This week's best rock gigs: From Filthy Friends to Soak

Festival season is in full-swing with Vantastival, Life festival and AVA Festival

SATURDAY 25th Vinyl & Wine presents: OK Computer

The Liquor Rooms, Dublin (Also May 26th, The Liquor Rooms, Dublin)
The Vinyl and Wine series is a wonderful chance to revisit favourite albums except this time, it's on a large sound system with plenty fellow audiophiles to dissect and discuss the best and worst tracks. In this case, Radiohead fans can listen to 1997's OK Computer from start to finish on vinyl and listen to a panel of experts talk though the production and recording process of the album, while also examining its legacy.  LB


Life Festival Belvedere House, Co. Westmeath
This three-day camping festival have kicked off yesterday but Saturday and Sunday camping tickets are still available. Calling in the big wigs from the worlds of techno, house, grime and hip-hop, you can catch the likes of MK, Camelphat, Charlotte de Witte and Giggs performing across the 160 acres of the gorgeous lakeside estate.  This is Ireland's biggest electronic music festival so when you're packing your bags, don't forget to throw in an extra pair of socks and some added unce! unce! unce! LB

Monday 27th

Olympia Theatre, Dublin
Just like her music, UK singer and songwriter Dido doesn't do pressure – in 20 years she has released a mere five albums, each one released with little fanfare and a sold-out promotional tour, each one selling bucket loads. She remains a performer that divides opinion, not through music that is in any way edgy or controversial, but rather because of its mellow assets. Her recently released album, Still on My Mind, follows a familiar path: very smooth, hummable electro/ambient pop music ideal for sunny weather, sandy shores, and cocktails. Or, depending on your mood, late nights, weepy feelings, and G&Ts. TCL


The Grand Social, Dublin (Also May 29th, Róisín Dubh, Galway and May 30th, Black Box, Belfast)
One of the loudest post-rock bands to come out this side of 2007, LA band Health have had a busy 2019, releasing their fourth album Vol. 4: Slaves of Fear in February and scoring the soundtrack for Grand Theft Auto Online: Arena War. Working on music for video games since 2012, they've also composed music for Grand Theft Auto V and Max Payne 3. Gaming aside, their live show is a wonderfully intense thing to behold. LB

Wednesday 29th

Meshell Ndegeocello
NCH, Dublin
Pioneer of the neo-soul movement, a ten-time Grammy nominee, essayist, and activist, Meshell Ndegeocello (born Michelle Lynn Johnson, she adopted her stage surname at 17, taken from the Swahili for 'free like a bird') has been standing for so long at the door to full-blown stardom that she has long since not bothered to knock louder. She needn't worry (in fact, she doesn't), as her solo work is testament to a voice that makes itself heard through songs that touch on topics such as homophobia, black feminism, and religious doctrine. A fierce, honest, humble live performer, let's welcome her back to Ireland after a gap of about ten years. TCL

Filthy Friends
Button Factory, Dublin
Whatever you do, please do not call them a supergroup. Yes, Filthy Friends may have a former member of R E M in its ranks (guitarist Peter Buck) as well as sidelining member of Sleater-Kinney (vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker), but this is no haven for rampant egos or a refuge from irritating band members. Rather, with two solid albums under the belt, Filthy Friends apply the basic principles of a bunch of seasoned musicians just going out and delivering solid gold grunge/glam/pop. Anyone calling out for R E M's What's the Frequency, Kenneth? or Sleater-Kinney's Heart Factory will be escorted to the exit in jig time. TCL

The Unthanks
Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co Louth www.spiritstore.ieAlso May 30th St Stephen's Church (Pepper Canister), Dublin; www.peppercanister.ieMay 31st Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts, Belfast; June 1st Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy, Magherafelt, Co Derry

Popping over to Ireland for four shows, as part of their 'Unaccompanied As We Are' tour, a sparser version of Tyneside's Unthanks sees sisters Rachel and Becky strip back the material for which they're rightly renowned for and deliver unaccompanied, unadorned harmonies. Such an approach in such intimate venues seems fully justified following symphonic/orchestral tours that had the group perform in prestigious venues like the Royal Festival Hall and Royal Albert Hall. Going back to where they started from proves that creativity, says Rachel Unthank, "should never be about ambition or aspiration." The sisters are joined on these dates by another Unthanks member, Niopha Keegan. The lowdown? Shows to savour. TCL

Eagle Eye Cherry
Whelan's, Dublin
When's the last time you thought about Swedish soft-rock singer Eagle Eye Cherry? Like a distant bell in your memory, the lyrics of his 1997 single Save Tonight come flooding back, as clear as day, as soon as song begins.  The half-brother of the very cool Neneh Cherry released his fifth album Streets of You last year and while it's no Save Tonight – how could anything compare? – it's an inoffensive collection of soft rock songs that can never outshine the power of his first and only hit. LB

Thursday 30th

Button Factory, Dublin
It is easy to forget that Derry's Bridie Monds-Watson has been involved in songwriting and music since her early teens and that it is (prepare to be surprised) four years since the release of her debut album, Before We Forget How to Dream. As well as winning the Choice Music Prize Album of the Year 2015, the album also exposed her to the kind of sincere, non-patronising adulation that very few teenagers receive. Wise enough to wait for longer than is usual to follow-up such a successful debut, Soak's new album, Grim Town, is very much worth the wait. This paper's reviewer described the songwriting "as rich as ever, but it's Soak's sense of boldness… that feels like a major step on her creative odyssey." TCL

Hugh Jackman
3Arena Dublin; Also Friday 31st
Subtitled "The Man, the Music, the Show" (presumably in case anyone thought it might be Wolverine on tour), what we have here is a showcase, as if it were required, of Hugh Jackman's many talents. Accompanied by a live orchestra, the actor/singer will perform some impressive tunes from Les Miserables, The Greatest Showman, and other musical theatre shows/movies. There are three performances in all – one tonight, and two Friday 31st (matinee and evening). All shows sold out. TCL

Friday 31st

Beaulieu House, Baltray, Co Louth
We have been to Vantastival a few times and can verify that it's one of the friendliest, enjoyable and most relaxed music festivals in the country. A compact size, too, adds to the fun, as does a series of woodland venues situated around the site. Located right by the River Boyne, and with a focus on the campervan aficionado, the festival features a virtually all-Irish line-up. From well-known acts (King Kong Company, Afro Celt Sound System, Sharon Shannon, Wallis Bird, Lisa O'Neill, We Cut Corners, David Keenan, Pillow Queens) to a rake of emerging talent (including Firestone Battle of the Bands winners, Molto Vivo), Vantastival has it sussed. Runs until Sunday 2nd. TCL


St. Anne's Park, Dublin
The first of the St. Anne's Park gigs, Irish chart toppers Kodaline begin their two night stint in the Raheny park before Nile Rodgers and Chic do their thang later on in the week. With James Morrison supporting the lads on both nights, Mullingar pop act Flynn and Roe, the indie multi-instrumentalist from Derry, is joining them on Friday only. Irish singer-songwriter  Somebody's Child will join them on Saturday. Tickets are available for both concerts but if there's a promise of sun, that won't be the case for long. LB

AVA Festival
Various venues, Belfast
Part music, part industry event, AVA Festival is the annual shindig where an array of DJs, industry bodies (and heads), and electronic music aficionados gather for a few days of music and conversation. This year's line-up includes top-drawer names such as Palms Trax, Lan Faki, Honey Dijon, Daniel Avery, and Black Madonna, all of which will control the decks inside a former B&Q warehouse space. Note: while the conference elements of AVA are open to all ages, the music festival shows are strictly over 18s. Runs until Saturday 1. TCL

Saturday 1st

Paul Brady & Theo Katzman
Opera house, Cork
Also Sunday 2nd Vicar St, Dublin
Souls in Sync Tour is the subtitle of Paul Brady and Theo Katzman's brief foray around Ireland, and it's a good description of the collaboration between one of Ireland's most respected songwriters and one of America's most eclectic emerging performers. Both songwriters will be on stage performing each other's songs, but don't expect any firm favourites from either Brady's back catalogue (11 solo studio albums) or Katzman's output (two solo albums, four with his band Vulfpeck) – this is an experiment that, depending on the group dynamic on the night, will slip or soar. We predict the latter, needless to say. Further shows continue into next week when Brady and Katzman play UCH, Limerick June 4th, and Ulster Hall, Belfast, June 5th. TCL

Telephones All Day BYOB Schoolyard Party
Pallas Projects and the Sugar Club, Dublin
Divils for a daytime party, Telephones are calling in the usual suspects to take you from midday to midnight - well, maybe a little bit later - this bank holiday weekend. Starting off in Dublin 8's Pallas Projects at 2pm, they've got Papa Lou, Nevan Jio, and Rosita Moulin on the decks playing disco, soul and world music. The second half of the night begins at 10:30pm and Nabihah Iqbal, Telephones, District Magazine will be taking care of business. LB

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