Ireland’s biggest winter festival returns to the RDS after a stellar debut outing.
Chic, Hot Chip and Le Galaxie were the highlights of a serious couple of days’ dancing in Donnybrook last year – but who will this year’s standouts be? Here’s our picks.
DJ SHADOW – Thursday
It’s been a big 2016 for the sampling maestro, releasing new album The Mountain Will Fall during the summer before celebrating the 20th anniversary of the iconic Endtroducing… with the Endtroducing Re-Emagined project, which features reworks by the likes of Hudson Mohawke. Expect to hear these reworks throughout a set that The Guardian describes as “an enjoyably bumpy safari into his current musical vision.”
Listen: Midnight in a Perfect World
GIRL BAND – Friday
Local boys Girl Band enjoyed a breakout 2015, releasing debut album Holding Hands With Jamie after building up a serious buzz around their relentless – but sporadic – live shows. Their marriage of punk and shoegaze textures to techno structures propelled them to a headline gig at Vicar Street earlier this year – don’t miss this rare chance to catch them again.
Listen: Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?
JESSY LANZA – Friday
The Hamilton, Ontario native honed her live shows while touring the world with fellow Canadians Caribou – you may recognise her voice from “Second Chance” off their album Our Love. Second album Oh No earned critical plaudits for her slick, house-tinged pop – catch her in conversation in the Concert Hall before her intimate Serpentine Hall set at 8:45.
Listen: It Means I Love You
MODERAT – Friday
The enduring supercollaboration between Berlin producers Modeselektor and Apparat released their third album, III, earlier this year. Apparat man Sascha Ring’s glorious vocals are at the core of their subtle yet expansive electronic soul sound that will have no trouble filling the Main Hall for their headline set.
Listen: Bad Kingdom
NEW JACKSON – Friday
Dubliner David Kitt’s house project New Jackson has been responsible for some of the best downtempo jams to come out of Ireland in recent years. Debut single “The Night Mail” set a strong precedent and was matched by sprawling 2014 release “Having a Coke With You”. This may be one of the last times we see Kitt in this guise for a while as he releases his first solo album in seven years on January 1st.
Listen: Having a Coke With You
SHURA – Saturday
Alexandra Denton traded in a youth football career with Manchester City to join the likes of Shamir, Years & Years and Christine & The Queens at the vanguard of queer pop. “Anxiety anthems” is how she describes her songs, where her writing on experiences of panic attacks is married to an upbeat, disco-tinged sound. Don’t miss her Main Hall set.
Listen: Nothing’s Real
FATIMA YAMAHA – Saturday
Dutch producer Bas Bron revived his semi-mythical Fatima Yamaha project after seminal track What’s a Girl To Do reached a new wave of popularity on the backs of promotion from the likes of Bicep and Hudson Mohawke. The track – originally released on Dublin’s D1 Recordings label – earned itself a re-release and the #1 spot on Resident Advisor’s tracks of the year countdown. New album Imaginary Lines is pretty tasty too.
Listen: Love Invaders
GRACE JONES – Saturday
Grace Jones’ pair of gigs in the Olympia in September – shot for her upcoming biopic – are already spoken of in hushed and reverent tones by those lucky enough to attend, and some even luckier who spotted the indomitable icon partying in the Workman’s Club afterwards. While those shows’ unique stage design won’t survive, the RDS can expect to see the 69-year old hula-hooping while topless and covered in body paint regardless.
Listen: Slave to the Rhythm
SAUL WILLIAMS – Saturday
Fresh from touring incendiary album MartyrLoserKing, the New York actor/rapper/poet drops by for a spoken word set, one year after headlining Dublin’s Lingo Festival. While musically Williams’ confrontation of authority can be a bit too Banksy-esque at times, he’s at the top of the spoken word game. His presidential air and bewitching stage presence are matched by an impeccable flow – treat your brain and catch him in the Concert Hall at 7pm.