Thursday 26 April 2018

Grooving on a sunny afternoon

Weather is irrelevant when you're doing your best moves outdoors to Florence Welch, AC/DC, Blur, and Ed Sheeran

Taylor Swift plays the 3Arena, June 29 and 30
Taylor Swift plays the 3Arena, June 29 and 30
Nile Rodgers and Chic at Live at The Marquee in Cork
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Some painfully self-regarding wag once said Ireland would be a great country if you could put a roof over it.

Music lovers, however, would possibly disagree on this point. This is because one of their primary pleasures at this time of year is open-air concerts during what is tentatively called the Irish summer.

These are the same people Bob Marley was possibly - or possibly not - referring to when he said, "Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet". Bob must have had a big fat spliff in his mouth that would have frightened the life out of a member of the gardai when he said this, but anyway.

Rain-swept evenings shivering beneath a wonky umbrella in June, July and August at an outdoor concert in Ireland are part of our DNA. Sodden and begorrah, and all that.

So, by all means bring me sunshine, but the bad weather doesn't matter when you're doing your best moves to Florence Welch, Ed Sheeran and Chic.

Chic's main man Nile Rodgers embodied the zeitgeist of many of us through the recession in Ireland when he said a few years ago to the Guardian: "Everybody needs a little Friday night."

Chic featuring Nile Rodgers are actually playing Friday night, July 10, at the increasingly unmissable Live at The Marquee in Cork. They are playing in the open air the previous night at the glorious Iveagh Gardens in Dublin.

All together now: "All that pressure got you down/Has your head been spinning all around?/Feel the rhythm, check the rhyme/Come on along and have a real good time!"

There will be a similar sense of joie de vivre at the Killarney Music Festival 2015 over the weekend of June 27, come rain or sun. Be that as it may, it would be a surreal experience in itself to watch headliners Duran Duran belt out exotic classic Rio in the rain in Kerry on June 28, complete with Simon Le Bon telling the crowd that "her name is Rio /and she dances on the sand/Just like that river twisting through a dusty land."

Other acts like Texas, Jools Holland, Declan O'Rourke, The Frank & Walters, Mick Flannery and many more, will also perform at the festival, which has a real cosmic energy to it. Indeed, as will The Frames' two shows at the Iveagh Gardens on July 4 and 5 (and doubtless on July 11 at Live at The Marquee in Cork too) if Glen Hansard and his gang have their mystic groove on.

Exactly the same should apply to the incomparable Damien Rice when he rocks up to the Iveagh Gardens on July 12.

Put Paolo Nutini's show at Marlay Park on July 4 in your diary, not least because the gravel-throated Scottish soul-boy will be supported on the night by Imelda May, Alabama Shakes and Gaz Coombes.

In the meantime, Kodaline will offer up possibly the gig of the year when they get their mojo working at Royal Hospital Kilmainham on June 26 (with special guests, Hudson Taylor and Little Hours.) They play Live at The Marquee in Cork on the previous night.

Another contender for show of the year will be Hozier. The Bray-native kicked off the big summer of shows last weekend in Lord Henry Mountcharles' back garden, and will be back at Longitude on July 17 (Chemical Brothers, Alt-J and James Blake, among many others, will also play that grooviest of groovy weekends - grooviest, that is, until Electric Picnic in Co Laois from September 4-6 with Blur, Florence + The Machine, Manic Street Preachers, George Ezra, Sam Smith, War On Drugs.)

The redhead redemption of Ed Sheeran will be felt over two nights, July 24 and 25, at Croke Park. Ed will shake the stadium to its very foundations (as a revenge for the ghost of Garth Brooks who never quite got to play the Croker last summer). Or more possibly, 80,000 fans will lose themselves and their worries momentarily, to the ginge god of alt acoustic rock whom Taylor Swift described as having "the sense of humour of an eight-year-old". A sample of which, his favourite joke: What do you call an elephant that doesn't mean anything? An irrelephant. (The aforesaid Ms Taylor plays the 3Arena - which has a roof - on June 29 and 30.) I wonder will Ed tell that joke at Croker?

The mighty Script are also playing Croker - on June 20, with special guests Pharrell Williams. Everybody should be happy that night.

American king of kook Beck brings his own brand of alternative happy lo-fi to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on June 17, with special guests being the very special indeed Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead, no less) and The London Contemporary Orchestra. Beck will be performing at Live At The Marquee in Cork on the previous night.

Van Morrison at Live at The Marquee in Cork on July 9 has to be one of the events of the summer. No matter how bad the weather is (slight hint in the title: there is a marquee) or how dour Van's mood is, the Belfast Cowboy in concert will lift just about anybody's spirits. When he is in full-voiced splendour, as he often is, there is no one else on the planet like Van Morrison.

Indeed, when he sings you can immediately understand why Bono once said that he had to stop listening to Morrison's records during the recording of U2's The Unforgettable Fire in 1984 because "I didn't want his very original soul voice to overpower my own".

Sneak in a flask of red wine to drink as Van sings about moondances and hope that the moon high up in the Cork sky is not obscured by cruel rain clouds.

Ear-plugs rather than illicit flasks of vino will be more the order of the day at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on July 1. Antipodean hard-rock noise merchants AC/DC will have the inner city reverberating with high-testosterone tracks like For Those About to Rock (We Salute You), Highway to Hell and You Shook Me All Night Long. All together now - those of a vaguely feminist persuasion should cover their ears and avert their eyes now:

"She was a fast machine/ she kept her motor clean/She was the best damn woman that I ever seen/She had the sightless eyes telling me no lies/Knocking me out with those American thighs..."

My advice for the summer, kids (of all ages): adventure is out there. Go and find it.

Sunday Independent

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