Friday 23 February 2018

From Steps to Kasabian – the top 12 must see music gigs this side of Christmas

At time of publishing tickets are still available for all 12...

(L-R) Faye Tozer, Lee Latchford-Evans, Lisa Scott-Lee, Ian 'H' Watkins and Claire Richards of Steps perform at Manchester Pride 2012 on August 24, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Cox/Getty Images)
(L-R) Faye Tozer, Lee Latchford-Evans, Lisa Scott-Lee, Ian 'H' Watkins and Claire Richards of Steps perform at Manchester Pride 2012 on August 24, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Cox/Getty Images)
Camille O'Sullivan performs at the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre in support of Focus Ireland. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 24/4/2016
James Blunt is seen on stage at the GQ Men Of The Year Award 2014 at Komische Oper on November 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images for GQ)
Kasabian.
James Arthur
Imelda May sings the national anthem of Ireland prior to the super welterweight boxing match on August 26, 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images )
Josh Ritter.
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 13: Rhiannon Giddens performs onstage during the 2017 Americana Music Association Honors & Awards on September 13, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music)
Russian punk band Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina (L) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
Dave Gahan of English electronic band Depeche Mode
Mike Kerr of Royal Blood performing on The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset.

Chris Wasser

Things are about to get noisy. Pop icons, rock ‘n’ roll gods, chart favourites, country and blues stars — there’s something for everyone in the audience when it comes to the pre-Christmas gig line-up in Dublin. You name it, we’re about to welcome them all.

Yes, yes, we know: tickets to see some of music’s heaviest hitters have already sold out. The Killers, Little Mix, Queens of the Stone Age, Robert Plant, Picture This, Queen and Adam Lambert — they’ll all be touching down in the capital over the next month, and if you don’t already have your pass, then there’s not much we can do for you (but maybe keep an eye on official venue and promoter pages — just in case).

But hey, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a long list of musicians, storytellers and rib-ticklers en route to the city between now and Christmas, so how about we round up some of the essentials, eh? Like we said, things are about to get noisy. Feast your eyes on this lot…

Alice Cooper, Olympia Theatre

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‘The Godfather of Shock Rock’ returns. Indeed, if theatrical rock ‘n’ roll is your bag, then look no further. The great Vincent Damon Furnier (that’s Alice Cooper to you and me) turns 70 next year, would you believe. But fear not, the dude with an endless supply of mascara (and catchy hard-rock tunes, of course) has still got it. It might be freaky. It might be crazy. We can’t wait. Altogether now: “FEED MY… FRANKENSTEIN!”

Wednesday, November 8 (sold out) and Thursday, November 9. Tickets from €54.50

Steps, 3Arena

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(L-R) Faye Tozer, Lee Latchford-Evans, Lisa Scott-Lee, Ian 'H' Watkins and Claire Richards of Steps perform at Manchester Pride 2012 on August 24, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Cox/Getty Images)
 

Yes, they’re back. It may have slipped your notice. It may be the highlight of your musical year. Whatever your take, Lee, Claire, Lisa, Faye and H are back in the room, people — just in time for their 20th anniversary. Plus, they’ve got a new album to plug, the wonderfully titled, Tears on the Dancefloor. Brace yourselves for the hits. 5,6,7,8, Tragedy, Stomp — we could be here all day. An endless supply of cheesy, dancefloor pop. Oh, and we almost forgot: the bloomin’ VENGABOYS are on support duty. A whopper night out!

Monday, November 13. Tickets: €40–€54.65

Depeche Mode, 3Arena

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Dave Gahan of English electronic band Depeche Mode
 

Dave Gahan and the lads make their long-awaited return to Ireland. Their 14th studio album, Spirit, cracked the top five earlier in the year, but let’s face it — we know what we want to hear. With a bit of luck, the boys will pluck a few gems from 1989’s Violator (they have to).

Oh, and the visuals will knock your socks off. Watch out for Gahan’s electrifying dance routines along the way — he knows how to move. Prepare to have your minds blown.

Wednesday, November 15. Tickets: €70.45–€91

Camille O’Sullivan, Olympia Theatre

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Camille O'Sullivan performs at the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre in support of Focus Ireland. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 24/4/2016
 

Having sold out concerts in Australia, Germany and the UK, the beguiling Camille O’Sullivan (musician, actress and artiste extraordinaire) brings it on home for what should be a spellbinding performance of The Carny Dream. What is ‘The Carny Dream’, exactly? We’re not entirely sure, but Camille does promise to take her fans on an “exhilarating carousel ride”, with a show “inspired by the strange magical dark and light world of circus and dreams”. Sounds mysterious. We’re in.

Friday, November 17. Tickets from €29

James Arthur, 3Arena

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James Arthur
 

The jammiest X Factor winner of them all, young James Andrew Arthur, bagged the mother of all second chances last year when, after a series of, ahem, career mishaps, the chap scored a massive hit with Say You Won’t Let Go — a major UK and Ireland number one, and Arthur’s first, proper Stateside smash. The title of his second album, Back from the Edge, says it all. Arthur’s back on the wireless, back under Simon Cowell’s watch and back in the arenas. He’s back on top, basically. Support on the night comes from fellow X Factor classmate, Ella Henderson.

Tuesday, November 21.

Tickets: €37.50–€50.50

Pussy Riot, Button Factory

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Russian punk band Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina (L) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
 

Equal parts protest art collective and feminist punk-rock group, Russia’s Pussy Riot have hit the road in support of member Maria Alyokhina’s memoir, Riot Days. What we have here, then, is no ordinary stage show, but instead, a ‘touring play’, also called Riot Days (Revolution), blending “punk, electronica, theatre, documentary footage and protest”. The play also recalls the infamous ‘Punk Prayer’ incident of 2012, when a Pussy Riot protest in a Moscow cathedral landed members of the group in prison. Again, it’s politically charged performance art. It’s a punk show. It’ll leave one hell of a mark, we reckon…

Thursday, November 23. Tickets: €20

Rhiannon Giddens, Vicar Street

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NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 13: Rhiannon Giddens performs onstage during the 2017 Americana Music Association Honors & Awards on September 13, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music)
 

We’re big fans of the sublime Rhiannon Giddens around here. The North Carolina native — a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning, Carolina Chocolate Drops — continues her solo, Freedom Highway tour, with a stop-off at Vicar Street later this month. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, the gifted country and blues singer and multi-instrumentalist moved to Limerick a few years back. So, you know, she’s one of us now. A special talent — not to be missed.

Saturday, November 25. Tickets: €30

James Blunt, 3Arena

james.jpg
James Blunt is seen on stage at the GQ Men Of The Year Award 2014 at Komische Oper on November 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images for GQ)
 

The funniest man in pop, Mr James Blunt, once dedicated a song to your trusted correspondent, live on stage in Dublin. Seriously. The year was 2014. The venue was Vicar Street. Blunt had, presumably, taken a peek at the guestlist and noticed that a young Herald critic was down to review. So, he decided to dedicate You’re Beautiful to yours truly. The best night of my life? It’s certainly top-10.

Make your own James Blunt memories when the cheeky troubadour returns to the big stage later this month.

Monday, November 27. Tickets: €46.05–€54.65

Royal Blood 3Arena

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Mike Kerr of Royal Blood performing on The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset.
 

You know these lads. Don’t be fooled by their size — there may only be two of ’em, but Brighton boys, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher, certainly know how to bring the thunder. Second album, How Did We Get So Dark?, propelled the duo to dizzying heights earlier this year. Oh, yes, I Only Lie When I Love You is a bit of a belter — and there’s plenty more where that came from. Support on the night comes from At the Drive-In and Black Honey.

Sunday, November 26. Tickets from €32.50

Kasabian, 3Arena

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Kasabian.
 

The most divisive rock band in the land, Leicester’s Kasabian released their sixth studio album, For Crying Out Loud, earlier this year. It topped the UK charts, peaking at number two in Ireland. Because, it doesn’t matter if they’re music’s biggest punchline: a lot of you actually dig the noise they make. And that’s fine. No, really. The Lairy Stag Party of British Music, those Kasabian boys are here to stay. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 28. Tickets: €49.50–€59.50

Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band Vicar Street

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Josh Ritter.
 

Believe it or not, it’s 15 years since the Idaho native first played Vicar Street. So, you know, this one is a bit of an anniversary show (he’s kind of a big deal around these parts). It’s a bit of a party. Knowing Mr Ritter, it’ll be another unforgettable experience. Ritter recently released his ninth studio album, Gathering and, as always, he’ll be joined by his charming backing troupe, the wonderful Royal City Band. Oh, and he’s doing two nights (the second gig is a fully seated affair, FYI).

Thursday, December 7 (standing show) and Friday, December 8 (seated). Tickets: €36

Imelda May, 3Arena

imeldamay.jpg
Imelda May sings the national anthem of Ireland prior to the super welterweight boxing match on August 26, 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images )
 

2017 was the year that Imelda May — one of Ireland’s finest musical talents — underwent a major reinvention. New sound, new style, new image. The critically-acclaimed, T Bone Burnett-produced, Life. Love. Flesh. Blood, knocked us sideways and now, it’s time to experience those gloriously soulful ballads where they belong. A magnetic performer, May’s home has always been on the stage.

The rockabilly tunes can wait: we’re here for the new stuff. Hey, it’s not often we get to say that…

Friday, December 22. Tickets: €44

Tickets for all concerts available at Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. Visit www.ticketmaster.ie

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