7 days + nights: 18th - 24th February
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18
Ben Folds, Vicar Street, Dublin 2
Ben Folds was once Five but more often three and is now just one. Yes, the man who made his name with his piano rock trio Ben Folds Five now bravely takes centre stage all on his lonesome.
Mind you, the piano man has been going solo for some time now, having recorded three studio albums since the band contracted. His trademark is catchy, emotional and often satirical compositions, which explains why he has most recently collaborated successfully with author Nick Hornby. They first worked together on a song for the Folds-produced William Shatner album Has Been (yes, that William Shatner) and then confirmed their partnership with a full album of musical short stories Lonely Avenue. Expect a selection of songs from past and present, and possibly even future, on this solo outing for Folds.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19
Fight Like Apes, The Button Factory, Temple Bar
Ah, politics is a funny business, it's also a very expensive one, which explains a rather cracking Button Factory line-up all turning out in the name of our upcoming election. Fight Like Apes will be joined on the bill by Heathers, Jape and The Minutes, and the night will be rounded off with a DJ set from Adebisi Shank. These trendy local bands will all be lining up in the aid of one particular political campaign and it's a politician who has certainly earned their endorsement, considering he used to run a record label and hold gigs that they were all involved in. Yes, they're out to fundraise for the only politician whose record collection you'd envy rather than be embarrassed by -- Dylan Haskins. Regardless of what your own political leanings are, though, ticket prices are a rather bargain €10.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 20
Inside Job, General Release
A documentary about high finance might not sound like everyone's idea of a fun night out, but somehow Charles Ferguson's Inside Job manages to make a detailed account of the 2008 global financial meltdown entertaining. Starting in Iceland, Ferguson and his team chart the progress of the 2008 implosion before telling us exactly what caused it. The crash had its roots in a radical rush towards financial deregulation that started in the Reagan years and reached its height in the mid-2000s, when an elite group of hugely paid Manhattan bankers gambled the shop on derivatives and sub-prime mortgages -- and lost. But as Ferguson makes clear, almost all of those men walked away with their ill-gotten personal fortunes intact. Matt Damon narrates this riveting film that includes excruciating interviews with some of the meltdown's architects.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21
KT Tunstall, Olympia Theatre, Dublin 2
The one thing you can never do with KT Tunstall is pigeon hole her -- attempt it at your peril. In the past, she's been thrown in with the unlikely likes of everyone from Katie Melua to the more reasonable comparison of Sharleen Spiteri. An early member of the resolutely eccentric Scottish folk outfit The Fence Collective, Tunstall broke into public consciousness as a one-woman operation when she appeared solo on Later with ... Jools Holland back in 2004. Her mantelpiece now displays a Brit Award for her troubles and she's in town on the back of a most successful third album release, Tiger Suit. Expect a set list heavy with tracks from this when she arrives in Dublin after a mini-Irish tour, having played Galway on Saturday and Cork on Sunday.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22
Raoul, Abbey Theatre, Dublin 1
Is a man's home really his castle? Or is it more of a prison? That's part of the question posed by this new show by James Thierree, the physical theatre performer who just so happens to be the grandson of one true master of the genre, Charlie Chaplin. Thierree was literally born into the circus and brings a number of disciplines together in this story of Raoul, a man without a beginning or an end, a man who tumbles through a series of Utopian fantasies in which acrobatics, mysterious transformations, music and dance all collide. The tale begins when Raoul returns home to find someone very familiar in his place, but is this new Raoul more real than the real Raoul? Cue existential chaos. Considering New York Magazine voted this as one of their top 10 shows of 2010, you know you're in for a treat.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23
Anna Calvi, Workman's Club, Dublin 2
Sounding like a heavenly mash-up of Siouxsie Sioux, Nick Cave and Scott Walker, Anna Calvi may be just one among nearly half a dozen hotly touted new female singers, but you suspect she's going to be around for a while. On her (self-titled) debut, she plays guitar like Sergio Leone's understudy, howls like Kate Bush's deranged twin and wraps her tonsils around lyrics that sound cribbed from the really whacko bits of the Old Testament. It's crazy but we like it. The buzz isn't just music industry blather either -- her Dublin debut sold out weeks ago.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24
The Sit, Bewley's Café Theatre
Now, we knew theatre was reacting to the recession with innovation and getting more compact, but a show in a bag is surely taking cutbacks a step too far. Well, this is actually one of the brilliant innovations of the Fringe Festival, showing how all it takes to make theatre is to throw a handful of imaginative ideas together in a bag and shake it about until the magic happens. One of the success stories of last year's initiative is this unorthodox battle of the sexes by Gavin Kostick. Directed by Annabelle Comyn, this is set "in a world where there's no longer such a thing as 'business as usual' or the luxury of a moral compass, finding a lucrative loophole is the Holy Grail... but usually means selling your soul". Starring John Cronin and Caitriona Ni Mhurchu, this plays at lunchtimes. Forget a stale sandwich at your desk and open your mind instead.
Day & Night