Gigs: Who's playing
Vicar Street, Dublin, tonight (€23)
Nineties soft pop traffickers set out on the comeback trail. Their songs are catchy, occasionally gloopy and entirely un-cool.
John Blek and The Rats
Grand Social, Dublin, tonight (€5)
A country-rock band that manages to avoid the Mumford & Sons pitfall of sounding smug and middle class. From Cork, the outfit somehow capture the outlaw spirit of the American backwoods.
Mark Morris, The Bluetones
Workman's Club, Dublin, tonigth (€12)
The Bluetones had a moment in 1996 with Stone Roses-esque single Slight Returns (the Roses having, at that point, given up on sounding like themselves). But they never properly built on the success and, as frontman and solo artist, Morris has struggled to re-capture his initial momentum.
Upstairs at Whelan's, Dublin, tonight (€6)
Vintage rockers with overtones of early REM. New single Home came close to breaching the Irish top 30. No wheels are reinvented here, but these Dubliners do the fundamentals extremely well.
Button Factory, Dublin, tomorrow (€18)
The founder of Anthrax was vastly influential in the emergence of thrash metal as a distinct sound in the 1980s. Though the band remain a functioning entity, Ian is taking time out for a stand-alone career. It is no conventional solo foray, however. Following the example of Black Flag singer Henry Rollins, another tattooed angry man who turned out be a natural-born raconteur, Ian will be giving a spoken word performance, relaying eyebrow-raising anecdotes from across 30 years in the fast lane of music.
Academy, Dublin, Monday and Tuesday (€42.50)
Speaking of thrash metal, Slayer are, along with Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax, considered founding fathers of this loudest and angriest of genres. They may not enjoy the cross-over profile of Metallica, but remain fiercely beloved, their two Dublin dates selling out in a heartbeat. Note: if you don't turn up dressed head-to-toe in black, people will stare.
Upstairs at Whelan's, Dublin, Monday (€12)
A rare intimate outing in Whelan's Upstairs space for the dreadlocked crooner. Last year's O Pioneer didn't receive the attention it merited despite being one of his most accessible collections.
The Academy, Dublin, Wednesday and Thursday (€29)
A progressive metal quartet whose clattering dirges contain allusions to psychedelia, HP Lovecraft and Stephen Hawking's worm-hole theory. Perfect for those who like to think as they headbang.
The Village, Dublin Thursday (€20)
Cracking electro pop double-bill with Portland, Oregon's, underrated Glass Candy supporting, while friends and neighbours The Chromatics take the headline spot. The latter's 2012 Kill For Love LP is as wonderful a synth record as you will encounter this side of mid-1980s New Order.