The week’s best rock and pop gigs: Crows, Take That, Angel Haze

Queer Rave returns, RuthAnne plays Dublin and Cork, Smithwick’s Kilkenny Roots Festival celebrates 20 years

The Crows play The Soundhouse in Dublin on Saturday,  April 27th

The Crows play The Soundhouse in Dublin on Saturday, April 27th


Saturday, April 27th

The Soundhouse, Dublin
London punk band Crows have passed the litmus test. They started as a pulsating, eye-fixing proposition over four years ago, delivering sustenance to the fans via single tracks such as Pray and EPs such as Unwelcome Light, and Cold Comfort. The latter two releases have been described as minor masterpieces of wailing, anarchic garage riffs, while the band’s live performances simultaneously unsettle and sizzle with (says “sweaty, rabid intimacy”. Sounds right up our boulevard of broken dreams. TCL 

Grace #3 - Queer Rave

Index, Dublin 
Grace is the latest night in Dublin that provides a space for techno-loving members of the LGBTQ+ community. In the works since summer 2018, Grace launched in February and reached capacity within an hour, with a queue full of people holding out hope to get in later. Making its return for a third outing, the tunes are in the hands of Marum (Minas/Suspension), Kaz (Even) and Fiveseven. Book tickets in advance to avoid holding out hope on the street outside. LB 


Whelan’s, Dublin 
(Also Sunday 28th, Cyprus Avenue, Cork)
Irish artist RuthAnne first made a name for herself as a songwriter to stars like JoJo, Britney Spears and Niall Horan but since moving back from Los Angeles to Dublin in recent years, she’s trying to make a go of it as performer herself. Her recent support slot to Hozier in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre in December opened her up to a wider audience so hopefully 2019 is the year for her own tunes to finally make noise in the charts. LB

Sunday, April 28th

Other Voices Club
Lost Lane, Dublin 
With the introduction of Lost Lane (formerly known as Lillie’s Bordello) as Dublin’s brand new music venues comes a slew of new club nights. Chasing away Saturday’s hangover, Other Voices Club promises an evening of screenings, conversations, music and pals to set you up for the rest of the week. The Dingle institution has a loyal list of Irish artists on its roll call, from Wyvern Lingo to Hozier, so this latest venture is set to deliver a line-up of the highest quality. LB 

Monday, April 29th

Take That
3Arena, Dublin
(Also Tuesday 30th, same venue)

Take That
Take That

Thirty years ago, in Manchester, five young men were taken under the charge of music manager Nigel Martin-Smith, whose aim was to create a British version of New Kids on the Block. Fast forward to right now (with a 10 year split, and some personnel changes), and you have three middle-aged men that are responsible for quite a few of the best-known pop songs of the past 25 years. These two sold-out shows form part of the group’s Greatest Hits Live tour, so you can, with certainty, expect to hear many of their best-known songs, all of which will be surrounded by a typically OTT stage presentation. And will Robbie Williams make an appearance, we hear you ask. In some shape or form, yes, he will. TCL

Stella Donnelly
Grand Social, Dublin

Stella Donnelly. Photograph: Evie MacKay
Stella Donnelly. Photograph: Evie MacKay

From Quinns Rock, Western Australia via Swansea in Wales, Stella Donnelly turned her initial music interests of singing Green Day songs in high school to studying jazz and contemporary music at a regional performing arts academy. Come 2017, with the release of her wittily-titled debut EP, Thrush Metal, Donnelly quickly made a name for herself with a batch of unrepentant folk/pop songs. She is an emerging star in Australia, and judging by the impressive quality of her lyrical heft (which relate honest views of being a millennial female in the era of third wave feminism, dating apps and grubby US presidents), it won’t be long before she starts to conquer elsewhere. TCL 

Richard Ashcroft
Olympia Theatre, Dublin

Richard Ashcroft
Richard Ashcroft

Richard Ashcroft’s solo albums have never really gained as much adulation as his work with The Verve - the Wigan group best known for their 1997 album, Urban Hymns – but he clearly remains a much-loved figure in both the UK and Ireland. Each of his five solo albums have reached, respectively, top five and top 20, so it’s little surprise this show is sold out. And yet there’s a sense that – much like the Big Train sketch about Ralph McTell fans never allowing him to sing anything other than Streets of London - many will be waiting for Ashcroft to launch into (the still notably anthemic) Bitter Sweet Symphony. Could be worse, we suppose. The show is sold out. TCL 

Tuesday, April 30th

The Antlers
Sugar Club, Dublin

The Antlers
The Antlers

It has been 10 years since Brooklyn band The Antlers released Hospice, a concept album about the emotionally abusive connections between a hospice worker and a terminally ill cancer patient. In the years since its release, the album – written by Peter Silberman - has taken on no small significance, a rare enough occurrence of a cult album that has touched many with its metaphorical if highly expressive framework. We can’t imagine you’ll be laughing yourselves silly at this acoustic show by the present core members of the group – Silberman and Michael Lerner – but there is depth in the music, for sure. TCL 

Angel Haze
Green Room at The Academy, Dublin
It’s been four years since alternative hip-hop artist Angel Haze released their second album Back to the Woods and with the occasional single released in the interim, this gig is a welcome return. Taking on issues like homophobia, rape culture, racism, addiction and mental health, the Michigan rapper’s music is heavy but thought-provoking. Perhaps a little ahead of their time, it’s never too late to get acquainted. Start with the freestyle rap Fall for Your Type and the rest will follow. LB 

Josh Rouse and Grant Lee Phillips
Whelan’s, Dublin
Take one acclaimed singer-songwriter from Nebraska, and another praised singer-songwriter from California, put them together, and what have you got? In truth, you have a good deal two-for-one evening of separate sets from a couple of the best contemporary folk/Americana performers. Rouse will be playing songs from his most recent album, Love in the Modern Age, while Phillips will be plugging his latest, Widdershins. Both will also be delving into their back catalogues, as well as teaming up for a song or three. TCL 

Drogheda Arts Festival
Pitched as the first arts festival of the summer (a valiant claim), there is always something intriguing in the schedules of this Co Louth experience. Visual arts, spoken word, heritage, family, theatre, poetry and music events make up the majority of the festival. This year’s primary music event (for, admittedly, a niche audience) is Nurse with Wound, a defiant and nebulous unit formed around the sonic explorations of Galway-based Steve Stapleton, a recognised pioneer of the UK industrial music scene (Droichead Arts Centre, Friday 3rd). Another one of the music events to keep an ear out for is We Eat Electric Silence, a local ambient, mellow collective that uses complementary visuals (The Living Room, Monday 6th). DAF runs until Monday 6th. TCL

Thursday, May 2nd

Sean O’Hagan & Eileen Gogan
Phil Grimes, Waterford(Also Friday 3rd, 3rd Place Coffee House, Dundalk, Co Louth; Saturday 4th, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast)

Sean O’Hagan
Sean O’Hagan

As the dust settles on the sarcophagus of Microdisney, the first outing from one of its primary members is via its quietest musician, Sean O’Hagan. Of course, O’Hagan has additional form with outlets such as the High Llamas, Stereolab, and several other smart, left-of-centre music acts. For these three intimate shows, one of Ireland’s most underrated vocalists, Eileen Gogan, will be assisting O’Hagan as well as previewing tracks from her upcoming new solo album (only for Waterford, which is a sold-out show, and Dundalk). Special guests for Belfast are Big Monster Love. TCL

Friday, May 3rd

Smithwick’s Kilkenny Roots Festival

Patty Griffin
Patty Griffin

Any festival that lasts for over 20 years is a testament to the knowledge and commitment of its programmers (as well as its sponsors), and to say that the Kilkenny Roots Festival also continues to nab quality headline and supporting acts is an understatement. This year’s event features top drawer roots/folk/Americana acts, from Patty Griffin (Watergate Theatre, Sunday 5th, sold out) and The Sadies (Set Theatre, Sunday 5th; Kytelers Inn, Monday 6th) to Alejandro Escovedo (Set Theatre, Saturday 4th), Jason Lytle (Set Theatre, Saturday 4th) and The Delines (Cleeres Bar, Saturday 4th; Set Theatre, Sunday 5th – both shows sold out). Times for all shows are on the festival website – enjoy running from venue to venue to catch them all. Runs until Monday 6th. TCL

An Taobh Tuathail 20th Anniversary
Róisín Dubh, Galway
Cian Ó Cíobháin’s late night music show on RnaG is a crucial touchstone for people on the lookout for underground music. Navigating global sounds through the Irish language, it’s one of the best music shows on air and to celebrate 20 years of eclectic tunes and musical discoveries, he will be broadcasting live from the Róisin Dubh. Joining him on the night are Dublin synthpop duo Ships, the ambient electronic act Mount Alaska and the Galway-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Anna Mullarkey. LB 

Hidden Agenda presents: John Talabot
Wigwam, Dublin
As soon as this gig was announced, a wave of excitement rippled through social media. The DJ from Barcelona is always welcomed with open arms in Ireland, with gigs in the Button Factory, Body & Soul and District 8 standing out as all time favourites for house music fiends. Taking place in the basement of Wigwam, this will not only be a sweaty, sweaty gig, it will be a nostalgic throwback to the Twisted Pepper days where Talabot played his first ever Irish gig. LB

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