The best rock and pop gigs to see this week
Longitude, Valerie June, Belle & Sebastian, David Gray and more
Marley Park, Rathfarnham €189.50/€129.50/€69.50 ticketmaster.ie Also Sat/Sun, Dublin
Welcome to a line-up that, with few exceptions (Mumford & Sons, who curate and headline Sunday) and Picture This (second headliner, tonight), this weekend is all about the bass. There are a few missteps here, too – we can’t abide Catfish & the Bottlemen (Saturday) and we reckon Jack Garratt (Sunday) is a one-trick-pony, but what’s not to love about the rest?
Best bets include Stormzy (above), Young Thug, Dua Lipa, Loyle Carner, Bitch Falcon (Friday); The Weeknd, Skepta, Kaytranada (Saturday); Leon Bridges, Villagers, Glass Animals, Karen Elson, Lucy Rose, Gill Landry (Sunday).
If you’re ever searching for striking individuality, then look no further than Tennessee singer and songwriter Valerie June. Her recently released album, The Order of Time, has already been praised as one that will safely land in end-of-year lists (the words ‘Van Morrison’ and ‘Astral Weeks’ have been mentioned when attempting to sum up the album’s varying shades and moods), while her onstage performances, we are assured, run the gamut from fascinating to feverish.
Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 7pm €40 ticketmaster.ie
The ‘Celtic punk’ genre has certain connotations, and most of these mention The Pogues somewhere along the way. It’s unavoidable, perhaps, that you’d view Dropkick Murphys with a hint of cynicism, but the Massachusetts band – now with over 20 years experience of kicking out the shams – deserve more. Fusing the punk rawness of Stiff Little Fingers and the folk rowdiness of The Dubliners, what’s often overlooked is the band’s socio-political stance, which is far more accurate and perceptive than you might think. Support acts include The Fratellis, and United Bottles. TCL
3Arena Dublin 8pm €50 ticketmaster.ie
Turin-born neo-classical composer Ludovico Einaudi may have started off his music career as a member of a guitar-twanging beat combo, but from his training as a classical composer/pianist at Milan Conservatorio, he has defied informal categorization. Simply put, Einaudi’s minimalist music is sublime. Special guest is Dublin’s Slow Moving Clouds, who have validly been compared to The Gloaming and Sigur Ros, and who, therefore, must not be missed just because you want to get that last drink in.
New York slam poet, songwriter and rapper Saul Williams was last in Ireland as part of Lingo Spoken Word Festival two years ago, so he’s no stranger to us. The man has been knocking words out of the park from when his debut album, Amethyst Rock Star, was released way back in 2001. Since then, Williams has been as much a part of the poetry scene as music, having gone on to support acts such as Nine Inch Nils and The Mars Volta. It is as a writer, however, that he is best known, so expect a volley of vowels to come your way at these rare Irish gigs.
Belle & Sebastian
Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 7pm €45 ticketmaster.ie
Who would have thought that, 21 years on, a gentle yet insidiously melodic band that wrote of reading books, experiencing bullying and hesitant romantic approaches would still be around to tell the tale? The durable nature of Glasgow’s Belle and Sebastian, however, is one of indie rock music’s genuinely valid success stories – from 1996 debut Tigermilk to most recent album, 2015’s Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, B&S have delivered delicacy and resilience in equal measure. Special guest is so-called ‘gothic folk’ New Zealand songwriter, Aldous Harding, who is very much worth your time and attention.
St Malachy’s Church, Castlewellan, County Down €35 (sold out) davidgray.com
The last time David Gray played a bunch of solo shows in Ireland was in 1995, when he had but two albums to his name – 1993’s debut A Century Ends and 1994’s Flesh, each of which blazed with acoustic-based, anxiety-driven rage. Will Gray’s follow-up solo tour of Ireland be a match? We’ll see. The tour continues into next week – another show at St Malachy’s Church (Friday July 21), St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny (Saturday July 22), Opera House, Wexford (Sunday July 23) and Opera House, Cork (Monday July 24). All shows are sold out.