The best of what’s on this weekend

Kilkenny Arts Festival opens its doors with Villagers, FM Belfast, and much more

 

Pick of the Week: Footsbarn at the Kilkenny Arts Festival

If the counter-cultural dreams of theatre students in the late 1960s and early 1970s were allowed to flourish in a bucolic environment, you would end up with something like Footsbarn, the travelling theatre company that turned 45 this year. Born in a Cornwall farm and now based in another in Boubonnaise, at the centre of France, Footsbarn prefers to see itself as truly nomadic. Performing its wide range of work in its famous tent, currently pitched on the grounds of the Kilkenny County Hall for this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival, Footsbarn makes itself at home anywhere. That’s always been reflected in its performance style too, expressed by an international cabal of performers, who are accustomed to engaging large and diverse audiences through huge spectacle, physical performance, music, comedy, masks, mime and puppetry. If everybody has always welcomed Footsbarn, it’s because they make the kind of theatre that has always welcomed everybody. Here they bring us two shows. The first builds on their classic repertoire with the Incomplete Works of Shakespeare, created this year to celebrate the 452nd anniversary of the playwright’s birth (or the 400th anniversary of his death, if you prefer), in which The Bard is absorbed into images of his plays like an Elizabethan fever dream. Picture a three-headed Shakespeare, an audition of male Juliets, a duel between different villains, a giant apparition of the Dark Lady from the Sonnets. The second, Cuckoo’s Nest, the company’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over . . . is as hallucinatory as you would expect, where puppetry and masks create the disorder and resistence of the psychiatric patients as they rebel against tyrannical rule. It sounds, in both cases, like fitting material for a company born to break free. Peter Crawley

Friday

Feakle Festival
Various venues, Feakle, Co Clare Fri-Mon
feaklefestival.ie
Small but perfectly formed, the Feakle Festival is a magnet for lovers of traditional music seeking out a more intimate setting in which to savour tunes, songs and the odd high step of a céilí dance. This year’s programme is bursting with the likes of Liam Ó Maonlaí’s Ré, The Tulla Céilí Band, Out the Gap, Seán Garvey and many more.

Dublab
DeBarras, Clonakilty 10pm Adm free
debarra.ie
Those with long-term tuned-in memories will recall producer/ video artist David Bickley from pioneering dance/ambient fusionists Hyper [Borea], drummer Rob McKahey from post-punk oddities Stump, and James O’Leary from much- loved Interference. Here the trio team up for an exclusive evening of trance-like beats, riffs, dubstep grooves and mesmeric visuals (manipulated live, from Bickley’s cache of video art). Clonakilty? No wonder it’s Julian Cope’s favourite Irish town. 

Flipside x Tengu
Bar Tengu, Dublin 7pm €10/€8
A rare visit to town from Kosta Athanassiadis, the German DJ and producer with the Greek family background known as XDB. After a spell behind the counter in various record shops, Athanassiadis took the plunge with his Metrolux label a decade ago and hasn’t looked back. Such early releases as Descap, picked up by François Kervorkian’s Wave Music, established his credentials as the go-to producer for tough, imaginative productions. Support from Slowburn and Lime Street Music’s Dave Hargadon. 

Sonic Boxes
Dursey Island Cable Car, Co Cork €4/8
bearaartsfestival.com
There’s a neat little game among festivals where most will try to claim a world first, no matter how ridiculous. The Beara Arts Festival has a punt this week, with a work that sounds intriguing. The Dursey Island cable car has a sonic installation featuring the electronic music of Cormac Mac an Fhalla,and three poems by his mum, Annette Skade. The piece is one of a series of “sonic boxes” installed at various locations around the Beara peninsula for the duration of the festival. A gem of an idea.

Saturday
 

FM Belfast
Set Theatre, Kilkenny 11pm €22/€20
kilkennyarts.ie

A rare appearance in Ireland for these Reykjavik-based electro-poppers. They’re pitched as Iceland’s answer to Hot Chip, but we reckon they’re much cooler. Expect synth-pop of the highest order, tinged with humour, vibrancy and compulsive dance moves. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. As part of Kilkenny Arts Festival. 

Amala
Ranelagh Arts Centre, Dublin 7pm Adm free
ranelagharts.org

When guitarist Paul de Grae encountered Belgian harper Reidun Schlesinger a few years ago, little did the pair realise how their eclectic tastes would collide so fruitfully. Their debut album, Amala, is a feast of riches , embracing Renaissance and European folk music along with stalwart tunes from the Irish harping tradition. Their inclusion of a Dave Brubeck tune simply adds to the adventure. 

Pride After Party
Villa, Belfast 9pm Adm free
A plethora of events are planned all weekend as Belfast’s Pride Festival comes to a close after a week of merriment. Certainly that’s the case today after the day’s Pride parade from Custom House Square comes to a close and folks look to carry the party on. In the case of Villa, they are joining forces with sister bar 39 Gordon Street for a Pride block party, followed by Roscoe and Steve Turnball in the club after sundown. 

Sense
Button Factory, Dublin 11pm €10
sense-live-music.com

London producer Third Son had a pretty awesome 2015 by any stretch of the imagination. In terms of studio output, labels such as Noir Music, Einmusika and Sincopat snapped up the newcomer’s tracks, while he spent most of his time away from the desk on tour. Support from Dorian James and Dan Stritch. 

Ether
Kemp Gallery, 25 Sth Frederick Street, Dublin 2
kempgallery.com

Street artist JMK has one of the more distinctive street art styles in Ireland. He started out as an oil painter while studying art in Belfast before changing up to spray paint. The works in this solo show are a combination of the two. Curator Steve Kemp describes JMK as “pound for pound the best artist around”. Pop along and judge for yourself. 

Sunday
 

Sonntags
Whelan’s Upstairs, Dublin 11pm Adm free
facebook.com/SonntagsDublin

Who says the weekend has to end on Sunday evening? Join the good folks at Sonntags to keep things going for a few more hours with quality house, electronica and disco on the menu. Selectors Richie Breevil, Antonio O’Duibhir and James Kirwan are your men with the plan, which usually involves playing grooves from Nicolas Jaar to Floating Points for a room that features an open fire for all you connoisseurs of off-kilter dancefloor furniture and fittings. 

Villagers
Set Theatre, Kilkenny 9.30pm €22/24
kilkennyartsfestival.ie

Conor O’Brien and co continue their tour of almost every arts festival on the summer circuit with a date in Kilkenny. On Sunday you can also take a chance on two secret garden shows, at 3pm and 4pm, in the Castle Rose and Heritage Council gardens respectively, when a surprise artist will appear for a pop-up 15-minute show. Will Conor O’Brien be singing to you sweetly among the roses of the Marble city? Wouldn’t that be something. 

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