This week’s best rock and pop: From Other Voices to Divine Comedy

The Coronas sell out (in the good way) and Wolves in the Throne Room bring the metal


Saturday, December 2

Other Voices

St James Church, Dingle, Co Kerry. Also Sunday

It is time to be surprised over and over again. Every December Other Voices sets up its stall in Dingle, and for a while before it takes place we reckon we’ve seen and heard it all. Each year we are proven so wrong we get sick on the amount of humble pie we’ve eaten. Whether the music is in St James’s Church or (as part of the Music Trail) in any number of venues in and around the town, there is always something amazing to hear. Over the past two years, Other Voices has stepped it up a level or two: there is much more taking place in the town than music, more people are visiting, and there’s a bigger buzz. Like we said – time to be surprised again. Tony Clayton-Lea 

Perfume Genius

Tivoli Theatre, Dublin 8pm €23.50

When Perfume Genius’s low-volume but highly seductive Saturday night slot at Electric Picnic had people swooning, it is a testament to Mike Hadreas’s profound indie-pop that he can steal people away from the mayhem of the night. The American performer is playing a double whammy this weekend, with a gig down in Dingle as part of the Other Voices festival, so we’re truly blessed to have him walking among us. Make it your mission to catch him either in Dublin or Dingle. Louise Bruton

Robert Plant

Ulster Hall, Belfast. 7pm £59.50/£49.50 (sold out) Also Sunday Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Dublin 7pm €79.50/€69.50/€59.50 (sold out)

It may be difficult for some to equate the Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and his erstwhile Hammer of the Gods image with the singer/performer he has been for some time, but we sense that as Plant has grown older he has easily balanced one with the other. His superb new album, Carry Fire, will be filleted for songs, but fans of the Valhalla days won’t be disappointed: Plant sprinkles a few Led Zep classics amid his solo explorations into bluegrass, R&B, and Asian-flavoured ballads. Special guest is Seth Lakeman. Oh – by the way: Plant turns 70 next year, and Led Zeppelin celebrates its 50th anniversary. Just saying. TCL

Sunday, December 3

Rocket from the Crypt

Whelan’s Dublin.8pm €26

San Diego band Rocket from the Crypt have been a steady presence and influence for those music fans, which include Metallica and Foo Fighters, that like fast and hard punk rock played with a hint of weirdness. Through the years, they have split up a few times, yet the band members have always leaned towards the point of origin. Songs from albums such as 1991 debut Paint as a Fragrance – one of the best album titles ever, by the way – and 1995’s Scream, Dracula, Scream, will be performed. TCL

Monday, December 4

Wolves in the Throne Room

Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €16

There are so many sub-layers to metal music that it’s difficult to know where to start, but suffice to say that Olympia, Washington, brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver know exactly what they’re about. Influenced initially by Norwegian black metal, thrash speed and death metal, over time – the band formed in 2003 – the sound has altered to include elements of folk and electronic music. That said, latest album, Thrice Woven, has seen the band return to “pummelling, multilayered power…” Support is from French metal band Aluk Todolo. TCL

Divine Comedy

Opera House Cork 7pm €39.05/€33.50 (sold out) Also Tuesday UCH Limerick 7pm €39.05/€33.50; Wednesday Millennium Forum Derry 7pm £38/£32.50; Thursday Ulster Hall Belfast 7pm £37.50/£33; Friday Olympia Theatre Dublin 7pm €45.05/€40.05 (sold out)

In which Ireland’s smartest songwriter undertakes a brief nationwide tour to promote his latest (and splendid) album, Foreverland. We can’t emphasise enough how much we admire the pop craftsmanship of Neil Hannon – his compositional skills are both effortless and exceptional, so those with tickets are in for a delight. Special guest is Dublin band Pugwash, whose latest album, Silverlake, is an end-of-year highlight. TCL

Tuesday, December 5

The Coronas

Olympia Theatre Dublin 7pm €34.50 (sold out) Also Thursday, same venue

It took a while to get to the top, but it now looks as if The Coronas are planning to stay there. It has been 10 years since the release of debut album, Heroes or Ghosts, and in that relatively short space of time the band has pitched a growing fan base against a relatively indifferent music media. The latter’s views have changed over the past five years, however, firstly with 2014 album The Long Way, and then with this year’s durable Trust the Wire. Not to worry if you miss these shows, as more are scheduled throughout this month. TCL

Wednesday, December 6

Mark Lanegan

The Academy, Dublin 8pm €28

Mark Lanegan, the gravel-voiced singer, moves in the shadows of the rock world, collaborating with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Isobel Campbell and Unkle, all the while releasing music of his own. Gargoyle, his 10th solo album since 1990, has the singer examining his own downbeat, melancholic ways, and when the 52-year-old brings that to a live stage with a full band, it’s a hair-raising experience. LB

Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band

Mandela Hall Belfast 7.30pm £25 Also Thursday (standing show)/Friday (seated show) Vicar St Dublin 7.30pm €36

He may have been born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, but Josh Ritter will always be an honorary Irish singer-songwriter. The man is here to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his crossover success in Ireland and to once again rifle through the two albums (2000’s Golden Age of Radio, 2003’s Hello Starling) that have made him so beloved. Special guest at all shows is Anaïs Mitchell. Ritter also plays Dolans Limerick (Sunday, December 10) and Opera House Cork (Monday, December 11). TCL

Jesca Hoop

The Workmans Club, Dublin 8pm €15

Jesca Hoop is a storyteller and, boy, does she have stories to tell. The Manchester-based folk singer from California was once a teen runaway who briefly lived off the earth, who then moved on to work as a nanny for Tom Waits’s children but her best stories come when challenging human emotions, urges, frustrations and ideals. Her Dublin gig is one of her final gigs of a busy tour across Europe celebrating her new album Memories Are Now. LB

Maria Doyle Kennedy & Sinead Burke

The Sound House, Dublin 7.30pm €14.00 (+ €1.75 fee)

The incomparable Maria Doyle Kennedy will be treating the audience in The Sound House, the upstairs venue of The Wiley Fox on Eden Quay, to a hearty selection of songs that celebrate her contribution to the Irish music scene for the last 30 years. Her performance is part of Culture Vultures, hosted by Tony Clayton-Lea, who will conduct a public interview with disability activist Sinead Burke. Topics up for discussion include diversity, inclusivity, and the power of fashion. LB

Thursday, December 7


Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €22.50 (sold out) Also Friday/Saturday, same venue (sold out)

Ham Sandwich, currently putting the contents of their fourth record into order, look set to further consolidate the success of 2015’s Stories from the Surface. The taster for next year’s album arrived two weeks ago in the supple shape of Bodies, which is as slinky a tune as you’ll hear between now and the apocalypse. Support acts are SON (tonight), Session Motts (tomorrow), and Elephant (Saturday). More shows nationwide are planned up to the end of the month. TCL


The Button Factory, Dublin 7.20pm €18.35

Aminé is a colourful whoosh of life and his debut album, Good For You, which was released in July, feels like a prescription for happiness. The young rapper from Portland, Oregon, shows off his playful humour with songs such as Spice Girl and REDMERCEDES, while taking a more serious stance on Turf, a song about gentrification. Yup. He goes there. His Button Factory gig will be his first Irish show ever and it’s sure to be a full-blown riot of life. LB

Friday, December 8

Le Galaxie

The Academy, Dublin 7pm €29.90

There ain’t no show like a Le Galaxie show, and their Academy gig, their only headline gig in Dublin this year, will be a great way to kick off the Christmas season. And on a Friday night, no less. The group recently signed a record deal with the American label Bob Frank Entertainment, which will be releasing their third album Pleasure. Now that MayKay (ex-Fight Like Apes) is an official member of the band, they have a lot to celebrate. LB 

Bronagh Gallagher

Grand Social Dublin 8pm €15

Is it Christmas already? If you hadn’t noticed, here’s Bronagh Gallagher to make sure you do. The actor/singer’s album of last year, Gather Your Greatness, is a soul concoction that simmers and burns in equal measure, and her live performances always turn up the heat as and when required. This gig has been organised by the venue and those impish types at Turning Pirate. Their combined mission is to herald the jovial and soulful spirit of the pre-Christmas season, and by golly, we think they’re going to do just that. Special guest is Leila Jane & the Healers. TCL

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