• Goodbye Quiet Arch @ Empire Music Hall, Belfast

    From the moment it was announced last month, it was clear that Goodbye Quiet Arch was never going to be your everyday swansong. Too monumental to call a gig; much too highly-charged to truly deem a farewell (Quiet Arch suddenly ceasing to exist? Not a hope.) In truth, it all felt a little unknowable. Momentous, yes, but also laced with the strong hint of something yet to emerge. This morning, suspicions and worst fears lodged in the back of one’s mind were sadly confirmed. Lyndon Stephens was gone. With all the heaviness of Bowie and Blackstar, the timing was heavy but, in…

  • We Were Promised Jetpacks @ The Workman’s Club, Dublin

    “Nice one, I can tell we’re gonna have a great night. Loving the air drumming too!” are the first words frontman Adam Thompson utters early doors. There’s an obvious likeability factor that oozes from Thompson, with his laidback and up for a laugh persona clear for all to see. Edinburgh’s We Were Promised Jetpacks are now into their sixteenth year and have returned to Dublin as part of the ten-year anniversary of their debut album These Four Walls. Thompson is accompanied by Sean Smith (bass) and Darren Lackie (drums), with former Frightened Rabbit member Andy Monaghan currently part of their…

  • Girl Band w/ PowPig @ Vicar Street, Dublin

    As a line of punters stretches around the corner of Vicar Street, saturated to the bone by the pouring rain, a Dublin ‘aul fella’ passing by asks: “What’s on in there tonight?” “Girl Band” “No, but what are they called?” Inside, the crowd made up of skinny-jeaned punks and skinhead raver types funnels into the auditorium, the bar and the merch table. Within minutes there is a mad scramble for zines that are on sale and before anyone has even settled in they are gone. It’s difficult to ignore the intense sense of anticipation that is permeating every surface of…

  • Mountain Goats w/ Laura Cortese & Dance Cards @ Button Factory, Dublin

    Having started out on his musical journey in the early ‘90’s recording self-penned songs through a cassette boombox, John Darnielle’s lo-fi aesthetic wasn’t too far removed from the likes of Robert Pollard or the late Daniel Johnston. Darnielle has an unnerving ability to cover the more downtrodden aspects of life such as addiction, isolation, death and abuse, yet somehow manages to create songs that include hook-laden pop sensibilities spliced with humour, that it makes it impossible not to be drawn into his desolate world. This tour is in support of The Mountain Goats’ seventeenth full-length record, In League With Dragons,…

  • Glen Hansard @ Grand Opera House, Belfast

    Those familiar with Glen Hansard’s long-rambling career – three decades and counting – will no doubt be fascinated by the various left turns and changes in musical direction the songwriter has taken during his years of service. The Frames, his alma mater may be on indefinite hiatus, and The Swell Season, his previous artistic partnership with pianist Markéta Irglová, released two albums of hushed folk rock before going their separate ways. Along the road there have been excursions with Eddie Vedder, Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen… an illustrious who’s who of musical royalty that epitomises Hansard’s modus operandi of…

  • Pixies @ Olympia Theatre, Dublin

    As soon as this gig was announced a few months ago, it was always going to be a scramble for tickets, and so it transpired as it sold out in a matter of minutes. Having the chance to witness one of – if not the most – influential alt-rock bands of all time in such intimate surroundings wasn’t lost on anyone.  The history of Pixies pre and post their 2004 reunion is a well-trodden tale and it’s clear from both fans and critics alike, that the idea to release new music, hasn’t exactly hit the heights of their initial time…

  • Fleabag @ Wyndham’s Theatre

    There’s a feeling we have all gathered here for one last fix. We know the characters. We know the material. We even know the storyline. It’s as if die-hard fans have reunited for one last acoustic performance of their favourite band. Instead of singing along to their favorite songs, they’re mouthing the punchlines of crude jokes before erupting into laughter at a line they’ve heard 10 times before. Within two minutes we’ve already been flashed her black lacy bra from underneath her plain red pullover and been told that shes not obsessed with sex, but she just can’t stop thinking…

  • The Specials @ Open House, Bangor

    In the tour-heavy years since reforming back in 2008, The Specials have continuously re-affirmed their status not simply as bona fide 2-tone legends, they have underlined their ironclad rep as one of the all-time greats. Vital and visionary in equal measure, few acts, anywhere in the world, have equally defined and transcended genre like they have, all the while keeping two eyes firmly fixed on the horizon. Off the back of the release of Encore – their first album with vocalist Terry Hall since 1981 – the band’s generation-spanning set at Bangor Seafront tonight as part of Open House 2019 only…

  • Féile na Gréine: The Beauty and Togetherness of a DIY Festival

    Féile na Gréine blasted through Limerick this weekend with an unprecedented force taking over venues and public spaces in an explosion of rhythm, creativity and unity. The tireless efforts of Limerick’s best and brightest designers, sound engineers, artists and all round creatives seamlessly came together to create a beautiful moment in time, forever frozen in the hearts and minds of the beholders. Now in its second year DIY LK and Lower your Expectations collaboration glistened day through day with the sheer determination of the community to bring music alive within the city. With this year’s festival expanding into nearly double…

  • Pas Moi/Not I @ Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival

    A broken mind is a terrifying notion. Once gone, so too, has a large slice of the humanity. Isn’t that why we hurry past the insane, with their babbling interior monologue, on the street? It’s a brave playwright who subjects an audience to the mad jabbering of a fractured mind, delivered relentlessly  at the speed of thought for a dozen minutes. And in the pitch black, with only the speaker’s mouth illuminated. Samuel Beckett, who was many things, was nothing if not a courageous writer. Beckett’s Not I, a powerful and unsettling portrait of the isolation of madness, returned to…