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AU56: Most Wanted

May 1, 2009

Usually, the incomparable Ross Thompson does these, but occasionally editor Fra and I chip in. This was one of those times.

THE SPIN DOCTORS

Far into the future, when the dust finally settles on the New Labour years, Armando Iannucci’s BBC sitcom The Thick Of It will be revered much as Yes, Minister is now. Iannucci used every inch of his scalpel-like intellect and comedy chops on shows like The Day Today and I’m Alan Partridge, among many others, to craft a comedy that treated the viewer with intelligence and used farce, razor-sharp dialogue and the know-how of political insiders to strip away the polished veneer of Blair’s government. Star Chris Langham’s conviction on child pornography charges didn’t even derail it totally, as it returned for a bash at the Tories in opposition, and now it is back in another guise, with In The Loop, a feature film looking at the ‘Special Relationship’ between Washington and Whitehall, hitting cinema screens. Starring James Gandolfini and Steve Coogan and allowing Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison to reprise their roles from The Thick Of It, it may just be the British movie of the year.

IN THE LOOP IS SHOWING DAILY AT QUEEN’S FILM THEATRE, BELFAST, UNTIL MAY 7

DEACON’S CREW

Dan Deacon recently told AU of his plans to ditch the one-man show and put together an ‘ensemble’ to bring his weird, experimental, electronic pop to glorious life. And lo! he has done just that. Cuddly Dan is in the midst of a huge tour, which is due to make a stop at Dublin’s Andrew’s Lane Theatre on June 3. If you’ve seen Deacon live before, make sure you don’t miss this – it’s going to be entirely different to a ‘normal’ Dan Deacon show. And if you haven’t, you’re in for the mother of all treats. Bromst is a psychedelic wonder of an album, and the prospect of it being recreated live by a 15-strong group of musicians is absolutely mouth-watering.

DAN DEACON & ENSEMBLE PLAY ANDREW’S LANE THEATRE, DUBLIN ON JUNE 3

DEER, OH DEER

Irish fans have been waiting longer than they’d hoped for Atlanta, Georgia’s Deerhunter to make their return to these shores. The band were pencilled in for gigs in Belfast and Dublin in early March but these had to be postponed, and late this month the gigs will finally take place, at the Black Box and Whelan’s respectively. The band successfully followed up 2007’s breakthrough record Cryptograms with last year’s Microcastle, as satisfying an indie-rock record as 2008 had to offer. With a setlist taking in these two stellar records and more, and boasting one of the most intense and intriguing frontman around in Bradford Cox, these shows promise much.

DEERHUNTER PLAY THE BLACK BOX, BELFAST ON MAY 21 AND WHELAN’S, DUBLIN ON MAY 22

BOB, BOB, BOBBING ALONG

Since 1988, Bob Dylan has played well over 2000 shows on the so-called Never Ending Tour, and this month he’s back in Ireland once more, as he wraps up his current European jaunt with two shows at Dublin’s O2 (formerly the Point Theatre). Never afraid of playing the classics, His Bobness nevertheless has a penchant for fiddling with the songs, almost to the point of making them unrecognisable. So a Dylan gig can be as much an exercise in Name That Tune as anything else. But Never Ending Tour or not, it’s not every day that a bona fide rock legend turns up, so you’d be a crazy fool to miss these shows. You never know when the tour might end, after all.

BOB DYLAN PLAYS THE O2, DUBLIN ON MAY 5 AND 6.

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