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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS - TONYCLAYTON-LEA

Two years ago, mu­sic pro­moter, booker and David Bowie afi­cionado John Br­ere­ton thought it would be a great idea to de­vise a celebration of all things Bowie al­beit with, as much as pos­si­ble, a Dublin slant. And so the Dublin Bowie Fes­ti­val was born, not only to cel­e­brate Bowie’s birth­day, which falls on January 8th, but also to have a blast of a time do­ing so.

On January 10th, how­ever (the day af­ter a par­tic­u­larly re­veal­ing pub­lic in­ter­view with Bowie’s long-time Ir­ish mu­si­cal di­rec­tor, Gerry Leonard), news emerged of Bowie’s death. Un­wit­tingly, the Dublin Bowie Fes­ti­val be­came a totemic fo­cus, not only on the pass­ing of one of the world’s most in­flu­en­tial and iconic pop stars but also on the na­ture of fan grief and how the mu­sic out­put of some­one peo­ple had most likely never met could mean so much. The fes­ti­val’s third out­ing ramps up the fan en­gage­ment via some in­tu­itively smart pro­gram­ming.

This isn’t a fes­ti­val of trib­ute acts du­ti­fully pay­ing homage to their leader – yes, there is that, too, ex­cept here there is more qual­ity than quan­tity – but rather one that is cu­rated with a cu­ri­ous, ques­tion­ing aes­thetic.

Specif­i­cally, two non-mu­sic events high­light this ap­proach. The first takes place on Sun­day at the DC Club (7pm) where UL’s Pro­fes­sor Eoin Dev­ereux in­ter­views Gavin Fri­day about the in­flu­ence Bowie had on him as a teenager and a mu­si­cian.

The sec­ond (Wed­nes­day, January 10th, Harry Clarke Lec­ture Hall, NCAD, 6pm, Adm free) sees Lon­don­based de­signer Jonathan Barn­brook be­ing lightly grilled about his col­lab­o­ra­tive, process-driven work with Bowie on al­bum cov­ers for Reality,

Hea­then, The Next Day, and the ac­claimed, mul­ti­lay­ered Black­star.

Of course, the fes­ti­val isn’t just talk­ing about Bowie – the man’s mu­sic is cel­e­brated in all its glory. High­lights in­clude The Bowie Ball (tonight, Satur­day January 6th, Sugar Club, 10pm), for which we are ad­vised to “dress to im­press, plas­ter on the make-up, and shine up the space boots”. Mu­sic is pro­vided by the Bowie-lov­ing Salty Dog All­stars, and there will be prizes for the Best Dressed Glam’n’Gilt­ter Freak.

Sore heads on Sun­day can be taken to the Woollen Mills for the child-friendly Bowie Brunch (3pm), where you can load up and chow down with a back­ground of softer Bowie tunes pro­vided by To­day FM pre­sen­ter Ed Smith.

On Monday (January 8th), two events mark Bowie’s birth­day. Mess­ing with the Paint­work – Bowie, Yeats & Beck­ett (Stu­dio 10, 1pm Adm free, lim­ited seat­ing) is an ex­plo­ration by Prof Eoin Dev­ereux of Bowie’s ad­mi­ra­tion for the work of Jack B Yeats. Later that evening (The Grand So­cial, 8pm) one of the more spe­cialised trib­ute bands, The Lon­don Boys, fo­cus solely on Bowie’s pre-fame mu­sic, from his 1960s Mod/R&B/ nov­elty out­put to his 1969 David Bowie (aka Space Od­dity) al­bum.

The fes­ti­val concludes next Wed­nes­day, January 10th, with Bowie Raw (The Grand So­cial, 8pm), which is an in­ti­mate acoustic show fea­tur­ing spe­cial guests. It’s a fit­ting, some­what more per­sonal end to a fes­ti­val with its heart and in­tel­lect in the right places.For more see dublin­bowiefes­ti­val.ie

David Bowie poses for a portrait in 1976. PHO­TO­GRAPH: MICHAEL OCHS AR­CHIVES/GETTY IM­AGES

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