7 days + nights: 14th - 20th January
FRIDAY, JANUARY 14
The Richter Collective Christmas Party, Button Factory, Dublin 2
Yes, this wins the prize for the earliest Christmas invitation you will receive in 2011. Actually, it's probably more likely to be the latest, as Richter Collective had planned this musical shindig for December to round off a most successful year, but they hadn't counted on an avalanche to prevent the bands from making it to the venue.
This homegrown label will be showcasing seven of its signings, including Enemies, Herv, BATS and headlining Belfast mentallers Not Squares, who will also be using the night to launch their debut album on the label, Yeah Ok.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 15
Gemma Hayes, Crawdaddy, Dublin 2
Gemma Hayes seems to have suffered the Mercury curse without having even scooped the prize in the first place. Incredibly, it's eight years since her debut, Night On My Side, was shortlisted for the prestigious UK gong. Since then, things have turned into a bit of a slog for her. Delayed by a 12-month tussle with writer's block, her moochy second LP The Roads Don't Love You sapped Hayes' momentum and saw her turn her back on a major label career. And while she restored her standing among critics with 2008's soulful The Hollow of Morning, it was somewhat of a flop commercially. Resident in LA since 2006, she will shortly begin work on her fourth record, so expect this 'intimate' show to contain at least a smattering of new material.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 16
In Sunshine or in Shadow, IFI, Dublin 2
In the red corner we had live-wire Barry 'The Clones Cyclone' McGuigan ready to explode. In the blue corner, adjusting his mouth piece, was world featherweight champion Eusebio Pedroza. This punch-off was originally scheduled to take place in Belfast, but a clearly overwhelmed Pedroza refused to travel there. However, his plans to fight in front of a more balanced audience were foiled when 12,000 Irishmen journeyed to London. This battle royale that gripped the land is the subject of Andrew Gallimore's documentary, screened this afternoon as the first IFI Ireland on Sunday instalment. And while McGuigan understandably takes centre stage, Gallimore includes many fascinating peripheral characters such as the street artist who painted that McGuigan 'sold his soul for British gold' on the gable walls of republican areas in Belfast.
MONDAY, JANUARY 17
Alexandra Burke, Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin 2
There are some (well, most of us, to be honest) who might suggest that Alexandra Burke's triumph in The X Factor last year has been ever so slightly overshadowed by the ongoing success of her runner-ups JLS. Last weekend saw that boyband with two sold-out nights in the O2 and reports of gaggles of weeping and fainting girlies, while victorious Burke can only muster enough support for one night at the Grand Canal Theatre, tickets still available at time of going to print. Mind you, Grand Canal is a rather heavenly venue for a strong vocalist and Burke certainly is that. She also has a double-platinum debut album, which ain't bad going, though perhaps someone should have advised against becoming the face (and underarms) of Sure deodorant for her first major marketing campaign.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 18
The Green Hornet, On General Release
Co-written and co-starring Seth Rogen, Michel Gondry's The Green Hornet is more of a farce than a superhero film, and although it contains some impressive action sequences the emphasis is firmly on the comic. Rogen is Britt Reid, the wastrel son of a millionaire newspaper owner who inherits the empire after his father's death. But Britt is more interested in crime-fighting than journalism, and concocts a masked avenger called the Green Hornet with the help of a family servant called Kato. Christoph Waltz is a mad Russian gangster, Cameron Diaz provides the glamour, and there are nice cameos from the likes of James Franco. The Green Hornet gets a bit messy at times, but it is funny, and should be approached with that expectation.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19
The Phantom Band, Whelan's, Dublin 2
Ever wondered how a band decide upon a name? Well, in the case of this Glasgow-based band it proved to be a less than exact science of throwing every name out and seeing which one stuck. Prior to landing upon The Phantom Band, this sextet dallied with NRA, Les Crazy Boyz, Tower of Girls, Wooden Trees and, showing a bizarre predilection for the name Robert, both Robert Redford and Robert Louis Stevenson. They released their debut album, Checkmate Savage, as The Phantom Band in 2009 and haven't experienced an identity crisis since. They're in Ireland to celebrate the release of its follow-up, The Wants, and are taking a mini-tour, having played last night in Cork's Cyprus Avenue and performing in Limerick's Dolans tomorrow night before heading to Galway's Roisin Dubh on Friday.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 20
Actions, St John's Arts Centre, Listowel, Co Kerry
They do say actions speak louder than words, which is obviously good news for dancers (though not such good news for writers). Well, actions are at the heart of this most successful dance piece choreographed by John Scott for Irish Modern Dance Theatre. Described as 'a physical conversation between two individuals in empty space', this features music by Meredith Monk and it premiered at the end of 2009. It will be performed as a double bill with The Bowing Dance for IMDT's major national and international tour to celebrate the company's 20th birthday. Catch it in Ballymun at the end of next week and then on dates all round the country.
Day & Night