Set for a fine summer at the Marquee

Among the acts playing Live at the Marquee 2013 in Cork are, clockwise from left: Elton John, Elvis Costello, Sting and ZZ Top.

From a reformed Boomtown Rats to a newly-energised Sting via reconstituted hard rock veterans ZZ Top, Live at the Marquee 2013 offers one of the most intriguing line-ups yet for the annual series of concerts in Cork. Here are some of the highlights:

Olly Murs, June 12

A rare X Factor graduate whose career has lasted longer than the lifespan of a gnat, Murs comes to Cork having sold out two night at Dublin’s O2. While his pop is slick and a little broad, Murs himself is likeable sort, straight out of cheeky chap central casting, and does a decent live show.

Elton John, June 23

Largely disdaining the glib pop he cranked out through the 1980s Elton John has re-engaged with the more experimental music crafted in the ’70s. His two most recent records give you a sense of where he’s at: 2010’s The Union was a collaboration with songwriter Leon Russell; the forthcoming The Diving Board was produced by roots figure T Bone Burnett.

Elvis Costello and the Imposters, June 26

Several months ago, Elvis Costello delighted the O2 with his carnival-inspired Spinning Songbook show. His most recent record, 2010’s National Treasure, was recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles with contributions from country figures Buddy Miller and Vince Gill.

ZZ Top, June 27

Supporting La Futura, their first album in nine years, ZZ Top are back on the road. As with any band with a record to plug, the set-list is sprinkled with new tracks, but does include the hits. Performing in Florida recently they had a polite request for fans: no drinking while they were singing their gospel-inspired selections. It remains to be seen how well that will go down here.

The National, June 28

The National are one of those American outfits who have stumbled into mainstream success a good decade into their career. From obscure beginnings in Brooklyn, the five piece’s doleful sound will not be to all tastes. Nonetheless, their fanbase can be expected to swell further with the release of their (as yet untitled) sixth LP in May.

Sting, July 1

Sting won back many fans when he reformed the Police for a 2007 victory lap. But he scared just as many away again with his schmaltzy reworking of his catalogue. He returns to first principals with his Back To Bass tour, wherein he will dip into his 35-year catalogue of hits.

Bell X1, July 4

You can count on Bell X1 to deliver a decent album every two years or so and, like clockwork, the Kildare trio are finalising their sixth longplayer, Chop Chop. Recorded in Connecticut with producer Thomas Bartlett, this show will be the first chance for Cork fans to hear it live.

The Boomtown Rats, July 5

The Boomtown Rats will play their first Irish show since their farewell concert at the 1986 Self-Aid benefit.

“We fancied getting up there and playing those songs again for the sheer joy of it and we hope some of you would like to hear them from the band that made them,” Bob Geldof explained recently.

Jessie J, July 7

Logistical difficulties forced the postponement of the first of the Londoner’s two Live at the Marquee shows in 2012 (a “trucking problem” was the official explanation). Twelve months on, you hope her crew are better prepared. Otherwise known as Jessica Cornish, the 24-year-old released her debut album, Who You Are, all of two years ago but she has made a modest songbook go a long way. This is her third time touring the record and the first where she will be stopping off at arenas. If gobby pop is your thing, high-kicking Cornish promises to be a highlight of the event.


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