Weekly gig guide: The Blades, Rebekah, Mano Le Tough, En Vogue and more

Our select going-out guide, featuring the best gigs, shows, exhibitions and events taking place around the country

En Vogue, Vicar St Dublin, Thursday

En Vogue, Vicar St Dublin, Thursday


FRIDAY 31.03

The Blades

Whelan’s Dublin 8pm 28 whelanslive.com
It was once a a case of ‘hell freezes over’ when it came to writing new material for The Blades (below). but then main songwriter and linchpin Paul Cleary’s mindset changed, and before 2016 ended, a batch of freshly written songs emerged in the shape of Modernised, The Blades’ first album of new material since the mid-1980s. Band comebacks can be fraught affairs, muted by weak material and a clinging sense of despair and ego, but there was nothing of these about the new album and Cleary’s return to songwriting. This gig celebrates the launch of the vinyl edition of Modernised.

The Blades, Whelan’s Dublin
The Blades, Whelan’s Dublin


Cyprus Avenue, Cork 11pm €17/€13 cyprusavenue.ie
Brummie native Rebekah  (below) has been providing audiences with the hard stuff for nearly two decades - after an apprenticeship at the Que Club, her releases for Chris Leibing’s CLR started her run as a producer. Since then, she’s set up such labels as Decoy and Elements, remixed acts like Matador, released stellar EPs and signed to the Soma label. More recently, Rebekah has established the Elements night in Birmingham as a showcase for what’s next. Support from Bastardo Electrico duo Jamie Behan and Eric Moore.

Rebekah, Cyprus Avenue, Cork
Rebekah, Cyprus Avenue, Cork

Big Giant Head Tour

Connolly’s of Leap, Cork 8.30pm €10 (also Sat, The Pumphouse, Kilkenny 7.30pm €5; Sun, Central Arts, Waterford 8pm €11; Wed, Róisín Dubh Galway 8pm Adm free; Thurs , Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €10
A package tour? Yay! Thanks to London-based Veta Records we are being treated to three emerging Irish bands unashamedly parading their wares. Hawk deliver honed grunge/ pop, Barq possess in Jess Kav (below) a soul-oriented lead vocalist that flays the competition, and Harbouring Oceans weave together bits and pieces of alt-pop/jazz/soul/ electro. More of this kind of thinking/touring, if you don’t mind.

RTÉ NSO/Erik Nielsen

NCH, Dublin 8pm €15-€35 nch.ie
Messiaen’s mammoth Turangalîla-Symphonie (1946-48) is heavily influenced from a musical point of view by Indian musical practices, and its title is a compound of Sanskrit words. But Messiaen has also referred to it as one of three Tristans he wrote, the others being the song-cycle Harawi, and Cinq rechants for choir. When the symphony had its first Irish performance in Dublin’s St Francis Xavier Hall in 1976 people thought it be a once in a lifetime experience for Ireland. But it’s back in Dublin tonight for the fourth time, with Erik Nielsen conducting. The concert opens with the RTÉ Contempo Quartet playing Henri Dutilleux’s Ainsi la nuit, and organist Fergal Caulfield plays Messiaen’s Messe de la Pentecôte before that, at 6.30pm.


The Bunatee Belfast 10pm £13/£12 twitchbelfast.com
Palms Trax’s return visit to Tw!tch is sure to pull a bumper crowd as Saltford-born and Berlin-based producer Jay Donaldson is currently having a sizeable impact on house music’s potential shape shape. Support tonight from the Tw!tch DJs.


The Sugar Club 7.30pm €25 tickets.ie
According to Philip King, Scullion have played in back rooms, front rooms, bar rooms and bedrooms, flat-bed trucks, concert halls, the Albert Hall and everywhere else in between. It’s been too long since they’ve done a headline gig like this though, and tonight they’re joined by Dublin poet and playwright, Stephen James Smith. Scullion are an unusual collective: a trio of fine musicians who marry their keen appetites for pithy rhymes, unlikely melodic arcs and rhythmic complexity to exceedingly fine effect. The Sugar Club is the perfect setting in which to savour those delights.

Folk n Soup Club

The Washer Woman, Ballina, Tipperary 8pm €10 folkandsoupclub.ie
This is the first in what is planned to be a monthly not-for- profit gathering to showcase live and recorded music in this Shannonside enclave of Ballina. Percussionist Tommy Hayes and Mattu Noone’s new project, AnTara will feature, along with a celebration of local folk group The Shannon Folk, who celebrate 50 years together this year. Alec Brown, an Arkansas cellist, will bring a leftfield contribution to the mix. The brainchild of local man Michael Hackett, this project has already got legs and is rising to a gallop. As close as you’ll get to a kitchen session, the Folk n Soup Club has all the makings of an gathering that will sate the appetites for thoughtful live performance.

Out to Lunch: Sassy J

Bar Tengu Dublin 10pm €12.50 outtolunch.ie
From Bern in Switzerland, Sassy J’s Patchwork night, running since 2005, has allowed her bring in both big name guests (including MF Doom, Theo Parrish, Floating Points and Moodymann) and finesse her own style as a selector, something initially informed by clubs like Co-Op in London. Her sound is one which has attracted many admirers and she’s played everywhere from Eglo Dance to Dekmantel to Sonar. Support from Daire Carolan from All City offshoot label Jheri Tracks.

Sean Nós Cois Life

The Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square, all weekend seannos.ie
The great, the good and the downright errant all gather for the weekend for a veritable sean nós knees up. Tonight’s bilingual singing session will feature Josie Sheáin Jesica Mac Donncha, Liam Ó Cróinín and a rake of other fine voices. Tomorrow will see singing workshops throughout the day, and in the evening, Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donnacha will be presented with the Gradam Sean Nóis Cois Life. On Sunday an afternoon singing session in partnership with Dublin club, An Góilín, will mark the close of what has now become a touchstone event for traditional singers across the country.


Marc-André Hamelin, Leif Ove Andsnes

NCH, Dublin 8pm €27.50-€55 nch.ie
Two of today’s top pianists join forces in Stravinsky’s ground- breaking Rite of Spring, playing the work in the composer’s own much-admired arrangement for four hands. Stravinsky’s Concerto for two pianos, Debussy’s En blanc et noir and Mozart’s unfinished Larghetto and Allegro, played in the completion by Paul Badura- Skoda also feature. Nuff said.

Denis Sulta

Cyprus Avenue, Cork 11pm €16/€13.50 cyprusavenue.ie
The list of graduates from the Red Bull Music Academy who’ve gone onto bigger things grows every year. Joining people like Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, Nina Kraviz, Aloe Blacc and more is Denis Sulta (right). The man born Hector Barbour is the latest Glasgow house producer to see his name up in lights , with tracks such as Nein Fortiate and Dubelle Oh XX winning him applause from all quarters, including folks like Jackmaster, Skream and BBC Radio One’s Annie Mac.


Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €16.50 whelanslive.com
It’s a good job we weren’t holding our breath for the arrival of Sophie Cooke to our shores for a headline gig. In fairness, the English songwriter – whose middle name was chosen to identify her – had been busy working on her recently released debut album Things I’ve Never Said. Frances also had to contend with fighting expectations after being shortlisted for the 2016 BRIT Critics’ Choice Award (she was pipped to the post by Jack Garrett) and nominated for the BBC Sound of 2016. Let’s hope that the stage at this venue is big enough to hold a reasonably grand piano, because that’s what drives the music. The music, you ask? Think big, bold ballads and soft, personalised songs influenced by the likes of Carole King and Adele.

Mano Le Tough

District 8 Dublin 11pm €20/18 manoletough.com
The Niall Mannion journey continues. It’s one which has taken him from his native Greystones to a few years in Berlin and a current base outside Zurich. Musically, Mannion has also been on a trip which has seen him go from the daring thrills of his 2013 debut Changing Days to the slow- burning sound of 2015’s Trails. It’s a solo run for Mannion tonight, his first appearance in the city since last year’s Maeve showcase at the same venue.

Jamie Berry

The Cellar Galway 9pm 7 jamie-berry.com
Time to dance like it’s the 1930s. Leeds’ producer Jamie Berry’s combination of vintage swing and modern dancefloor beats has proven to be a winning one over the past few years. Berry’s impetus for this sound came from watching YouTube footage of Austrian musician Parov Stelar’s Catgroove and finding himself hooked by the notion of revamping classic swing for the dancefloors of today. His shuffling sound has produced a string of EPs for Flak and, unsurprisingly, Berry has had a decent return when it comes to synchs with his music featuring on ads in Germany and Britain for cars and banks. Support from Cantina Bop and DJ Symphony.

SUNDAY 02.04

Ó Lochlainn Drennan Carpio

Arthurs, Thomas St, Dublin, 4pm, €10, arthurspub.ie
Clare bassist Neil Ó Lochlainn is a musical seeker, one of the main movers behind the trailblazing trad-meeets-jazz big band Ensemble Ériu. This three hander, featuring the remarkable talents of pianist Myles Drennan and drummer Sean Carpio, may be a more conventional line-up, but there is a reason why the piano trio remains such an enduring form. From Ahmad Jamal and Bill Evans to Brad Mehldau and the Bad Plus, the trio is jazz’s equivalent of a quorum, the perfect balance of voices and textures. Ó Lochlainn, Drennan and Carpio are also connected to the jazz tradition in very direct way – they were amongst the last musicians to play with Louis Stewart, and this trio is a chance to hear what lessons they learnt.

All that Surrounds Us

Works on paper, sculptures and video by Jennifer Cunningham. Ashford Gallery, RHA Gallagher Gallery, 15 Ely Place, Dublin Until April 23 rhagallery.ie
A gem of an exhibition. In Jennifer Cunningham’s imaginative world (below), an abandoned fairground, crumbling glasshouses and derelict lots of land evoke the faded magic of childhood possibility. These realms will change in the face of, and even be eclipsed by the tougher realities of life’s choices, limitations and hurt. The characters – female – who inhabit these spaces are poised between the two stages of awareness, in a moment of pre-pubescence, perhaps, as dreamy confidence verges on the acknowledgment of more troubling prospects or, it could equally be, as young women recall that earlier, in-between moment. Cunningham draws superbly well, and she is as sensitively incisive in the 3D and video work.

Jennifer Cunningham. RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin
Jennifer Cunningham. RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin

Siansa Gael Linn 2017 Grand Finale

National Concert Hall, Dublin 7.30pm €15/€7.50 nch.ie
Siansa showcases Irish music and song by young musicians, all through the medium of Irish, and this is the climax of the competition which inspires and attracts new groups of the highest calibre annually, and this year’s final will see close contest eight traditional Irish music groups. With the growing profile of the concertina, it will be interesting to see how these emerging ensembles reflect current trends or signal some more of their own. S

MONDAY 03.04

APERTURES - creating NEW, collecting NOW

Arts Building Concourse, Trinity College (Via pedestrian entrance at the junction of Nassau St and Dawson St), Dublin Until May tcd.ie/artcollections/exhibitions
Works by 10 artists new to the college collections, purchased or received by donation during the past year, including a significant recent purchase initiative, the Provost’s Fund for Contemporary Art. That fund brought in works by Amanda Coogan, Margaret Corcoran, Ramon Kassam, Gavin O’Curry, Niamh O’Malley and Ailbhe Ní Bhriain: an impressive achievement. Hire-scheme acquisitions include work by Alan Phelan, Deborah Brown and Blaise Drummond. Photographic artist Alec Soth generously donated three prints from his Douglas Hyde exhibition, with the encouragement of the Hyde’s ex-director John Hutchinson, who has also donated 14 works from his personal collection over the past three years.

Pat Kinevane Trilogy

Peacock Theatre. (Forgotten, Silent and Underneath performed on alternating nights until Apr 15) 8pm €25/€20 (three shows €60/€54) abbeytheatre.ie
Nearly 11 years ago, writer and performer Pat Kinevane (below) turned his talents towards solo performance for Fishamble and delivered an exquisitely funny, compassionate and imaginative piece, Forgotten. With a poignant title for a memory play, it avoided sentimentality, and followed the entwining stories of its apparently disconnected elderly characters in invigorating ways. That began an evolving style, taken up by 2006’s Silent, an unusually caustic view of homelessness, fantasy and mental health, and, most recently, 2014’s Underneath, the alternately stately and ludic meditation of a sharp minded, disfigured woman somewhere between this world and the next. The trilogy has brought Kinevane around the world, scooping up many major awards (most recently an Olivier). But Kinevane’s performances tend to shrug off the accolades, touring small venues with little fanfare. Returning to the Peacock, he instead conjures the intimacy, warmth and surprise of a personal connection and close encounters.

Pat Kinevane Trilogy, Peacock Theatre. Dublin
Pat Kinevane Trilogy, Peacock Theatre. Dublin


Music of Our Time

NCH, Dublin 1.05pm Adm free nch.ie
The latest in the RTÉ NSO’s free Music of our Time lunchtime series includes the première of Sebastian Adams’s 2016.4, written last year when Adams was RTÉ lyric fm’s composer in residence. The programme, conducted by Gavin Maloney, also includes a first Irish hearing for German composer Detlev Glanert’s Insomnium, a 20-minute Adagio first heard in 2010, and a repeat of Andrew Hamilton’s c, commissioned for and first heard at last year’s Composing the Island festival.

Laura Cantrell

Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €25 whelanslive.com; also Thursday, Errigle Inn, Belfast, 8pm £18 errigle.com
Admired by Elvis Costello, praised by John Peel, regarded as a singer-songwriter for whom country music is a stepping off point for further in-depth investigation, Nashville’s Laura Cantrell makes a rare visit to Ireland. If you’re looking for music performed with awareness, humour and poignancy, enriched by country’s legacy, and interwoven with pop, then make sure to nab a ticket.

Christian Scott Quintet

Sugar Club, Dublin, 8pm, €20, thesugarclub.com (also Wed)
Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah (below), to give him his full nom de guerre, is a standard bearer for a new generation of US jazz musicians tunnelling out of the jazz ghetto and demanding attention from the hypnotised masses beyond. Like Kamasai Washington, Snarky Puppy and others, the New Orleans trumpeter is taking the legacies of Miles and Coltrane and repurposing them for the 21st century – not only in terms of music and politics, but also in terms of branding, image and commercial nous. Scott calls his big, strutting sound ‘Stretch Music’, an ever expanding envelope that embraces jazz, fusion, trap, EDM, West African and all points in between. Originally slated for a single show (Wednesday), the Sugar Club have added another date, due to that most unusual of commodities in jazz – demand – so don’t hang about.

Christian Scott Quintet, Sugar Club, Dublin
Christian Scott Quintet, Sugar Club, Dublin

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Gaiety Theatre. Until Apr 15 7.30pm (Sat mat 2.30pm) €21 gaietytheatre.ie
Early in Martin McDonagh’s 1996 debut, set in a scabrous version of Connemara, the aging crone Mag deplores the tale of a man who strangled a woman in Dublin - “and he didn’t even know her”. In this play, a pitched battle between mother and daughter, violence is best kept in the family. Druid’s 20th anniversary production, revived from last year, treats the cartoonish world of Mag and Maureen with unswerving reverence. Francis O’Connor’s original grey bunker set is restored, while Marie Mullen, who originated the fragile, beaten-down Maureen, now plays the corrosively manipulative Mag, as though this revival was fated: “You look just like your mother,” Maureen is told. At this distance, though, it’s easier to recognise the play’s gleeful pastiches and pop culture fixations, if not much else. But while director Garry Hynes inscribes funny jokes in the margins, her treatment is more deferential, insisting this play has a soul.


Neil Greig, Paintings/ Marilyn Gaffney, Secret Garden

Custom House Gallery, The Quay, Westport, Co Mayo Until April 16 customhousestudios.ie
Neil Greig is a plein air painter who pitches himself into the centre of the landscape and deals with the moment-to-moment shifts of light and shade, colour, pattern and texture generated by the passing of time and fluctuations in the weather. He makes not so much representations of the landscape as accounts of being in the landscape, and there is tremendous vitality and immediacy to his work. Marilyn Gaffney looks to the cultivated landscape in patient, meditative studies of enclosed spaces, spaces that, her works suggest, somehow manage to free our thoughts and feelings, enabling thoughts of “magic, escapism, wonder and home.” Their shows are well matched and distinctive.


Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble

Grand Social Dublin 8pm €18 thegrandsocial.ie
With more than 30 years success as a musician and songwriter, France’s Laetitia Sadier has surely little left to prove. Through her experiences in the likes of Stereolab and Monade – the former a swirl of Krautrock and pop, the latter a cool concoction of dream-pop and post-rock – Sadier made it clear that she would always quit while she was ahead. To this end, over the past several years she has forged a singular trajectory, collaborating with US rapper Tyler, the Creator (on his 2013 album Wolf) and soul/funk composer Adrian Younge (on his 2016 album, Something about April II). Sadier’s new creative venture continues her quest for new sounds.

En Vogue
Vicar St Dublin 7.30pm €35
This all-female US R&B/pop group has experienced its share of music industry mishaps and mistakes, but En Vogue has been going for almost 30 years – as the old bloke in the radio ad for an Irish window glazing company would say, they must be doing something right. With two of the original members still in situ - Terry Ellis and Cindy Heron; third member Rhona Bennett has been in the mix from 2003 - you certainly can’t apply the words ‘tribute act’ here. Indeed, with a highly anticipated new album on the way (Electric Café, their first since 2004’s Soul Flower, is co-produced by Raphael Sadiq), you might guess that the only tributes going on here are for lasting such a long time in a fickle pop music world. This show is the launch of their European tour, by the way, so make the ladies feel right at home, folks. 

Five Lamps Arts Festival Finale Concert

Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin, 8pm, €15/10, fivelampsarts.ie
The name of Riley Stone-Lonergan may not be that well known in his native Ireland, but the young Galway saxophonist is starting to make waves on the UK jazz scene. A recent graduate of Leeds College of Music, Stone-Lonergan has toured with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, performed at the Royal Albert Hall and recorded a debut album, The Change. He arrives home this week to headline the closing concert of the Five Lamps Arts Festival with a group that includes Kim Macari (trumpet), Conor Cantrell (guitar), Barry Donohue (bass) and Dominic Mullan (drums). The musical offering of the excellent, inclusive Five Lamps festival - most of it free or very reasonably priced - also includes Women Who Rock (Thursday 30th), Lisa Lambe with Fiachna O’Braonain and Martin Brunsden (Friday 31st), Music on the Royal Canal and a percussion workshop for children (Saturday 1st), and soprano Niamh Parkinson (Sunday 2nd).

Colette Cassidy and Nigel Clark

Odessa Club, Dame Court, Dublin, 8.30pm, €12, cassidyandclark.com
Dublin vocalist Colette Cassidy already had a solid career singing other people’s songs when she met Glasgow guitarist Nigel Clark (with Cassidy, below) 10 years ago and a new songwriting partnership was born. Clark, one of the UK’s most respected acoustic guitarists, cut his teeth in the 1980s with Scottish hipsters Hue and Cry and went on to accompany Carol Kidd, Gloria Gaynor and Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis. He encouraged Cassidy to write some lyrics, added his own honeyed chords, and the result is the extraordinary collection of songs on their debut album, Confetti Falling in the Rain. Ignore the somewhat maudlin title - this is a deeply personal, vivid and engaging collection of songs about love and loss that are all the more impressive considering they come from a first time lyricist.

Colette Cassidy and Nigel Clark, Odessa Club, Dublin,
Colette Cassidy and Nigel Clark, Odessa Club, Dublin,


Jay Murphy, Brian Bourke. Hamilton Gallery, 4 Castle St, Sligo April 6-29 hamiltongallery.ie
Partners Jay Murphy and Brian Bourke both draw and paint landscapes and people though not, usually, the same landscapes or the same people. For once there is a partial overlap in their paired solo shows at the Hamilton Gallery. They shared a residency at the Cowhouse Studios in Wexford during May last year, and they explored the local landscape. He concentrates on beautifully rhythmic studies of trees, she on more expansive views of the agrarian setting. Beyond that, they set off on separate paths. In a fine series of mixed media works she explores the bridges along the lushly vegetated Erne-Shannon canal, plus seasonal bonfires and beach scenes from Agadir, Morocco. He meanwhile makes studies of orchards, close to his Connemara studio and in the countryside near Stuttgart in Germany.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.