The best rock and pop gigs this week

Rusangano Family headline First Fortnight Big Gig, The Kooks are back in town and two celebrations: Shane McGowan’s 60th birthday and the life and music of David Bowie

Saturday Jan 13

The Redneck Manifesto

Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €20 (sold out)

They were once a revered regular act on the more fringe areas of Irish music, but then co-founding member Richie Egan formed Jape, which subsequently put the nominal post-rock instrumental band on ice. Not for long, however, as over the past few years sightings of The Redneck Manifesto have become a semi-regular occurrence. Good news for long-term fans? Yes, but there's even better news – this time around, the band will preview new material from a forthcoming album. Expect all manner of mesmeric hardcore with hints of prog and trance thrown in for good measure. Special guest is Margie Jean Lewis. TCL

Half Arsed Half Biscuit

Bello Bar, Dublin €10

With a name that will surely stop you in your tracks, Half Arsed Half Biscuit are coming to Dublin for the first time to play the music of the post-punk group Half Man Half Biscuit. Technically a tribute band, Half Arsed Half Biscuit take on the great challenge of honouring a band whose highest chart position in Ireland was number 56. Using the humour and satire of the Birkenhead group – who first came to being in 1984 and whose songs include Dickie Davis Eyes and Trumpton Riots and – the Irish tribute act hope to spread the love for this underrated and under-the-radar act. LB

First Fortnight Big Gig: Rusangano Family, Ailbhe Reddy and Le Boom

Tramline Dublin 8pm €12

The Tramline is a new-ish venue yet to establish itself as a city centre favourite, but it's getting there when they stage gigs as good as this one. As part of First Fortnight Festival, three Irish music acts ply their trade and deliver the goods, and each one is a tonic. Last year's RTÉ Choice Music Prize winners, Rusangano Family, headline the event, but don't miss out on the nominal "support" acts – singer-songwriter/performer Ailbhe Reddy is racking up the Spotify streams with her debut EP, Hollowed Out Sea, while electro-pop duo, Le Boom (who impressed greatly during December's Other Voices event) know how to get toes twitching. All told, a triple-bill line-up that takes some beating and besting. TCL

Monday Jan 15

Shane MacGowan 60th Birthday Celebration

National Concert Hall Dublin 8pm €85/€80/€75/€65 (sold out)

And so it comes to pass that the writer of some of the most evocative songs of the past 35 years reaches the age of 60. While his actual birthday was Christmas Day just gone, there's little doubt this bash will celebrate in a timely fashion the man behind the songs. With a stellar collection of musicians and songwriters (Nick Cave, Bobby Gillespie, Glen Hansard, Cerys Matthews, Camille O'Sullivan, Finbar Furey, Glen Matlock, Clem Burke), a major-name friend or two (including Johnny Depp) and members of The Pogues present and past (MacGowan himself, Spider Stacey, Jem Finer, Cait O'Riordan, Terry Woods), you can guarantee a party atmosphere bar none. And, you know, there might even be, like, Very Special Guests. Saying nothing. The evening's celebrations are hosted by RTÉ broadcaster and presenter, John Kelly. TCL

Celebrating David Bowie

Olympia theatre Dublin 7pm €80.50/€50.50/€45.50

With the January 8th gig cancellation of Ziggy Stardust-centric band, Holy Holy (which features former Spiders from Mars drummer, Woody Woodmansey, and longtime David Bowie producer/musician Tony Visconti), all eyes of the Irish Bowie fanbase are here. This unit (no band name, but rather a self-explanatory catch-all title) also features former members of various Bowie line-ups, including three formidable musicians: Mike Garson, Adrian Belew and Gerry Leonard. Expect a run-through of Bowie's back catalogue, based around a question the musicians seriously pondered – "what would Bowie's set list be like if he were touring today?" TCL

Motionless in White

Mandela Hall Belfast 6pm £21 Also Tuesday Academy Dublin 7pm €25.90

Anyone for metalcore from Scranton, Pennsylvania? It seems that quite a few people are up for exactly that, as Motionless in White carry on the fine traditions of several of the bands they are most influenced by: Slipknot, Black Sabbath, Korn, Marilyn Manson, HIM, and Nine Inch Nails. Non-fans will take some delight in pointing out the titles of the band's albums (Creatures, Graveyard Shift) and songs (Immaculate Misconception, The Divine Infection, Generation Lost, Necessary Evil), but there'll be no cynicism at these shows – this is metalcore music for metalcore heads. Earplugs optional. TCL

This is the Kit

Cyprus Avenue Cork 8pm €17.50 Also Wednesday Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €19

Based in Paris, British musician and songwriter Kate Stables may have the savoir-faire of the former but she also has the classic pop song heritage of the latter. Between 2015's Bashed Out and last year's Moonshine Freeze (which, said Pitchfork's review at the time of release, offers "a collection of sparse folk that takes on the mysteries of mortality with a wizened sigh"), Stables has ably fashioned a wild kind of music that by turn rouses and soothes the spirits. A rare enough Irish visit from a most skillful songwriter? You bet. Special guest is Brighton chamber-pop composer, Emma Gatrill. TCL

Thursday Jan 18

Ones to Watch

Whelan’s Dublin 7,45pm €10 (weekend)/€5 (day) Also Friday/Saturday/Sunday same venue/admission

There are several "ones to watch" events taking place during the year, notably Hard Working Class Heroes in October and the Music Trail strand during Other Voices in December. For the past eight years, however, this four-day festival has gazumped them all with its quest to uncover emerging music talent. Open to new bands and solo performers, as well as established unsigned acts that have material scheduled for release this year, all styles are covered. More than 50 acts will perform on the venue's three stages across the four days, and while there will, inevitably, be an occasional dud, there's little doubt you'll see quite a few acts that will knock your socks off. TCL

The Kooks

Olympia theatre Dublin 7pm €45.05/€40.05 Also Friday/Saturday, same venue/admission

It's a quiet week in a quiet month. Otherwise, how on earth would one of the most insipid bands of the past 10 years manage to snag three nights at one of Dublin's most prestigious venues? The appetite for characterless music is one of Ireland's least likeable traits, and too often the love afforded to mediocre acts outnumbers far more talented musicians. All of this noted, there's no accounting for taste on either side of the fence, so let us take our leave of The Kooks, wish them well, and let them and their fans get on with it. TCL

Friday, Jan 19

David O’Doherty

Connolly’s of Leap, Cork €20

Ah, 'tis himself. Casio warrior and woolly hat lover David O'Doherty is bringing his Big Time show to the comforts of Connolly's of Leap. After a busy 2017 touring around America with Flight of the Conchords and performances at the Edinburgh Fringe and the Melbourne Comedy Festival, he can now dedicate some time to us. Finally, I hear you cry. This Cork show is part of his Irish tour this January and February, which will see him playing in Westport, Dundalk, Dundrum, Newbridge, Ennis and a number of other Irish towns. So give it up for the DOD and beat the January (or February) blues and go get yourself a ticket. LB

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