TONY CLAYTON-LEA &LOUISEBRUTON
Button Factory Dublin 7.30pm ¤15 buttonfactory.ie Anyone interested in contemporary spoken-word will know that Stephen James Smith is one of the leading lights of Ireland’s contribution to the form. Like Colm Keegan and John Cummins, Smith enhanced its perception by delivering work that has both rationality and strength. This headline show is the final date of Smith’s nationwide tour in support of his superb debut collection of poetry, Fear Not, copies of which will be on sale at the venue. TCL
TheGrandSocial,Dublin¤12.50 thegrandsocial.ie With her latest single Again drawing comparisons to Dua Lipa, it’s unfair to contain Galway singer Laoise to just a comparison. As one of Ireland’s up-and-coming ladies of pop, she’s a rare breed. A pop lover and a pop purveyor, her tunes are infectious, super-slick and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be all over the radio. This is her secondlast gig of the year, with the last scheduled in Galway’s Róisín Dubh on December 14th. LB
SUNDAY 25 BOY GEORGE & CULTURE CLUB
3ArenaDublin6.30pm¤49.50 ticketmaster.ie It is quite the 1980s nostalgia-fest at 3Arena tonight, with hits-filled shows from two of the era’s best-known acts. From Culture Club (the name now emphatically preceded by lead singer George O’Dowd) we have eight Top 10 UK hits from 1982-1986. From special guest act Tom Bailey (performing under the title of Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey), we have eight Top 20 UK hits from 1982-1985. Enough to appease the avid fans, for sure, but casual attendees beware. TCL
AcademyDublin7pm¤17.50 ticketmaster.ie Taking their name from the Russian for ‘girl’, Denver, Colorado’s DeVotchKa first performed as the touring band with model and burlesque entertainer Dita Von Teese, but it was via the 2006 indie film Little Miss Sunshine (for which the band composed the film score), that a greater part of the world became aware of them. From then to now, the band’s music has evolved, impacted surely by frontman Nick Urata’s film composition work for the likes of Crazy Stupid Love and
Paddington. The band will be promoting their most recent album,
The Night Falls Forever. TCL
MONDAY 26 GAVIN BRYARS
National Concert Hall Dublin 8pm ¤30/¤20nch.ie Pioneers, adventurers and followers of non-fashion such as Gavin Bryars are increasingly rare these days. The Yorkshireman is widely regarded as one of the most important post-minimalist composers, and although he may be best known for two works (The Sinking of the Titanic, and Jesus’ Blood Never Failed me Yet – both composed in the early 1970s), he has continued to evade categorisation. This rare show will be preceded by a public interview with Bryars with this writer. Full details on the National Concert Hall website. TCL
3ArenaDublin6.30pm¤40.40 ticketmaster.ie Londoner Jess Glynne knows the ropes inside and outside the ring. Her mother once worked in the music industry as an A&R spotter, while Glynne worked for a music management company, where she built up her contacts list before embarking on a music-related course. It was during her time here (throughout 2010) that Glynne met future songwriting collaborators, and subsequently signed a publishing and record deal. Since then, she has released two albums (2015’s debut, I Cry When I Laugh, and this year’s Always in Between), each of which displays her strengths as a pop/R&B artist. TCL
TheGrandSocial,Dublin¤20 thegrandsocial.ie Northern Irish singer-songwriter SOAK scooped up the Choice Music Prize for her 2015 album Before We Forgot How To Dream, released when she was just 19, and she’s now kicking off the next part of her career. An incredibly sensitive and insightful songwriter – as heard on
her new single Everybody Loves You, a song about the lengths we go to protect ourselves – it’s great to have SOAK back. LB
National Concert Hall Dublin 8pm ¤37.50/¤25nch.ie;alsoThursday same venue. Both shows sold out Subtitled ‘Acoustic-ish with Dowry Strings’, this is yet another example of how BellX1 successfully manage to come up with different ways to present their music without alerting the listener to over-familiarity. Across these two sold-out shows, the band will flick through their back catalogue with the added bonus of a string quartet guided by composer and arranger Éna Brennan (aka Dowry). Don’t expect anything less than a bucketful of beautiful, is our prediction. TCL
Monroe’s, Galway ¤25 monroes.ie
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Wheatus disappeared after the massive success of their 2000 single
Teenage Dirtbag and their 2001 cover of Erasure’s A Little Respect, but the New York band kept on chugging along, releasing albums such as the not-so-cryptically titled
Suck Fony in 2005 and Pop, Songs & Death in 2012, and putting out their new single Lullaby last June. I guess a Teenage Dirtbag’s dream is even harder to beat. LB
The Academy, Dublin ¤20 ticketmaster.ie
2018 has been one hell of a year for R&B singer Mabel. The daughter of Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey, she’s been hopping up and down the charts, collaborating with Not3s, Raye, Jax Jones and Stefflon Don. This gig is a step-up from her last headlining visit to Dublin, where she played the smaller stage in The Academy’s Green Room. With an extended version of her Ivy to Roses mixtape freshly released, hopefully an album isn’t far away. LB
TheLimelightBelfast8pm£17.50 limelightbelfast.com; also Thursday, Olympia Theatre, Dublin 8pm ¤22.90 ticketmaster.ie The past two years have seen Manchester’s Blossoms rise out of relative obscurity to being on the BBC Sound of 2016 list and then receiving a nomination for their self-titled debut album on the 2017 Mercury Music Prize list. Similar praise has been heaped onto their second album, this year’s Cool like
You, which takes the band’s indie pop/psych music up a notch or two. Special guest act is Derry band Touts, who we recommend specifically for fans of no-holds-barred punk rock circa 1977. TCL
Twenty years after the release of Lauryn Hill’s debut (and, to date, only studio) album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the American singer makes her solo debut in Ireland, bringing that justly acclaimed neo-soul album with her (and, according to advance reports, some covers, and a song or two by Fugees, her former group). The tour has not been without controversy, however, with late starting times causing audience upsets at numerous venues. Whatever about timing issues, this will surely be the first opportunity for Irish fans to hear The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
played in its entirety (although whether in strict order and in arrangements you will recognisable is open to debate – another sore point with numerous audiences). TCL
RDS Main Hall, Dublin ¤54.50 ticketmaster.ie
Christine and the Queens’s latest tour is reported to be a full-blown art pop show, involving intense choreography that places her on the same pedestal as Janet Jackson. French singer Héloïse Letissier came back with a new look, a new sound and a shortened name on her last album
Chris, which toys with stereotypes and expectations of gender and sexuality, and her live show is a deeply thought-out extension of that exploration. LB
Seventeen years a-growing, and Other Voices remains a highlight in the year’s pop-culture calendar. As usual, there’s so much going on that you won’t be able to do/see everything, but no doubt you’ll try to pack in as much as possible. What’s on offer includes the St James’ Church shows (tonight and tomorrow, Saturday December 1, including Courtney Marie Andrews, Mahalia, Nahkane, Whenyoung), the Hennessy Music Trail (including many of the acts you’ll hear much more of in 2019), the IMRO Other Room (including Kitt Philippa Mango & Mathman, and Kojaque), Music Trail West, and the Ireland’s Edge conference. And don’t forget Banter, After Dark and Waxing Lyrical. Busy business as usual, then? TCL
HOLY TRINITY AND DRAGGED UP PRESENTS:ABCDTOUR
The Olympia Theatre, Dublin ¤50.65 ticketmaster.ie
Adore Delano, Bianca Del Rio, Courtney Act and Darienne Lake are the top four queens from season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race and they also make up the A, B, C and D of the ABCD Tour. The all-singing, all-dancing and all lip-syncing dames will pull out all the stops to entertain you, through serving tea, shade tears, laughter and song. VIP meet & greet tickets from ¤97. LB
SATURDAY24 DÓNAL LUNNY AND PADDY GLACKIN
First Fruits Arts Centre, Watergrasshill, CoCork7.30pm¤20 firstfruitsartcentre.ie Longtime compadres from their days with The Bothy Band, bouzouki player, guitarist and renaissance man of Irish traditional music Dónal Lunny joins Dublin fiddle player Paddy Glackin saddle up for an evening of tunes in this intimate community venue.
WITHIN A MILE OF DUBLIN
Irish Traditional Music Archive, Merrion Square,Dublin1pmAdmfree eventbrite.ie Third and final broadcast by NEAR FM as part of Explore Your Archive 2018 initiative. This earlyafternoon programme focuses on the PW Joyce Collection, bringing together conversation, song and music to show how the work of a 19th-century collector continues to shape the practices of musicians in the 21st century. Featuring fiddle players, Liam O’Connor and Máire O’Keeffe and Nicholas Carolan, former director of the ITMA.
ARTY MCGLYNN AND NOLLAIG CASEY
LeapCastle,CoOffaly9pm¤20 087-2238040 Arty prepares for the imminent launch of his much-anticipated solo album Botera, with this final night in his short tour, in the company of his wife and fiddle player Nollaig Casey. Visiting jazz tunes he’s loved all his life, tonight should reveal yet another side to this remarkable Renaissance man whose guitar accompaniment is much sought after by traditional and folk musicians alike. A veteran of the showband scene, McGlynn was a stalwart of Van Morrison’s band for some time: renowned for his low key, self-effacing style. Support from Jack Keeshan.
THURSDAY 29 DAOIRÍ FARRELL
StJohn’sTheatre,Listowel,CoKerry 8pm ¤15 stjohnstheatrelistowel.com Ferocious power and energy are what characterise this exceptional singer and bouzouki player. He knocked the socks off the audience at the recent inaugural RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards with his powerful and charismatic performance. A Dubliner through and through, this is a fine opportunity for north Kerry locals to make his acquaintance in an intimate venue.
FRIDAY30 ANDY IRVINE
PurtyKitchen,DunLaoghaire9.30pm ¤20purtykitchen.com Fresh from his recent Lifetime Achievement Award at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards, Andy continues to forge the troubadour’s path with an authenticity and verve that is unparalleled in the world of folk music. His song book is seemingly limitless, his melody lines distinctly
his own, and his remarkable sense of rhythm underscores his intriguing choice of Eastern European and Irish tunes alike.
SUNDAY 25 PETER MOC GROUP FEAT GRACE KELLY
Ar thurs, Dublin ,5 pm ¤15/¤10 arthurspub.ie Czech-born guitarist Peter Mochas been staging his tribute to Emily Remler annually since 2015, initially with fusion legend Larry Coryell in attendance. Since Coryell’s passing in 2017, Mochas been adding a special guest to his regular band, and this year it’s Boston alto saxophonist Grace Kelly. An energetic, extrovert performer with a sound and a taste for drama reminiscent of Kenny Garrett, the 26-year-old won the “rising star alto saxophone” award in Downbeat last year and has played with Wynton Marsalis and Lee Konitz. Moc’s group also features Klara Janu on violin, Andrew Csibi on bass and Kevin Brady on drums.
HEN NESSY KOHL MAN LYNCH
Work man’ s Club, Dublin 8 pm ¤10 facebook.com/dublinjazzcoop The organ-guitar-drums trio is one of the most enduring combinations in jazz – from the pioneering groups of Jimmy Smith and Grant Green to the powerful trios of Larry Young and John McLaughlin – but it takes a special kind of organist to cover the dual role of bassist and keyboardist. Rising Dublin keyboardist Darragh Hennessy is one of the few, and he is joined here by Miles Graham band guitarist Scott Kohlmann and Zaska drummer Dylan Lynch in the latest instalment of the excellent Dublin Jazz Co-Op series.
ID RI SACK A MO OR& THE PYRAMIDS
Sugar Club, Dublin 8pm ¤17.50 thesugarclub.com US west-coast saxophonist Idris Ackamoor studied with legendary free pianist Cecil Taylor in the 1970s and was part of a generation of jazz musicians that drew inspiration from both ends of the jazz spectrum, combining the feral anarchy of Taylor and Sun Ra with the taut grooves of Sly Stone and Fela Kuti. Five decades later, Ackamoor is still going strong and has just released a new recording, An Angel Fell , on Strut Records. Hips will shake, heads will nod, beards will be appreciatively stroked.
THURSDAY 28 GUILFOY LE NIELSEN TRIO
Billy By rn e’ s,Kil kenny ,9 pm Adm free facebook.com/sofasessionskilkenny The trio of guitarist Mike Nielsen, bassist Ronan Guilfoyle and drummer Conor Guilfoyle blazed a trail for a whole new approach to the jazz repertoire back in the 1990s, recording an album of “f*cked-up” standards in a variety of complex time signatures that has sold unexpectedly and steadily ever since. The three members have all moved on to bigger things, particularly in the field of education, but here’s a rare chance to hear one of the most influential Irish jazz groups of the past three decades recapture the intrepid spirit that has won them admirers amongst other jazz musicians right around the world.
FRIDAY 29 GEM MAS U GR U E& JULIE N COLAROSSI QUARTET
Coughlans, Cork, 9pm ¤15 coughlans.ie Gemma Sugrue didn’t mess about when it came to selecting musicians for her debut album. The Cork vocalist started sitting in with guitarist Julien Colarossi’s group at Dublin’s International Bar in Dublin last year and from those seeds has sprung a studio album, In My Nature, with Colarossi’s Metheny-esque playing accompanied by an a-team rhythm section of pianist Johnny Taylor, bassist Barry Donohue and drummer Dominic Mullen.
Ó LO C LA INN DR EN NAN CAR PI O
Ar thurs, Dublin ,9.30 pm ¤10 arthurspub.ie Opportunities to hear Myles Drennan play the piano are not as plentiful as they should be, so the chance to hear the extravagantly talented pianist playing standards in the company of bassist Neil Ó Loclainn and drummer Sean Carpio – Louis Stewart’s last rhythm section – really should not be missed.
CLASSICAL MICHAEL DERVAN
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin 7.30pm ¤15, ¤36, ¤51, ¤66, ¤86 bordgaisenergytheatre.ie;alsoTues, Thurs,Sat,Dec1st
Irish National Opera is going for the big time, at least as far as scale is concerned. The company, which presented its first production–of Thomas Adès’s chamber opera
Powder Her Face – last February, is offering Verdi’s Aida at Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre as its last offering of 2018. Aida, with a chorus of 60, offstage bands, and an expanded RTÉ Concert Orchestra in the pit, will draw together a force of 140 performers.
Dublin soprano Orla Boylan sings the title role, with Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones as her lover Radamès and mezzo soprano Imelda Drumm as her rival, Amneris. Michael Barker Caven directs, the designs are by Joe Vanek, and INO’s artistic director, Fergus Sheil, conducts. The company has just announced its offerings for the first six months of 2019, which run to a tour of Gluck’s
Orfeo ed Euridice with Sharon Carty as Orfeo, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with Celine Byrne in the title role, Mozart’s The Magic Flute
with some double casting that includes Anna Devin and Jennifer Davis as Pamina, Nick Pritchard and Tyler Nelson as Tamino, and Kim Sheehan and Audrey Luna as the Queen of the Night. Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh’s The Second Violinist goes to Amsterdam and there’s also This Hostel Life, Evangelia Rigaki and Melatu Uche Okorie’s new installation opera exploring the plight of migrant women in Irish direct provision centres.
MONDAY 26 GAVINBRYARSAT75
NCH,Dublin8pm¤20-¤30nch.ie He just can’t escape them. Gavin Bryars’s biggest hits, the atmospheric The Sinking of the Titanic and the haunting Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, go with him wherever he goes. They’re with him for his 75th birthday concert at the National Concert Hall, along with a clutch of later works, Winestead, The North Shore and The Flower of Friendship. Unlike Beethoven – who came to hate his Septet, Op. 20, because of the way its popularity kept later and better works in the shadows – Bryars seems comfortable that two of his
early works have, in the popular imagination, eclipsed everything else he has written since. Of course, he does get to play in them (he’s a double bassist as well as a composer), so he earns on the double every time he’s involved in them with his Gavin Bryars Ensemble, as in his birthday appearance in Dublin.
RoyalCollegeofPhysicians,Kildare Street,Dublin8pm¤30/¤25 musicnetwork.ie;alsoFri,Wexford; Sat, Sligo Tre Voci is the name Music Network has given to the three-concert tour by the juicy trio of Claire Booth (soprano), Natalie Clein (cello) and Julius Drake (piano), all best-known in Ireland as visitors to the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, although Clein’s most recent Irish appearance was at the Westport Chamber Music Festival. Their Music Network programme uses works by Kodály, Bach, Cage, Tavener, Brahms, Deborah Pritchard, Janacek and Schubert to explore “themes of nature, separated lovers, grief and spirituality”.
VISUAL ART AIDAN DUNNE
TO SOMETHING THAT WENT BEFORE(C.S.DEK)
Brian Fay. Oonagh Young Gallery, 1 James Joyce St, Dublin Until December 22nd oonaghyoung.com Taking his title from Mary Shelley’s introduction to her 1831 edition of Frankenstein, in his new series of drawings Brain Fay considers how interventions, from conservation to erasure to adaptation, have remade or changed works by Cimabue, Shelley and Willem de Kooning.
THE WEIGHT OF LIGHT
Pat Harris. Taylor Galleries, 16 Kildare St, Dublin Until December 8 th taylorgalleries.ie Pat Harris’s new paintings, made in his studio on the north-Mayo coast, at Carrowteige and Kilgalligan, look to the coastline landscape of rock, sea and light, together with studies of small flowers in the studio. In an accompanying publication, he views them as dealing with space, time and light.
EARTH, WIND& FIRE: MADE IN CORKCONTEMPORARY
Six artists. Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork Until February 17 crawfordartgallery.ie Curator Anne Boddaert brings together work by six Cork-based artists whose diverse work – “from ancient processes to new (machine) technologies” – shares a commitment to excellence in craftsmanship. They are Nuala O’Donovan, Eoin Turner, Alex Pentek, Mary Palmer & Anne Kiely, and Joseph Walsh. It’s a formidable line-up of exceptional talents.
TOOLS FOR WELL BEING :‘ SC APES; ROSE QUARTZ’
Barbara Kneze vic. An online sculptural show at Berlin Opticians Gallery, Dublin.
Michelle Obama’s Becoming narrates the remarkable rise of its author from shoebox apartment on Chicago’s south side through Ivy League undergrad and grad school to white-shoe law firm and her subsequent collision with “an Afro-Kansan-Indonesian-Hawaiian-Chicagoan” with a “weird name and quixotic smile”. Michelle is spurred by Barack’s example to expand her horizons beyond personal upward mobility: “It was one thing to get yourself out of a stuck place… another thing entirely to try to get the place itself unstuck.”. For his part, Obama is drawn to Michelle’s groundedness as a daughter of the South Side raised in a stable family, rooted in Chicago’s AfricanAmerican community.
Becoming’s prose is at times arrestingly good. But – a function perhaps of her delimited role as First Lady – it drags during the White House years. Michelle’s disdain for Trump has been widely reported; she blames him for imperilling her family. Presidents and First Ladies, past and present, have formed a sodality transcending party affiliation. Trump’s sniping broke the chain. And yet the Republic beats on. “A hand goes on a Bible; an oath gets repeated,” she writes. “One president’s furniture gets carried out while another’s comes in. Closets are emptied and refilled. Just like that, there are new heads on new pillows new temperaments, new dreams.”
There is a genre-wide expectation that a first lady’s memoir will never be anything but optimistic, and here, Obama sticks to the script, acknowledging that racism exists, but rarely taking individuals or institutions for task as being racist. Even her harshest words, for Donald Trump, are hedged, calling his birther campaign “crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed.” When describing the effects of his administration, she speaks diplomatically and in euphemisms, softening her otherwise blunt tone by writing simply that his policies have “caused many Americans to doubt themselves and to doubt and fear one another” and have “left vulnerable members of our society exposed and dehumanized.” Instead, she stresses, as Barack did in his campaign, the importance of unity, compassion, and working together, of “healing our country’s divisions” by appealing to our greater humanity. Again and again, she talks about the need for “positivity.”
But she offers little to contend with the fact that the election of Trump is a rebuke to the hope and positivity of the Obama presidency, a campaign predicated on the basis of racism. Perhaps her message is less unbridled optimism, then, and more of a recognition of the struggle to move the country forward that has always fallen to marginalised people.
NEW YORK TIMES
When Michelle Robinson first heard her fellow lawyers swooning over a new summer associate named Barack Hussein Obama, she was dubious. Other than registering his “rich, even sexy baritone” on the phone, she wasn’t all that impressed. The “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfilment, wonder” would come later. But she would always find it hard to adjust to his tardiness, his constant belief that things would simply work themselves out, and the way his ambitions often dictated the course of their lives.
But it’s the moments when Obama tries to make sense of what she’s seeing now, in the country, that are among the most moving – if only because she’s so clearly struggling to reconcile the cleareyed realism of her upbringing, brought about by necessity, with the glamorous, previously unthinkable life she has today.
Obama seems to be a measured, methodical centrist at heart. But hers isn’t a wan faith. Her pragmatism is tougher than that, even if it will come across as especially frustrating to those who believe that centrism and civility are no longer enough. As she writes in Becoming, she long ago learned to recognize the “universal challenge of squaring who you are with where you come from and where you want to go”.
Obama spends reams of text describing how devoted she is to her children – and how knowledgeable she is about policy, whether that is public health or childhood education. But she is still strikingly diffident about her accomplishments, describing herself in the epilogue as an “ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey.”
Toward the end of the book, this seeming doublespeak becomes frustrating, but in a way relatable. Obama is a resistant symbol, having never sought out public life herself, but she was also cannily managing her public appearance years before she became First Lady, in that unconscious, everyday way that minority women are especially called to do. Sometimes Obama wants to have her South Side groundedness and her G20 poise at the same time, and it doesn’t quite work that way. We, the readers, have seen her work her magic; we have assessed her power already, or we would not be reading this book.
But perhaps this is the crux of Michelle Obama’s appeal – this pose of normalcy, amidst a life that is not at all normal. Barack is the dreamer, the idealist, the leader. Michelle-entranced, overwhelmed, concerned for her family’s safety, and finding comfort in a McDonald’s burger and a Target run is more like the rest of us.
Jess Glynne 3Arena Dublin, Tuesday.
Lauryn Hill, 3Arena Dublin, Friday