Where to go: Best gigs, festivals and family events
Niall Byrne rounds up the best gigs, festivals and family friendly events on around the country this week.
Hospitality @ whelan's Upstairs, Dublin (€12)
Saturday May 24
There must be so many "Brooklyn-based bands" lining the street corners of New York, nonchalantly hoping to be whisked off in front of the eyes of a song-hungry public. So what makes Brooklyn-based trio Hospitality any different? Well, they're good, for starters. They sound like they're playing their instruments (always an encouraging sign). They sound like they're enjoying it. And finally, and most importantly, they have good dreamy indie songs like Going Out.
We Cut Corners @ The Set Theatre, Kilkenny (free)
Saturday May 24
Cut the number of members of a traditional indie-rock band in half, then cut the length of songs in half occasionally and you've got the streamlined economised line-up of John Duignan and Conall O'Breachain, singer/guitarist and drummer in We Cut Corners respectively. Their second, just released album, Think Nothing, is an impassioned, melodious, energising and poetic 27-minute listen. The duo cram more goodness into that less-than half-hour (including some fine string arrangements), meaning they never outstay their welcome but often leave an impression.
Camera Obscura @ Button Factory, Dublin (€22)
Monday May 26
For nearly 20 years and over the course of five albums, the Scottish band Camera Obscura have cultivated an orchestral-leaning swoonsome form of indie-pop that simultaneously conjures up wistful summer days and teary-eyed weekends (one of their most well-known songs is called Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken). That push and pull between happy and sad means the band have carved a musical space unique to themselves.
Grouplove @ The Academy, Dublin (€17)
Monday May 26
This lot started as a raggle-taggle country-sounding rock band who looked like they might throw bottles at the audience at the first sign of trouble. In the last five years though, Grouplove have honed their sound and knuckled down, most recently, in a house to live and record second album Spreading Rumours. They now sound more polished and are a decidedly more singalong proposition than the early days with radio-friendly singles like Tongue Tied and Itchin' On A Photograph.
Schoolboy Q @ Vicar Street, Dublin (€26)
Tuesday May 27
Death Row Records reigned in American rap by cultivating a roster of successful artists in the nineties. Following in their lead, years later (but without the gun drama), Top Dawg Entertainment is a label which has become synonymous with the new generation of rappers making it big: Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q lead the way for their peers Isaiah Rashad, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and SZA to push through. The Kangol hat-wearing Schoolboy Q's time came last year when he released his debut album Oxymoron, a gritty gangsta album much-feted by critics and, more importantly, fans.
Cirque Du Soleil Dralion @ The O2, Dublin (€39.05)
Wednesday May 28 – Sunday June 1
A cross between Chinese circus and Western entertainment, Dralion is a bacchanal of Eastern music and performers featuring acrobats, jugglers and clowns taking inspiration from the four elements: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. Highlights include Marie-Eve Bisson hanging from an aerial hoop, by just her neck or a single ankle. Yikes.
The War On Drugs @ Vicar Street, Dublin (€20)
Thursday May 29
No other album so far this year has benefited more from word of mouth recommendations, if my social circle is anything to go by, than Lost In The Dream. The third album from the Philadelphia indie-rock band led by Adam Granduciel, has been compared to the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Chris Rea. So it makes sense then that this gig was upgraded to Vicar Street due to growing interest. Could be one for the end of year lists.
First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent