Insider guide to the best gigs, festivals and theatre
Minimum Maximum @ Block T, Smithfield, Dublin (€15), Friday September 26
Some bright spark (spoiler: it's me) decided to put on a gig in a non-venue with a secret lineup of quality new Irish music and a bring your own bottle policy back in May. While someone turned up expecting Paul Weller in a 100-capacity venue, they got new music sets from Fight Like Apes, Bantum and White Collar Boy. Tomorrow night, we're doing it again, with three more bands - one arguably the best band in the country right now. You'll just have to turn up to find out who it is.
Ensemble Music @ Block B, Smithfield, Dublin (€12.50), Saturday September 27
Clearly, Smithfield is where it's at this weekend. Ensemble Music is a new music company whose roster include the more experimental, thoughtful and specialist genres of music (soul, trad, jazz, classical and beyond) made in Ireland and they are setting out their stall with a mini festival showcase of ten of those acts including Alarmist, Butter, Kirkos Ensemble, Loah, Téada Orchestra and Overhead, The Albatross.
Alt-J @ 3Arena, Dublin (€31.50), Saturday September 27
It's an impressive punt for Alt-J to be, at time of writing, close to selling out the biggest indoor venue in the country. The Oxford band's debut An Awesome Wave insidiously wormed its weird indie pop chants into the culture that their songs became anthems. For album two, This Is All Yours out tomorrow, the band delve deeper into an experimental hodge-podge but still manage to feature Miley Cyrus and vintage rock'n'roll. It's not an immediate release, but perhaps, live in Dublin, those quiet songs will roar.
Coughlan's Live Music Festival @ Coughlan's Bar, Cork (From Free), Thursday September 25 - Monday September 29
Last year Coughlan's was voted IMRO live venue of the year and maybe special events like this help its cause. Over five days of music, Wallis Bird, Jerry Fish, Adrian Crowley, Mick Flannery, Booka Brass Band, The Hot Sprockets, I Draw Slow and more. Some events are free so check the website for full prices info. www.coughlans.ie
RBMA Weekender @ Belfast venues (Around £5 each), Thursday September 25 - Saturday September 27
Red Bull have once again showed off their musical knowledge with a discerning lineup of the best names in electronic and experimental music. There's contemporary pianist Nils Frahm, dubstep/house producer Skream, the original UK DJ Greg Wilson, DFA disco don The Juan McLean, Belfast punk godfather Terri Hooley as well as local talents Space Dimension Controller, Bicep and Ryan Vail. Workshops and lectures are also lined up.
Guinness Amplify @ various pubs, Connacht (Free), Thursday September 25 - Sunday September 29
The third week of Guinness' series of pub gigs with surprise guests moves west. Bands playing in free events include The Notas, Corner Boy, The Blood Red Mountain Band, Elaine Mai and more. See the website for full listings. www.guinnessamplify.com
The Waiting Room @ Kilkenny, Dundalk, Bray and Dublin City (€16), Friday September 26 - Friday November 21
Shane Cradock is a business coach who suffered a breakdown in his twenties who discovered a love of writing in the process. That experience lead to his writing this "inspirational comedy play" which goes on tour in the coming months starting in Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny this weekend before moving to An Tain Theatre, Dundalk on 3rd and 4th October, Mermaid Theatre, Bray, Co. Wicklow 16th and 17th October and ending up in Smock Alley for three dates from 20th November. www.thewaitingroomplay.com
Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh @ The Model, Sligo (€12)Sunday October 12
Never one to rest for very long, the fiddle and hardanger player in The Gloaming breaks away to offer something different. Billed as a solo fiddle and film show, In My Mind sees Ó Raghallaigh explore the humour and beauty of traditional music accompanied by his 10-string fiddle and virtual guests he has filmed including other musicians, dancers, singers, poets and teasingly, "landscape."
The Frank & Walters @ Cork Opera House, Cork (€25), Saturday October 25
Warning, this might make you feel old. The legendary Cork band started 25 years ago next month, when they first played De Barra's of Clonakilty on October 14, 1989. To mark the occasion and the considerable feat of outlasting many that went before and after, the band are playing a special show as part of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival next month.
Nicky Siano, Pablo and Billy Scurry @ Lost Society, Dublin (€10), Saturday September 27
Introduced in the excellent authoritative book on Djing, Last Night A DJ Saved My Life as "an energetic, bisexual Brooklyn tearaway," Siano is one of the original New York DJs of the 70s. By the time he was 17, he had opened his own club called the Gallery and it was where he made his name. He later spun at the legendary Studio 54 before a drug habit forced him to quit for a while. Now back on the DJing circuit, he's expected to bring a bag of disco and house classics to Dublin this weekend.