From ‘Priest to Pixies – 11 Unmissable Gigs This March

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Pixies (Olympia Theatre, Dublin, March 8/9/10)

Now, pretty much an annual appearance on these shores – this year, Black Francis and co are in overdrive, playing Dublin at different ends of the year and Galway in between. Dublin’s Olympia Theatre is the place to see them, but if that doesn’t work out for you head to the Galway Summer Sessions in Carnmore East in August, Custom House Square in Belfast or Dublin’s RDS Simmonscourt Arena the same month. The March gigs, at the Olympia, will be a celebration of early ‘90s albums Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde.

The Smile (3Arena, Dublin, March 7)

Radiohead side project – to give them, the obvious lazy introduction – The Smile (featuring Radiohead members Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke) come to Dublin in early March to push 2nd album Wall of Eyes.

Rick Astley (SSE Arena, Belfast, March 4; 3Arena, Dublin, March 5)

Now firmly reinvented as a cult/nostalgia/ironically cool act – what with his Glastonbury rebirth, vast musical playability, AC/DC covers and Dave Grohl associations – this is bigger than expected and better than even the late 80s version.

Lyra (Nationwide; Selected Dates: Nerve Centre, Derry, March 2; Milk Market, Limerick, March 9; Waterfront Studio, Belfast, March 10; Olympia Theatre, Dublin, March 15; INEC Club, Killarney, March 31)

The Cork-born singer-songwriter du jour promotes her long-awaited debut full album with a huge volley of gigs around the country during March. Arklow, Trim, Monaghan, Cavan, Drogheda, Sligo and Castlebar get look ins along with bigger dates in Killarney, Dublin, Derry, Belfast, Limerick, Galway and Dublin.

Judas Priest (3Arena, Dublin, March 15)

Is it just us or has Metal taken itself a bit too seriously for a bit too long?! If you’re of a certain age and prefer a bit of pantomime, this one is definitely for you. It’s been nearly 15 years since Priest last played Dublin, so this is overdue. Originally due back here a few years back as a double-header with Ozzy Osbourne, Priest finally make it on their own in support of pending new album Invincible Shield. The last time Priest were here, it was headlining the Priest Feast tour – with Megadeth and Testament in support. This is the European Metal Masters Tour. A proper old school line-up is complemented by Uriah Heep and the mighty Saxon, who are pushing their new album Hell, Fire and Damnation.

Sunn O))) (National Concert Hall, Dublin, March 25)

The NCH continues its adventurous booking policy. No room for John O’Conor or Finghin Collins on the 25th; as American drone metal specialists Sunn O))) literally wobble the foundations of Earlsfort Terrace with their unique brand of ambient, drone, reverb metal. Touring this year as a duo, only, featuring founding members Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson. If your foot is tapping by the end of the show, it probably means you’re having a stroke.

Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators (3Arena, Dublin, March 28)

This is how to do a side project; which pretty much eclipses each artist’s primary bands these days. This gig forms part of the world tour in support of Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash’s fourth solo album (helpfully titled 4) with Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy and his Conspirators as his side band.

Simple Minds (3Arena, Dublin, March 18; SSE Arena, Belfast, March 19)

How long can Jim Kerr and co keep the nostalgia bus on the road? Forever, apparently….

The Jesus & Mary Chain (Olympia Theatre, Dublin, March 25)

Still going strong, the brothers Reid return this month with new album Glasgow Eyes. Is it as good as classics like Psychocandy, Automatic and Stoned and Dethroned? Don’t know, probably not, but who cares they’re playing the Olympia on the 25th, and that’s good enough.

The Gaslight Anthem (Olympia Theatre, Dublin, March 29/30)

Some 15 years after their debut album The ’59 Sound, 14 years after their Irish debut at Dublin’s Academy and 9 and a bit years after their last album, New Jersey’s best Springsteen tribute band (a tad unfair, but they DO wear their inspirations heavily on their collective sleeve) are back with new album History Books and a 2-night stand at the Olympia.

John Mayer (3Arena, Dublin, March 29)

Mayer brings his hugely successful recent solo acoustic US tour across the Atlantic for a European trek, stopping off in Dublin at the end of the month.

Honourable mentions: DJ Shadow (The Academy, Dublin, March 28), Jason Derulo (3Arena, Dublin, March 14), Chris Shiflett (The Academy, Dublin, March 20), The Stranglers (Ulster Hall, Belfast, March 11; Olympia Theatre, Dublin, March 12); Gipsy Kings feat. Nicolas Reyes (Olympia Theatre, Dublin, March 18)

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