Critics' guide to going out: 30/04/2010
Bray Jazz Festival, Bray, Co Wicklow
It's festivals a go-go this weekend. Kilkenny has its Smithwicks Rhythm & Roots Festival (www.kilkennyroots.com), with highlights including Josh Ritter, Chris Smither and Jason & The Scorchers. Drogheda boasts not just a main arts festival but also a fringe -- see Special Arts on page 17. And Dublin's got the brand new SoGo, more of which below, while Bray is playing host to three days and nights of world-class jazz. Including more than 20 free gigs, Bray Jazz Festival swings into action this evening with the opening act, Argentinian-Irish Ariel Hernandez Trio, playing the Town Hall. Tonight, the celebrated Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel is teaming up with US players Larry Grenadier and Chris Cheek to bring their drum-free trio to the Mermaid Arts Centre. A festival highlight happens tomorrow night when John Williams' collaborator and Soft Machine guitarist John Etheridge plays a Django Reinhardt tribute gig at the Mermaid. Steely Dan collaborator Wayne Krantz is bringing his trio to the Mermaid for a headline show on Sunday night. Senegalese outfit Cissokho System are at Katie's late on Sunday and at midnight at the Martello you can catch the Alex Mathias Quartet.
SATURDAY, MAY 1
Dorm, The Model, Co Sligo
It's rare to get excited at the prospect of pulling an all-nighter, but all-nighters don't get more gloriously intriguing than tonight's most imaginative re-opening of The Model. The space is now significantly bigger and better than ever before and to celebrate the occasion, the Model is throwing opens its doors to host Dorm, an all-night programme of exhibits, art collectives and screenings. DJ Donal Dineen is behind the music strand of the night and there will be performances by Hunter/Gatherer, Social Tour and the ever-irresistible Bloodyends. And should you get weary, you can rest your head as part of a public sleepover on the most innovative beds, made out of everything from balloons to cardboard boxes. The Dorm exhibition continues for the next eight weeks, featuring installations, performance projects and participation works. Board the bus to Sligo, tonight is going to be a cracker.
SUNDAY, MAY 2
SoGo Dublin Arts Festival, Dublin 2
To go SoGo, that is the question. Apologies for the weakest of puns, but you'll need little encouragement to test out Dublin's newest festival, particularly considering most of the events are free. SoGo stands for South Georges Street -- okay, the pedants among us (or just me) will note that it should actually be SoGe -- and it is a three-day festival running over the course of the weekend. Occupying the trendiest block in town from Stephens Street to Dame Lane and Georges Street to Clarendon Street, it kicked off this Friday and the programme is packed with interesting and eclectic acts and events. Today's highlights include an afternoon of 'eye-contact theatre', jazz performances, BBQs, The Virgin and The Vulture telling the tale of a Paris storyteller and the Crash Test Cabaret. Our particular favourite takes place this evening when true blue Dubliner Trevor White will be reading from his deliciously waspish diaries in the International Bar.
MONDAY, MAY 3
Florence and the Machine, The Olympia Dublin
The last time flame-haired pop Valkyrie Florence Welch graced The Olympia she ended up warbling from the lap of a mortified punter in one of the boxes. She returns to the Dame Street cake-tin for the opening two dates of her Cosmic Love tour (she played last night and is on again tonight). Cynics will quibble that, if you take away the best three songs, her debut album, Lungs, is essentially a mishmash of B-sides and half-sketched ideas. And let's not forget the embarrassing revelation that her only truly great tune, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) was a rather cheeky 'homage' to House Jam by New York art-rockers Gang Gang Dance. On the bright side, Flossy's a proper tornado on stage and support is from Brooklyn's soon-to-be-enormous Drums.
TUESDAY, MAY 4
Kaleidoscope, Odessa Club, Dublin 2
With so many cabaret and comedy choices, literary gatherings, knitting clubs and whatever you're into yourself, you could never accuse Dublin nightlife of being stuck in a rut. And a relatively recent addition to the monthly diary offers yet another interesting option. Kaleidoscope sets up its stall once a month in the Odessa Club to present an evening of the most eclectic music imaginable. Tonight's line-up ranges from European music of the Middle Ages right through to contemporary tunes from South America to the decidedly unique vocal work of Jennifer Walshe. We can promise you won't have seen anything quite like it.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 5
Flight of the Conchords, Olympia, Dublin 2
Merging comedy and rock'n'roll, Flight of the Conchords may superficially have the ghost of Spinal Tap on their shoulders, but this duo is very much of today. On their fictional BBC radio series and then their HBO television show, Flight of the Conchords almost never played a song that's worth a nickel -- except in their imaginations. Every time they get a gig, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie take to the stage and limp their way through the deadly Who Likes to Rock the Party. But in their own heads, they're stars: deadly rappers, psychedelic princes and, most misconceived of all, unstoppable ladykillers. Mind you, tonight is the first of two nights that sold out in the kind of time it takes proper rock stars to sell out, so maybe fiction is becoming fact? Regardless, they're darned funny.
THURSDAY, MAY 6
Iron Man 2, General Release
In the first big blockbuster of the summer, Robert Downey Jr returns in the second instalment of the action series based on a Marvel comic character (left). Namely Tony Stark, the playboy billionaire inventor who changes his ways and decides to dedicate his talents to crime-fighting after seeing at first hand the misery his weapons cause. In this film he's up against one Vanko (Mickey Rourke), a Russian with a grudge and a fire-spitting flying suit of his own. A good cast also includes Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L Jackson, Sam Rockwell and Don Cheadle, and Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Stark's long-suffering secretary, 'Pepper' Potts. It's a bit long and a bit convoluted at times, but overall Iron Man 2 is a lot of fun, and Downey is always worth the price of admission.