• Landless – L​ú​ireach

    Landless is Lily Power, Méabh Meir, Ruth Clinton and Sinéad Lynch. Lúireach is the follow-up to the quartet’s 2018 album Bleaching Bones. When translated from the original Gaelic, its title can mean a breastplate or protective coat, or a hymn or prayer for protection. It’s an apt title. The album features 10 songs, many about strong women, that explore themes of “melancholy, love, death and mystery,” performed by four equally powerful voices that envelop each other without restriction of movement. Dublin-based Landless perform traditional and contemporary folk songs with sparse accompaniment. While it would be remiss to disregard the presence…

  • Jane’s Addiction at Trinity College, Dublin

    Full disclosure: I was obsessed with this band from the ages of 15-18. I was insufferable to those around me who didn’t get it – and to them all, I apologise – but growing up in rural south Derry, Jane’s Addiction felt like some portal to the unseen. Whether it was the LA seediness or their connection to a more sensual world, it mattered little. Everyone has that band, but going through the typical starter pack of Guns N’ Roses, Zeppelin, RHCP, and Nirvana, Jane’s were the first band that lit the passage to somewhere higher. They were the band that Anthony…

  • The Patti Smith Quartet at Vicar Street, Dublin

    Excitement was running high in Vicar Street as folk at the sold-out gig on Thursday, June 27 waited for Patti Smith to come on stage. She did so to rapturous applause and a few shouts of “We love you, Patti”. Smiling and relaxed, she put her hand on her heart and said “And I love you, too”. Attired in her customary black jeans, white tee, waistcoat and black jacket, she told us that she’d had to swap her black boots for her white Keds trainers because the boots had been sticking to the carpeted stage. Joined by her son Jackson…

  • Sting and Blondie at Belsonic 2024

    I decided last year that if any more vintage artists played Belsonic I was going. It’s a short walk from my house and when I hear Nile Rodgers or Lionel Richie, and the cheers of their excited fans, I think you never know the hour nor the minute, and determine to grab the bull by the horns in future and make sure I’m not left with a lifetime of regret at missing my chance to see someone big while I still can. So when Belsonic announced a double bill of late 70s/early 80s royalty in Blondie and Sting I thought…

  • The Pet Shop Boys at SSE Arena, Belfast

    I’m no stranger to finding myself in situations that make me question my life choices but sitting in the SSE Arena watching Dave Pearce play Dance Anthems and telling me to lift my arms in the air is a new one. I’ll admit I’d been surprised and sceptical on finding this was the support for the Pet Shop Boys’ Dreamland: The Greatest Hits Tour. I’m immediately proven wrong in my incredulity, however, by the middle-aged Kevin and Perry beside me, who are already joyously immersed in Faithless’s ‘Insomnia’ as I arrive, fisherman’s hats perched on their heads. Pet Shop Boys…

  • Limp Bizkit w/ Tom Morello and Nova Twins at Belsonic 2024

    “Is it 1999 yet?” With hi-vis jacket and a heroic glint in his eye, Fred Durst gazes out into an ocean of red hats and wobbly day-drinkers in Belfast’s Ormeau Park. A mere plastic glass throw of Tennent’s from the Woodstock Road—the closest any of us will get to the cursed promised land in question—Limp Bizkit are midway through ‘Hot Dog.’ It’s there, floating in song three of a fourteen-song set, where you’ll find me plundering my pea-sized brain for an answer to the question posed by our messianic nu-metal binman. As I try to catch a glimpse of him…

  • Open Ear 2024 at Sherkin Island

    “Lads, do you know anywhere I could hear some progressive techno? I could go some music I can’t fucken understand. Tell you wha, fer the price of the ticket, I’ll buy a cement mixer, a big bag of ket, and play for ye all fucken weekend.” – The dose of Tralee.  It was around a nine-hour drive, stopping off at every Circle K en route from Belfast to Sherkin and Open Ear Festival. Meant we missed Gnod, but with four in a car you can’t ensure everyone has been doing their Kegels. I had stolen one of those wee blue…

  • In The Meadows at Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin

    Despite royally messing it up at the end, All Tomorrow’s Parties showed us that, with the right heads at the helm, bands can be entrusted to curate their very own festival – often with spectacular results. In the here and now, the inaugural edition of In The Meadows, curated by rightly the most beloved Irish band of a generation, Lankum, summons that precise spirit while packing in a magic all its own. After a heady, wonderfully omnipresent period following the release of their universally-lauded fourth album False Lankum, Lankum’s only Irish show of the year, closing out the main East…

  • The Personal Vanity Project – The Personal Vanity Project

    Anyone who’s ever been to Féile na Gréine or watched their excellent 2023 documentary film Out of Place will know all about the strength of the resolutely DIY Limerick music scene. Formed as something of a local supergroup, The PVP – short for The Personal Vanity Project – was put together by Cruiser guitarist Chris Quigley, who began recording demos alone during lockdown (initially trying to replicate the imagined sound of Kevin Shields’ fabled unreleased drum’n’bass album), before recruiting James Reidy of His Father’s Voice on keyboards along with drummer Brendan McInerney, who’s played with everyone from Bleeding Heart Pigeons,…

  • Gary Numan at Limelight 1, Belfast

    It’s almost 45 years to the day since Gary Numan appeared with Tubeway Army in one of the all-time memorable Old Grey Whistle Test performances, promoting the then-new album Replicas. The band, led by some shamanic, androgynous alien cyborg, felt like a transmission of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders as imagined by William Gibson or Philip K. Dick. A totem for the lost and alienated, his words sought out glimpses of humanity and connection in the darkest corners of a dystopia caused by the excesses of technology, and this was reflected in the music, a literal post-punk antithesis to the…