This week’s best rock gigs: all-star line ups from Cork to Malahide

Indoors and out - Gladys Knight, Pink, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Toto and George Ezra

Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight

 

Saturday 15th

Toto
Live at the Marquee, Cork
They’ve blessed the rains in Africa and now they’re blessing the Marquee with their presence. The LA band best known for the 1981 single Africa kicked off the European leg of their 40 Trips Around the Sun tour in London on June 13th and this Cork show is their only appearance in Ireland for 2019. Named after their latest album, this tour will line up the old favourites such as Rosanna and Hold the line alongside new releases for a smooth rock singalong like no other. LB Hot Chip (DJ Set) Monroe’s, Galway Honourable patrons of having a good time, the London group soundtracked indie dance floors for most of the mid-00s but when they’re not releasing music as a group – their seventh album A Bath Full of Ecstasy will be released on June 21st – they play around with other groups like LCD Soundsystem and The 2 Bears or take full control of the dance floor with disco-laced and house-fuelled DJ sets. Always good for a bop, they put your dancing needs at the forefront. LB

Sunday 16th

Taking Back Sunday
Vicar Street, Dublin
Nothing ages you faster than seeing a milestone anniversary for a movie or album that encapsulated your youth. So, former emos fetch the smelling salts because Taking Back Sunday are celebrating 20 years of, well, Taking Back Sunday. Following the release of their compilation album Twenty and a few line-up changes along the way, they’re hitting the road to make everyone feel old and 17 at the same time. So even if your emo fringe is long gone, at least there’s this, right? LB

Monday 17th

Gladys Knight
Olympia Theatre, Dublin. Also Tuesday 18th, same venue

It has been many years since the Empress of Soul has performed in Ireland, so it’s good to welcome her back. One of the greatest soul singers of the past 60 years, Gladys Knight first found success in the 1960s as the titular leader of The Pips. Hits such as Take Me in Your Arms and Love Me, and their version of Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine, thrust Knight into the limelight, while further success in the 1970s (with hit songs such as Midnight Train to Georgia) and 1980s conferred soul classic status on her. Hear the hits, see the legend, have a blast. TCL

Tuesday 18th

Pink
RDS Stadium, Dublin
Pink is one of those redoubtable singers and performers that rarely disappoints. From her 2000 debut, Can’t Take Me Home, and its follow-up, 2001’s Missundaztood, she has hardly taken her foot off the throttle. Even her little-heard collaborative folk album (2014’s Rose Ave, as the duo You+Me, with Canadian songwriter, Dallas Green) delivered the goods, albeit somewhat quieter than usual. Her latest album, this year’s Hurts 2B Human, is up there with her very best, so this show – which is sold out – should be the proverbial business. Special guests include Vance Joy, KidCutUp, and Bang Bang Romeo. TCL

Wednesday 19th

Billy Corgan
Olympia Theatre, Dublin
In which the sole permanent member of Smashing Pumpkins says bye-bye to his current band members and embarks on a solo tour to perform, acoustically, tracks from his solo albums The Future Embrace (2005) and Ogilala (2017), as well as selections from the Smashing Pumpkins’ back catalogue, and his short-lived but really good band, Zwan. To say that Corgan is a maverick is an understatement, but he remains a fixture of some admiration by his fans. Expect a soupçon of mischief and quite a few really decent songs. Special guest is Katie Cole, an Australian singer-songwriter (and a former touring bassist with Smashing Pumpkins). TCL

Thursday 20th

ASIWYFA
Limelight, Belfast
Descriptions such as “a formidable display of power”, “a maelstrom of dexterity” and “a muscular breakdown complete with bewilderingly complex guitar riffs” have formed the narrative of what exactly makes Belfast band And So I Watch You From Afar tick. It has been 10 years since the band released their self-titled debut album, and so in a suitably celebratory fashion they are playing three shows (all sold out) at one of their favourite local venues. The album will be played in full, followed by more music from their subsequent albums. The modus operandi for these shows could surely be taken from the title of one of debut album’s tracks: Clench fists, grit teeth . . . Go! TCL

George Ezra
Irish Independent Park, Cork. Also June 21st, Malahide Castle, Co Dublin; June 22nd, Ormeau Park, Belfast
The popularity of this 26-year-old singer/songwriter/performer is such that all three of his Irish open-air shows are sold out. Who would have guessed? In the space of five years, Ezra has blossomed from a deep-voiced blues/folk ingenue to a chart-straddling success story. With early influences ranging from Woody Guthrie, Howlin’ Wolf and Bob Dylan, Ezra has now gone beyond mere emulation. He is still young enough to develop in multifarious ways, of course, but for the moment he has songs from two albums (2014’s Wanted on Voyage, 2018’s Staying at Tamara’s) he’ll need to perform at these shows. TCL

Friday 21st

Linton Kwesi Johnson
Live at St Lukes, Cork 
The work of Jamaican-born poet Linton Kwesi Johnson filtered into the mainstream from 1978, when the much documented punky-reggae party political vibes began to break through cultural boundaries. Albums such as Dread Beat an’ Blood (1978), Forces of Victory (1979), and Bass Culture (1980) presented Johnson’s explicit socio-political worldview via dub-soaked music that educated as well as entertained. A very rare visitor to Ireland, and therefore a must-see. Support guests at this very special spoken word event include Cormac Lally, Denies Chalia, Michelle Delea, and Stan Notte & The Lost Gecko. As part of Cork Midsummer Festival. TCL

Friday 21st-Sunday 23rd

Body & Soul Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath
Celebrating 10 years of midsummer madness and music, Body & Soul has expanded in its reign, bringing in an eclectic mix of entertainment while retaining the magic of its location. Avoiding the obvious names and digging deeper for a more varied line up, this year sees The Blaze, Modeselektor, Princess Nokia, Mano Le Tough, Dream Wife Soak and many others on the bill. Celebrating all the good things like diversity, sustainability and well being, this year’s festival also asks you to find your soul animal, and why not? LB

  Sea Sessions
Bundoran, Co Donegal
This west coast fest is flying the pop flag high this year with Sigrid, Clean Bandit and Two Door Cinema Club taking the headlining spots. Further down the bill you’ll find the heady mix of the Sugar Hill Gang, Kormac, Bitch Falcon, Paddy Hanna and Thumper, meaning that all musical tastes are looked after here. All weekend long, you can hit the waves yourself or watch 10 international surfers compete for a €2,500 cash prize in the Sea Sessions Expression Session. LB

Saturday 22nd

Lana Del Ray
Malahide Castle, Co Dublin
We have had the music of Lana Del Ray in our heads from 2011, the year her debut single Video Games was released. Since then, the Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter has cornered the market in languid, downhearted pop music that is uniquely hers and which has since influenced the likes of (among many others) Billie Eilish, Grace Mitchell, and our own Aine Cahill. How Del Ray’s notably low-voiced, low-key and late-at-night intimacy will transfer from behind closed doors to the open summer air is anyone’s guess, but she is above all a classy stylist, so we’re safely presuming it’ll be alright on the night. TCL

Duke Dumont
Electric, Galway
Straddling the worlds of chart success and club credibility, London producer Duke Dumont is in that sweet spot of doing what you love and making some money out of it. His recent releases Red Light Green Light and Runway run on a thudding bass and Inhale works some disco magic into its melody. Making his grand return to Galway, this is his only Irish appearance confirmed so far this summer before he makes his way around Europe, tending to the club and festival circuit. LB

Sunday 23rd

Liam Gallagher
Irish Independent Park, Cork
Following the demise of his post-Oasis band, Beady Eye, Liam Gallagher came back with a bang two years ago via his debut album, As You Were. With a documentary (As it Was) waiting in the wings – swearing, no doubt, to be released – it seems there is no chance whatsoever of the singer disappearing politely into the background. Not that he would, anyway. This year will see the release of a follow-up album (Why Me? Why Not) and, more imminently, a new single (Shockwave). Filtered in between the new tracks will be Oasis tunes and a few belters from the debut album. Don’t like him? Roll with it, dude. TCL

Mavis Staples
Olympia Theatre, Dublin
Two US soul singers in one week? Lordy, lord, we are being royally spoiled. Gladys Knight played Dublin on June 17th, and now we have Mavis Staples, who was previously in Ireland at last year’s Electric Picnic. Somewhat overshadowed by the large main stage and the drifting audience, perhaps, this time the acclaimed veteran has four walls, a roof, and a smaller stage from which to project and perform her wealth of soul/R&B/gospel music. The venerated singer is still going strong, too, as evidenced by her recently released album, We Get By, which was written exclusively for her by blues/folk songwriter Ben Harper. Our advice? Go see a soul legend in action. TCL

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