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Gig of the Week: Gorillaz rock into Dublin

Plus Paolo Nutini, Chamber Music on Valentia, and Dogs aka Sean Millar and Nick Kelly


Wednesday, August 17th; 3Arena, Dublin; 7pm; from €68.45;

They are the world’s most successful virtual band, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, selling gazillions of albums over the past 20 years, and becoming more than another feather in the cap for Damon Albarn. The Blur leader conceived the band with artist Jamie Hewlett, and Gorillaz released their debut album in 2001 to huge acclaim and global success. The band line-up of singer 2-D, bassist Murdoc, guitarist Noodle and drummer Russel have since released several hit albums including Demon Days, Plastic Beach and The Now Now. This will be their first virtual Irish appearance since 2018, but of course we won’t be getting mere holograms, but Albarn himself and a band of killer musicians delivering the hits including Feel Good Inc, Dare, Clint Eastwood and On Melancholy Hill, with Hewlett’s fab animations delivering the visual coup de grace.

Late-night openings at Dublin’s cultural attractions

August, various venues, Dublin

While the evenings are still bright, Dublin’s museums, galleries and cultural centres are opening late in August to give everyone a chance to get their cultural fix before the summer ends. Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum, voted Europe’s leading tourist attraction for the past three years, is open until 8pm on Thursdays; ditto the National Museum of Ireland — Archaeology on Kildare Street and the museum’s decorative arts and history section, housed in Collins Barracks — both with free admission. The National Gallery of Ireland is open until 8.30pm on Thursdays, so pop in and escape from the bustle with some of the finest collections of Irish and European art. Other late-opening places include the Chester Beatty Library, the Irish Whiskey Museum, the National Wax Museum Plus and the National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland. (I didn’t even know we had one of those.)

Chamber Music on Valentia

Wednesday, August 17th, to Sunday, August 21st; Valentia, Co Kerry;

Music will be ringing out on Valentia over the weekend as the island’s ninth Chamber Music on Valentia festival gets under way under artistic director Mary Dullea, with an intriguing programme. The line-up includes They Danced when the Musicians Played, featuring uileann piper Cillian Valelly of Lúnasa in collaboration with Fidelio Trio (Wednesday, August 17th, 7.30pm, €12-€18); Carolan Revisited, a concert marking the composer’s 350th anniversary (Thursday, August 18th, 7.30pm, €12-€18); and Bach to Beatles, which includes experimental pianist John Tilbury’s vivid arrangements of Fab Four songs, along with transcriptions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (Friday, August 19th, 7.30pm, €12-€18), all taking place at the Church of John the Baptist in Knightstown.


Thursday, August 18th, and Friday August 19th; Glass Mask Theatre, Dublin; 6pm;

Take a talented group of actor-writers, give them 10 minutes each, and watch them come up with some stunning theatre over two days in this special festival of short drama, written and performed by Clelia Murphy, Rex Ryan, Emily Gilmour Murphy, Ian Toner, Aine Ryan, Keith-James Walker, Darren Donohue, Kate Gilmore and Christopher O’Sullivan. Over a runtime of 90 minutes, the players will condense all of life and death in short, sharp 10-minute vignettes, and every seat will be a front-row seat as audience members sit at a table for the festival. There are pre-show food and drinks, and an opportunity to stay after the shows and chat with the actors and writers — no aloof artists here. When these performers become big stars, you can say you had a drink with them.


Dogs aka Sean Millar and Nick Kelly

Thursday, August 18th; De Barra’s, Clonakilty, Co Cork; 8.30pm; €12;

House-sitting can end in disaster — see Rowan Atkinson in Man v Bee — but when singer-songwriter Sean Millar offered to mind his friend’s house — and a big, exuberant German shepherd — in west Clare, it ended in a fruitful musical collaboration, and an unusual trip to Glastonbury. Millar invited his mate Nick Kelly, formerly of The Fat Lady Sings, down to the house in Miltown Malbay, and the pair co-wrote some cracking new tunes together, including Old Dog Young Dog, described as Laurel Canyon comes to Lahinch. Rather than do the usual rock ‘n’ roll tour using gas-guzzling tour buses and private jets, the pair wanted to tour in a more sustainable way, so they came up with the Song Cycle to Glastonbury, in which Kelly cycled to Worthy Farm and Millar took the old-fashioned railway, both stopping off at various towns along the way to play gigs before performing a triumphant set at the festival. Now the pair are playing a show in west Cork, and as you’ll see when you rock on down there, there’s musical life in these old dogs still.


Thursday, August 18th; O’Reilly Theatre, Dublin; 6.30pm; €10/€15/€20;

Ramparts are an all-male choir from Dublin who like to sing everything from trad ballads to pop classics, and from barbershop to classical — all a cappella. With a repertoire that includes songs such as On Raglan Road, The Flying Pickets’s tune Only You, California Dreamin’ and Country Roads, this bunch of lads make choral music fun — just watch the video of them performing Rocky Road to Dublin at the Stag’s Head pub and you’ll be swept up in the sheer enthusiasm (and talent). The Ramparts are putting on their bow ties and braces for a special concert at the O’Reilly Theatre in Dublin, and they’ll be pulling out old favourites and new arrangements of the songs you know and love so well.

Paolo Nutini

Sunday, August 21st, and Monday 22nd; Milk Market, Limerick; 7pm; from €49.50;

It’s been eight years since the Scottish singer-songwriter’s last album, Caustic Love, but he’s coming back bigger and bolder than ever in 2022 with his latest record, Last Night in the Bittersweet, which apparently is influenced by Krautrock bands such as Can and Neu. This I gotta hear. Whatever the influence, Nutini is in as fine, full-throated voice as ever, and playing two nights in Limerick’s Milk Market, on Sunday, 21st August, and Monday 22nd August, before heading up to Dublin for a sold-out 3Olympia gig on Wednesday, August 24th. All gigs are sold out, so looks like everyone else is glad to have him back too.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist