7 days and nights: 10th - 16th December
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10
Villains, The Good Bits, Store St, Dublin 1
With the weather conspiring against us, there's nothing for it but to descend into the underworld, where at least you're guaranteed it will be warm, possibly even hellishly hot.
So bring out your dead and take them to Villains, a very special revue to distract you from your frostbitten toes. London's foulest gentlemen of vaudeville will arise from their mouldy graves in this gothic tale of wickedness and woe. Starring the notorious Mr Pustra, 'Vaudeville's Darkest Muse', and Joe Black, 'Villainous Vaudeville Villain', this is set on the seedy streets of Berlin, in the creepy sideshows of Coney Island, in the shadowy graveyards across the land. These headline acts are seriously major names on the international cabaret scene, so it is quite the coup to have them in town for the first of two performances (the second is tomorrow in The Complex in Smithfield).
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11
Kings Of Leon, O2, Dublin 1
Every generation deserves a troupe of hairy rock gods to call its own -- and it looks like we're stuck with Kings of Leon. Let's be honest, their last two albums couldn't be more generically stadium rawk were they to feature a Jon Bon Jovi cameo and drum solo from Larry Mullen. At the same time, we shouldn't forget they were a credible roots-rock band up until and including 2007's rather excellent Because Of The Times. Now they wear Lenny Kravitz-style leather jackets and have to run a gauntlet of pigeon poop at huge American amphitheatres -- and are somehow less interesting for it.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12
Man of Aran Re-Imagined, Druid Lane Theatre, Galway
Robert Flaherty's 1934 documentary, okay fictionalised documentary to be honest, captured the very essence of life in Ireland's wild west. Potato farming when the soil is hard, fishing when the waves are high and generally battling to survive against the harshest conditions (although possibly not quite as harsh as the weather these past weeks), these are the seminal scenes . Any old how, this classic has now been turned on its head and completely reinvented in a sparkling new production that blends the traditions of the Irish seanachai with the Japanese benshi (silent film narrators). Created and directed by Paul Keogan and written by Sile Nic Chonaonaigh, this production features Liam O Maonlai as narrator and has a score composed by Mel Mercier with sound design by Christopher Shutt. It premiered earlier this week and tonight is sadly the last performance of its all-too-short run. Here's hoping this most intriguing prospect gets a nationwide run soon. In the meantime, all roads lead to Galway.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 13
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Academy, Dublin 1
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are a band on a mission. After breaking out in 2001 with a huge buzz -- and not just the one coming from that assortment of overworked amps stacked onstage -- this San Francisco band has rumbled down something of a rocky path. They now have a newish drummer on board, Leah Shapiro, and a newish album to flog, Beat the Devil's Tattoo. Going on recent reviews for this international tour, you should expect generous sampling from the band's previous efforts as well as new material, including piano-based ballads, solo acoustic efforts by both Hayes and Been, and a smattering of the old-style, harmonica-accented, back-porch blues that they dove into on their third album, Howl. Prepare for your senses to be ever so slightly assaulted by their wall of sound.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14
Idir an Dá Shúil, Peacock Theatre, Dublin 1
Nuala Barrett would do just about anything for her guy. Donie's the centre of her world and Nuala always thought there was no limit to what she'd give up for him. But everyone has their limits and Nuala is about to find out exactly where hers are. The story of their love, and its consequences, are revealed in flashbacks and flash-forwards, and through arguments between Nuala and another woman Fionnuala as these two attempt to unearth the truth in this new play by Aodh O Domhnaill. Directed by Lara Campbell and with a cast including Siobhan O'Kelly, Maighread Ni Chongaile and Seamus Moran, it should be mentioned that this is a play as Ghaeilge, but a good story can overcome even pass Leaving Cert Irish. Idir an Dá Shúil (Between Both Eyes) is described as "a slick sleuth story that echoes real-life events from Ireland of the not-so-distant past, while the Celtic Tiger still lived, though its days were numbered". Ah the Celtic Tiger, bless his furry tale.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15
Somewhere, General Release
While not quite up to the standard of Lost in Translation, this slow-moving but engaging drama marks something of a return to form for Sofia Coppola. Stephen Dorff plays Johnny Marco, a Hollywood film star who lives permanently in the iconic Chateau Marmont hotel. Johnny lives a joylessly hedonistic existence, hopping from one casual sexual encounter to another in an alcohol-induced haze. But he also has a 12-year-old daughter, and when Cleo turns up to stay with him Johnny is forced to re-examine his life. Dorff's Johnny is an affecting study in affluent despair, and Coppola maintains her mood well. Very nicely filmed and with a typically evocative soundtrack, Somewhere is maybe a little less than the sum of its parts in the end, but is an absorbing piece of cinema nonetheless.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16
Shakira, The O2, Dublin 1
She may not be the hardest rock'n'roll chick in town, but we have to admit we think this Latina lovely is rather special. She is also rather good at what she does, having already notched up more than 50 million album sales. Shakira did meander somewhat away from her Columbian roots for her last album, but is now back firmly on Latino terra firma with her latest. Mind you, glorious single She Wolf remains nothing short of a classic pop song and she can belt out tunes with the best of them. Shakira does seem to be the kind of girl you'd enjoy having a pint with and it might even end up in a rowdy old singsong.