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Satur­day 7

Curry & Hip-hop with Tara Ste­wart and Mango

The Bernard Shaw, Dublin

Sink­ing into its new home in Phib­s­bor­ough, the Bernard Shaw events guide has had a makeover too. This is Ire­land’s first hip-hop and curry night. Brought to you by Mango of Mango X Math­man, who should be called Mango chut­ney for the night, and 2FM’s Tara Ste­wart. So munch on a ko­rma from the Shaw’s new and im­proved food menu and bop­ping away to the finest hip-hop tracks from 10pm un­til clos­ing time. LB


Court­house Arts Cen­tre, Ti­na­hely, Co Wick­low

Has it been a quiet year for Ham­sand­wicH? We’ll hazard a guess that it has been, but with new ma­te­rial on the way we can cer­tify that their live per­for­mances haven’t shifted one iota off from be­ing as cel­e­bra­tory as they have al­ways been. The new ma­te­rial will set­tle in nicely with se­lected tracks from their three stu­dio al­bums (2008’s Carry the Meek, 2010’s White Fox, 2015’s Sto­ries from the Sur­face), while you can be as­sured you’ll hear a well-cho­sen cover ver­sion or two to bring these festive shows even more to life. TCL

Mon­day 9

Pri­mal Scream

Olympia Theatre, Dublin; also Tues­day 10th, Ul­ster Hall, Belfast (sold out) Pri­mal Scream’s front­man Bobby Gille­spie (58 next year) has been throw­ing shapes as a singer since 1978, at that time in a Glaswe­gian punk band called The Drains. Af­ter a spell as the drum­mer with Je­sus & Mary Chain, Gille­spie threw him­self full-time into Pri­mal Scream, and by the late 1980s had em­braced the acid house scene. Within a few years, the band’s third al­bum, Screa­madel­ica, brought them into the main­stream, where they have, more or less, con­tin­ued to hang around. As a cre­ative force, Pri­mal Scream have al­ways been a flawed if oc­ca­sion­ally glorious propo­si­tion. As a live act, they re­main rooted in the lat­ter, as­sisted by a very de­cent “Best Of” back cat­a­logue and a front­man who is still as thin and brisk and en­er­getic as a whip­pet. TCL

Tues­day 10


Cyprus Av­enue, Cork; also Wed­nes­day 11th, same venue; Fri­day 13th/ Satur­day 14th, Vicar Street, Dublin End­ing 2019 with a se­quence of shows is a fit­ting cherry-on-the-top for Conor O’Brien, the man be­hind (and in front of) this most nat­u­rally evolv­ing of Ir­ish groups. Since their for­ma­tion in 2008, Villagers have re­leased four stu­dio al­bums, each of which have show­cased O’Brien’s mount­ing gifts as a song­writer. The lat­est al­bum, 2018’s The Art of Pre­tend­ing to Swim, is a smart de­par­ture from pre­vi­ous ma­te­rial with­out any loss of touch. Sim­i­larly, the re­cently re­leased Sun­day Walker EP, fea­tur­ing songs dis­cov

ered, jokes O’Brien, down the back of an arm­chair. Fur­ther new ma­te­rial will surely be is­sued in 2020, but in the mean­time, there are these pre-Christ­mas shows. Spe­cial guest is Conchúr White. Both Dublin shows are sold out. TCL

TiLT #3

But­ton Fac­tory, Dublin

TiLT (To­tally Ir­ish Live Tues­days) is a re­cently in­au­gu­rated monthly show­case pre­sented in as­so­ci­a­tion with Dublin’s Sound Train­ing Col­lege and ra­dio sta­tion 98FM’s To­tally Ir­ish show. As hosted by John Barker – who next month cel­e­brates 10 years of pre­sent­ing the ex­clu­sively Ir­ish mu­sic pro­gramme – the gigs high­light a mix­ture of rel­a­tively es­tab­lished and emerg­ing acts. Tonight’s show fea­tures mu­sic from CC Brez, Stomp­town Brass, Ab­ba­caxi, and Ba­jjna – that’s most points in be­tween soul, funk, techno/house and reg­gae. Ad­mis­sion is free – just bring along the good vibes and you’ll be fine. TCL

Thurs­day 12

AHouse Is Dead – Redux

Vicar Street, Dublin

Ear­lier this year, Dublin band A House (or rather A House Is Dead, a spikier ver­sion fea­tur­ing two of the orig­i­nal mem­bers, Dave Couse and Fer­gal Bun­bury) were pre­sented with the NCH/IMRO Trail­blazer Award for their 1991 al­bum,

I Am the Great­est. Like pre­vi­ous in­au­gu­ral re­cip­i­ents Mi­crodis­ney, fur­ther shows were ex­pected and shouted for, yet – also like Mi­crodis­ney – you can ex­pect this par­tic­u­lar gig to be the fi­nal word. You can also an­tic­i­pate a fierce and frac­tious end, with a sim­i­lar rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of I Am the Great­est along with other songs that Couse and Bun­bury hold dear to their hearts. Farewell, A House, or what­ever you want to call your­selves – it has been very, very good to have known you. TCL

Hannah Wil­liams & The Af­fir­ma­tions

Grand Social, Dublin; also Fri­day 13th, Dolan’s Up­stairs, Lim­er­ick; Satur­day 14th, Lime­light 2, Belfast

Any men­tion of retro-soul these days and you au­to­mat­i­cally think of US mu­sic acts dig­ging into their coun­try’s en­vi­able mu­si­cal past. You tend not to think of the UK, yet Bris­tol-based Hannah Wil­liams & the Af­fir­ma­tions seem to have skewed per­cep­tions some­what. They have also cap­ti­vated cer­tain peo­ple – peo­ple that have given a nod to Wil­liams’s im­pres­sive vo­cal tal­ents. Step for­ward Jay-Z, who sam­pled a vo­cal line from The Af­fir­ma­tions’ song Late Nights & Heart­breaks. Such at­ten­tion has raised the pro­file of this surg­ing soul band – see and hear what all the fuss is about on their brief (three-date) tour. TCL

Cursed Mur­phy ver­sus the Re­sis­tance

The Sky & the Ground, Wex­ford Cur­rently, the cre­ative guise of County Wex­ford writer and broad­caster Peter Mur­phy (a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to these pages), Cursed Mur­phy ver­sus the Re­sis­tance pro­vides nei­ther rest nor peace for the wicked. Via two re­cently re­leased sin­gle tracks – last year’s Fox­hole Prayer and this year’s The Bells of Hell – Mur­phy de­liv­ers caus­tic spo­ken word with a back­ground of rock-solid gui­tar riffs and (as the two song ti­tles ref­er­ence) mil­i­taris­tic beats. Be ad­vised that an al­bum’s worth of ma­te­rial will be re­leased next year. (There is no ad­mis­sion fee here, but an hon­our en­try sys­tem will be gen­tly ap­plied, with ¤5 a sug­gested amount.) TCL

Fu­ture Proof: Autre Monde, Elaine Mai, Sans Chatea

Bello Bar, Dublin

Con­tin­u­ing to shine a light on cur­rent and in­ter­est­ing mu­sic at home and abroad, the 16th edi­tion of Fu­ture Proof is a real treat. Fea­tur­ing Dublin art-rock band Autre Monde, you can hear songs from their up­com­ing de­but al­bum The Imag­i­nary Mu­seum and you can dive into the lush elec­tronic stylings of the won­der­ful Gal­way leg­end Elaine Mai and the cham­ber-folk mae­stro that is Austin Moore’s Sans Chateaux.


Lethal Di­alect

Róisín Dubh, Gal­way

Ty­ing up a busy year, Dublin rap­per and ac­tor Paul Al­wright, bet­ter known as Lethal Di­alect, is play­ing one of his last shows of the year in Gal­way. Hav­ing re­leased his crit­i­cally-ac­claimed al­bum Hunger as Paul Al­wright ear­lier this year,he is now work­ing the third in­stal­ment of his LD50 al­bum se­ries. One of the lead­ing names in the Ir­ish hip-hop com­mu­nity, he con­tin­ues to find the words, the fury and the grá that goes with liv­ing in Dublin. Costello and DJ Scorpio are listed as sup­port.

LJu­nior Brother

Whe­lan’s, Dublin

Another top Ir­ish act from 2019 is Kerry man Ro­nan Kealy, whose solo act Ju­nior Brother has de­lighted mu­sic lovers, re­view­ers and fes­ti­val go­ers across the coun­try. His de­but al­bum Pull the Right Rope was re­leased on the Gal­way la­bel Strange Brew and he also ap­peared on Bath Time, the stun­ning de­but from Maija Sofia. A pre­cise mu­si­cian and an en­thralling live act, he’s given us a lot this year so now it’s your turn to give back. See him, stream him and adore him. LB

Fri­day 13


But­ton Fac­tory, Dublin

Another Ir­ish band that can safely say they’ve had a good year is north County Dublin’s Fang­club. Ear­lier this year, the trio re­leased their sec­ond al­bum, Vul­ture Cul­ture (“a record that lies on a knife-edge be­tween tense seren­ity and all-out frus­tra­tion, con­stantly trans­mit­ting over­tones of dis­con­nec­tion, angst and fury”, noted Ir­ish mu­sic blog, The Last Mixed Tape), and have since spread the nitty-gritty word far and wide via a se­ries of live shows that fair take the wind out of the sails with fe­roc­ity and fo­cus. You can bet your last bit­coin that this show will be cut from the same cloth. TCL

Sun­day 15

The Drag Na­tiv­ity

Drop Dead Twice, Dublin

Fea­tur­ing an all-star cast of drag, comedy and mu­sic, The Drag Na­tiv­ity is a retelling of the story we all played out so well in pri­mary school... but with a queer twist. Among other things, ex­pect Baby

Borns, tin­foil stars, pushy par­ents and lots of singing, all told through the magic of drag. The cast in­cludes Tony Cantwell, Liam Nu­gent, Mar­ian Mary the 6th and Coco Chanel No. 5. This is a mu­si­cal par­ody writ­ten and pro­duced by the al­ways fab­u­lous Avoca Re­ac­tion. LB

Soda Blonde

Whe­lan’s, Dublin; also Mon­day 16th at Whe­lan’s, Dublin

Go­ing for a double whammy of Christ­mas gigs, Soda Blonde are wrap­ping up their 2019 in festive fash­ion. Made up of for­mer Lit­tle Green Cars mem­bers Faye O’Rourke, Adam O’Re­gan, Don­agh Seaver O’Leary and Dy­lan Lynch, these are the fi­nal nights of their Ter­ri­ble Hands tour around Ire­land and the UK. The Dublin alt-pop group an­nounced the sec­ond date due to pop­u­lar de­mand, which is a sure sign of what lies ahead in 2020. LB

Wed­nes­day 11

Leonard Barry, De­clan Folan and Shane McGowan

The Dock, Car­rick on Shan­non

Hot on the heels of the re­lease of their very fine al­bum, Hurry the Jug, this Sligo/Kerry trio bring pipes, fid­dle and gui­tar on a pi­caresque jour­ney through a can­nily-cho­sen raft of tunes. All three have a strong track record of col­lab­o­rat­ing with di­verse mu­si­cians from Kevin Burke to Zakir Hus­sain so ex­pect to hear some bold and brave choices in the mix.

Thurs­day 12

Char­lie Pig­gott and Eu­gene Lambe Glór, En­nis

This is the fi­nal concert in Glór’s au­tumn/win­ter Words & Mu­sic se­ries, where duos have been en­cour­aged to share the sto­ries be­hind the tunes as much as the tunes them­selves. Tonight fea­tures two long­time friends and col­lab­o­ra­tors: piper, pipe-maker, whis­tle-player and mu­sic col­lec­tor Eu­gene Lambe and for­mer De Danann mem­ber, ac­cor­dion player and com­poser, Char­lie Pig­gott. Both weave mag­i­cal sto­ries around the tunes they play.

Fri­day 13

Cor­mac Be­g­ley with Liam O’Con­nor & Fi­achna Ó Mongáin Ionad Cultúrtha, Bal­lyvour­ney

The inim­itable west Kerry con­certina player Cor­mac Be­g­ley joins the ex­cep­tional Dublin fid­dle player Liam O’Con­nor and Mayo ac­cor­dion­ist Fi­achna Ó Mongáin for an in­ti­mate evening of fine tunes. With his pic­colo, tre­ble, bass and bari­tone con­certi­nas, Be­g­ley rev­els in reimag­in­ing the possibilit­ies of this mighty in­stru­ment. He and O’Con­nor have been min­ing the deeper seams of the tra­di­tion with gusto in re­cent times.

Fri­day 13

AnGóilín Singers Club

The Teach­ers Club, Dublin

Club reg­u­lars, Jerry O’Reilly, Máire Ní Chróinín, Eil­ish Kennedy, Mick Kee­ley, Fer­gus Rus­sell, Frank Nu­gent and An­taine Ó Faracháin keep the home fires burn­ing with this weekly singing ses­sion, where all singers with songs in any lan­guage are wel­come. A thriv­ing, wel­com­ing gath­er­ing of song lovers.

Hannah Wil­liams & The Af­fir­ma­tions, Grand Social, Dublin, Thurs­day; Dolan’s Up­stairs, Lim­er­ick Fri­day; Lime­light 2, Belfast Satur­day 14th

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