for the dozen-plus choir and backing band. The second segment is Graceland from start to finish. The ensemble made their Irish debut at last year’s inaugural All Together Now festival, but this is their debut Dublin headliner. What to do? Put on your red shoes and dance the blues. TCL

Thursday 29

Jason Ringenberg  
Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co Louth. Also Fri 30, Cleeres, Kilkenny  
An infrequent but always welcome visitor to Ireland, US songwriter Jason Ringenberg can safely lay claim to being a pioneer that has never pushed his ego too far, if at all. Over 30 years ago, Ringenberg and his band, The Scorchers, set the scene for cowpunk, the Americana/punk rock hybrid that ramped up the speedy guitars whilst telling tales of home and hearth. The man’s latest album, Stand Tall, arrived following a lengthy, self-imposed hiatus informed partly by retirement, partly reflection. Happily, Ringenberg has resolved his differences and walks among us once more – a man, a guitar, and bunches of honest tunes. TCL

Percolator & Altered Hours  
Whelan’s, Dublin 
What a good double bill of Irish bands this is. Percolator are a trio that have been around for about 10 years, but only recently released their debut album, Sestra. If you’re a person that likes to get down to a deep-dive blend of krautrock, shoegaze and electronic, then this lot will put a psych-prog pep in your step. Altered House, meanwhile, continue their preference for “testing and sometimes disrupting that fine balance between tranquillity and chaos” with melody-driven music that is very often mesmeric. A two-for-one gig that comes highly recommended. TCL

Friday 30

Salty Dog Stage 
Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co Laois. Also Sat 31, Sun 1 
A steadfast and diehard part of Electric Picnic for many years, the Salty Dog stage is the place to make a beeline to if you’re looking to check out emerging Irish acts milling around with other Irish acts that have a larger profile. Across the weekend you’ll see nominal headliners such as Otherkin (in their final festival show), Cathy Davey, Pillow Queens, Meltybrains?, Kormac, and Moxie. But you’d also be well advised to make time for the likes of Bicurious, Sinead O’Brien, State Lights, Nealo, Vulpynes, Touts, Badhands, Stefan Murphy, and The Wha. TCL

Body & Soul 
Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co Laois  
Another well-established stage at Electric Picnic is Body & Soul (and one of the very few EP “festivals within a festival” that left the mothership to strike out on its own). Located in a lovely sylvan setting, the line-up across the weekend is weighted towards Irish acts and several international ones. Our tips for the latter include Jessica Pratt, Lamb, and Elder Island. Our tips for d’Irish include Thumper, AE Mak, Kitt Philippa, Mango x Mathman, TPM, The Claque, whenyoung, Junior Brother, Elma Orkestra & Ryan Vail, and Paddy Hanna. TCL

Pyg presents: New Jackson 
Pygmalion, Dublin  
Balancing out the calm and introverted wonderings that go into his solo work, David Kitt’s side job as New Jackson runs on a different energy. House-based and disco-laced, it’s not what most people would have expected from the Dubliner but, two years since his debut full length From Night to Night, he switches monikers with ease. His most recent EP Glass Stabs/Disruption, which was released in May in collaboration with Will Lister, should get you nicely set up for this gig. LB

Four Tet 
The Telegraph Building, Antrim
Making the most of this weekend, Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden is warming up for his Electric Picnic set with this Belfast gig. The Londoner is no stranger to our shores and every time he visits, he’s received with open arms. With soothing ambience and pulsating electronic beats, he lulls you into a sway before dropping you into a state of euphoria. C’est ideal, non? So if you’ve missed out on getting an EP ticket, why not make the jaunt to Belfast and bliss out indoors instead? LB  

Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co Laois  
As far as songs of the summer go, you can either be a straight shooter and sit on top of the charts all summer long (ie Lil Nas X and Lewis Capaldi) or you can take the slow burn approach where you work crowds in basement nightclubs into a tizzy with a beaut of a banger. This summer’s slow burner is Georgia’s About Work the Dancefloor. A slice of electropop perfection, put it on full blast, fall in love and then lose yourself in it. LB

Biig Piig 
Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co Laois  
Born in Cork and then splitting her childhood between Spain, Waterford and Kerry, the London-based Jess Smyth aka Biig Piig is not just one to watch but one to champion. In a rhythmic stream of consciousness, you learn about her heartaches, hangovers and hang ups. Confessional hip-hop, there’s no bravado here, just brave honesty. Her debut single, Vice City, was released in 2017 and her EPs Big Fan of the Sesh Vol. 1 and A World Without Snooze Vol. 2 are worthy of your attention. LB

Saturday 31

Gilbert O’Sullivan  
Royal Theatre, Castlebar, Co Mayo . Also Sun 1, Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny ; Tues 3, Cork Opera House; Wed 4, Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick; Sat 7/Sun 8, National Concert Hall, Dublin  
Too easy a target for some, especially following his 1970s heyday, Gilbert O’Sullivan has repeatedly proven his worth as a writer of some immensely thoughtful pop songs. Not even counting his impressive run of a dozen Top 20 UK hit singles from 1970-’75, there is the no small matter of last year’s self-titled album (his 19th), which was a quiet if triumphant return to the songwriting quality of his early years. These shows see the singer and songwriter in solo, acoustic mode, which will surely make his more considered material even more intimate. TCL

Grace #5
39/40, Dublin  
And so it is. The final Grace of the summer before we make promises of hibernation and detoxes that will soon be broken. Grace is the queer techno night that launched in February and it’s been building up a huge underground following since. DJ Eavan is billed to play techno, acid and rave tunes on vinyl and a surprise guest will be announced on the day of the event. Tickets will not be available to buy on the door for this event. LB

Sunday, September 1

Empire Music Hall, Belfast  
She won’t be the first and she won’t be the last, but Californian singer Camaron Ochs started her career as a songwriter for the likes of Miley Cyrus and Sam Smith, but with a childhood spent on her grandparents ranch introduced her to the music of Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt, the die was cast. Eventually, Ochs began to write country songs for her own albums, and by the time 2015 came around she had signed to Arista Nashville, and secured Top 5 hits on the Billboard charts and Grammy nominations. Four years later, she is still on a mission to succeed, playing small venues here, the UK and Europe, eschewing pop music for country, which she says is “the standard in my mind”. TCL

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