We may be down, but we’re not out. Our nation’s fiscal outlook grows bleaker by the day and our political landscape, while destined to change, is desperately unlikely to do so for the better – at least in the short-term. But despite all this we continue to excel creatively. It’s a wonderful and comforting thing to me to see so much diversity and brilliance on show by local artists this week. Hopefully you’ll make it along to appreciate for yourselves.
Ruby and the Duke – The Concert
Ruby Murray’s may not be a household name these days, but during the 1950s the young Belfast woman recorded a string of hits in the UK and was a star on screen at the BBC. Last month RTÉ aired a documentary in which Duke Special traced Ruby’s rapid rise to stardom, and her sad decline, not just in popularity, but in her personal life. It’s an intimate look at a fragile girl’s journey from a very early age. Too early an age. Following on from the film, Duke Special takes her songs to the National Concert Hall’s stage in a live celebration of her work. Joining him on the night will be the RTÉ Concert Orchestra conducted by David Brophy, Mary Coughlan and Fight Like Apes’ MayKay.
RTÉ Concert Orchestra Signature Series 2011: Ruby and the Duke – The Concert
The National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2
Tickets from €15, available from the NCH online or by phone
Bláthnaid Ní Mhurchú & Stephen McGlynn: ‘Working My Way Back To You’
The Joinery is a remarkable little space which consistently offers emerging artists and performers not just an outlet to display their work, but tremendous support and encouragement. Additionally it’s an arts space that’s accessible to and actively engages with the public. This week The Joinery hosts an exhibition of collaborative work between MFA (painting) candidate Bláthnaid Ní Mhurchú and printmaker Stephen McGlynn. While Ní Mhurchú’s work stems from reconstructing the found object and McGlynn’s from a distinct narrative, both artists have spent years exchanging ideas and critique to arrive at this juncture. A meeting of minds and disciplines.
The Joinery, Arbour Hill, Dublin 7
Until February 7
BYOB (this Thursday)
Digital Socket Awards
The Digital Socket Awards are being handed out this Thursday! The live final will be held in the Grand Social and is set to feature performances from Groom, Meljoann and yet-to-be-revealed guests. The DSAs have been a breath of fresh air, not least because they acknowledge the broader creativity behind the music scene in Ireland by recognising the photographers, designers, radio presenters and video-makers who play a vital role in bringing music to a wider audience. It really is a refreshing, welcome change to have these contributors spotlighted alongside the musicians they support. Wishing everyone well on the night.
Digital Socket Awards Live Final
The Grand Social
Tickets available from www.tickets.ie
First Friday means two very different but equally special things – Popicalia and B-Music.
This month’s Popicalia is set to be just a wee bit extra-special, as it doubles up as the launch party for Big Monster Love’s long-awaited debut album “Game Over”. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Big Monster Love is one of the smartest, neatest songwriters I know. He’s
gifted with the ability to write melodies that stick with you, have you humming to yourself after a single listen, and lyrics that are articulate, poetic and deeply personal. I sometimes feel that, when listening to Cormac’s music, or watching him play live, I’m taking a surreptitious glimpse inside his journal, so heartfelt are his songs. On Friday, everyone’s invited along for a peek. I suggest you do so.
Also appearing at Popicalia are Moutpiece and Brain Kelly. I honestly thought that, with the birth of Retarded Cop, Gazzer had hung up his blue Y-fronts and put Moutpiece on hold, but given the rate that he’s turning out Retarded Cop tunes I should have know that his creativity wasn’t suffering. Moutpiece are brash. Moutpiece and bold. And Moutpiece may scare the pants off the Popical Islanders – then wear them.
Brain Kelly is not a typo; Brain Kelly is Brian Kelly is So Cow, a songwriter I’d put on a par with his mate Cormac in terms of mastery of the perfect pop song. Having spent far too much time in the US of late, to my liking at least, Brian is back inside the Pale for his first solo show of the year. He might be unaccompanied, but he certainly won’t be unplugged as So Cow solo performances qualify as one of the most accomplishedly loud one-man-bands out there.
Since its move to the Workman’s Club late last year, B-Music has added a whole new legion of fans to its hardcore base. The venue may have changed, but the ethic remains resolutely the same – that is, different. If there’s one thing you can say about B-Music, it’s expect the unexpected. From kraut to psych, library music to freak-out music, from all corners of the globe B-Music is an odyssey and an education. DJs this month are Darren McCreesh, Ray Ruddel (TwinKranes) and Mark Winkelmann. For my money, one of the best regular club nights in Dublin.
Popicalia #6 with Big Monster Love, Moutpiece and Brain Kelly
Shebeen Chic, Georges St, Dublin 2
The Workman’s Club (upstairs), Wellington Quay, Dublin 2
Kicks off at 9.30pm