Aisling Kraus gives the lowdown on the highlights of the Dublin gig scene in the coming weeks.
Alabama Shakes / Olympia Theatre / Tuesday 3rd November
Having formed in 2009 in Athens, Alabama, this southern roots rock band have yet to do wrong in their career. Alabama Shakes’ 2012 debut album Boys & Girls was met with great acclaim and three Grammy nominations, and this year’s sophomore full-length release Sound & Color debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The bluesy five-piece band are fronted by self-taught multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Brittany Howard, whose colossal voice brings huge force to the group’s soulful, energetic performances. After a summer filled with festival appearances, Alabama Shakes’ Dublin audience can expect a powerful and polished show.
Radical Face with Lord Huron / Button Factory / Friday 6th November
Ben Cooper, also known by his stage name Radical Face (which Cooper chose upon seeing the phrase on a flyer), is a prolific musician, singer-songwriter and member of three other musical acts. Cooper produces stirring, thoughtful, melodic sounds akin to those of fellow one-man band Villagers. Lord Huron is the creation of Michigan-born musician Ben Schneider in a songwriting exercise inspired by nature. They craft jangly, harmony-driven indie folk music, producing something very much of the same ilk as Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut album. The two acts will share Dublin’s Button Factory stage for what is certain to make an intimate and memorable show.
Stiff Little Fingers / The Academy / Friday 13th November
One of few great things to come out of the Troubles in 1970s Northern Ireland, Stiff Little Fingers started as a schoolboy rock cover band. The original four members soon discovered punk rock and began writing their own material, drawing on their experiences of Belfast life during the Troubles for much of their lyrical content. The result: anthemic songs like ‘Alternative Ulster’, which lead to their Rough Trade deal and many years of writing, recording and touring. Fast forward to 2015, where after ten studio albums and countless personnel changes, the band is still touring relentlessly, delighting rowdy audience after rowdy punk rock audience.
Kurt Vile & The Violators / Vicar Street / Sunday 15th November
Seasoned multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, former co-frontman of The War On Drugs and lover of Dylan and Springsteen, Kurt Vile began making his own recordings at the tender age of fourteen years, and he hasn’t stopped since. Having churned out a number of EPs and six studio albums of folk-y indie rock music as a solo artist, backed by his band The Violators, Vile has achieved great acclaim as a writer and musician. He is credited as being a natural performer with a low-key style, dry sense of humour and an undeniable charm that never fails to win an audience over.
Ducktails / Whelan’s / Monday 16th November
Originally the solo project of Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile, Ducktails formed in 2006 and began making music which has been assigned a bizarre array of genre labels including “hypnogogic pop”, “woozy, horizontal pop” and “chillwave”. Whatever you want to call it, its mellow groove is utterly infectious: lazy drum beats combine with hazy, low-fi guitar distortions and gentle, husky vocals to result in something that induces a virtually irresistible urge to sway along. The Northampton, Massachusettes band make a Dublin stop on their European tour in support of fifth studio album St. Catherine, released in July.