Music preview: Steve Aoki @ The Arches, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Sunday (1 April), 7pm, £14, The Arches, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 565 1000. www.thearches.co.uk

VIDEO: Steve Aoki ft. LMFAO & NERVO - Livin' My Love (Wonderland, 2012)

When’s the last time you did anything exciting on a Sunday?

Scary, thinking of all those hours you’ve lost vegging out on the sofa in some fragile state, isn’t it?

Well now’s probably a good time to tell you about Steve Aoki – the electro-house maestro who’s coming to Glasgow in a couple of nights.

Known for his energetic live sets and sizzling remixes, the American DJ and producer arrives at The Arches on the back of the release of his debut studio album, Wonderland.

Aoki’s been setting dancefloors alight all over the world since founding his Dim Mak record label back in 1996; TiĆ«sto and LMFAO are among the big names who’ve collaborated with him in recent years.

So please, let’s do something exciting this Sunday – and make sure we’re not this year’s April Fools.

Comedy preview: Ardal O'Hanlon @ King's Theatre, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (29 March), 7.30pm, £21, King's Theatre, Glasgow. Tel: 0844 871 7648. www.ambassadortickets.com/glasgow

VIDEO: Ardal O'Hanlon on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow (BBC One, 2010)

Those Glasgow International Comedy Festival (GICF) posters you see around town will soon be recycled. The event’s performers will hit the road again, while its temporary staff will find other work.

And unless you pull your finger out before it finishes on Sunday, you will go on with your dull life – bereft of the laughter it has provided to many over the past two weeks.

Tonight you could really do with heading down to King’s Theatre, where Ardal O’Hanlon – a GICF highlight – will be telling jokes on stage.

You’ll recognise this doe-eyed Irishman from TV shows such as Father Ted and My Hero, or, since, as a multi-award-winning stand-up comedian.

Now in its tenth year, the GICF is continuing its good work – and a Thursday evening with this funnyman wouldn’t be a bad time for you to become a part of it.


Theatre preview: Bated Breath @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Published by METRO

Tonight (22 March) until Saturday (24 March), 8pm, £6-£10, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 228 1404/226 2666. www.traverse.co.uk

The first thing you noticed about Miss O’Brien was her manic stare. Then probably her crooked fingernails.

But by far what was most striking about this woman was her incompetence as a drama teacher.

If there were ever anyone in need of an utterly banal piece of theatre – often involving a poorly-scripted exploration of social issues such as teenage pregnancy, drug abuse or homosexuality, hyperbolised with lots of blackouts – then you could be sure she’d send along a small army of school pupils to do the job.

It’s likely that the final year Directing students of Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University once suffered their own Miss O’Briens.

However, unlike me and my old class, they’ve remained focused on perfecting their craft – and the fruits of their labour will soon be made public.

In collaboration with Edinburgh-based artists, Telford College acting students and The Traverse Young Writers Group, they present Bated Breath – six different plays appearing across three nights.

‘After four hard working years, being given the opportunity to showcase our work is the ultimate highlight of our degrees,’ said Susan Robertson, whose When The Clock Strikes is staged tomorrow night.

‘We’re also looking forward to seeing each others’ performances as, at the moment, they remain a mystery!’

Running until Saturday, these 30-minute snippets express feelings of worry, expectation and disillusionment among young people raised with the dreams of the 1990s.

And they could hardly come at a more suitable venue. As Scotland’s new writing theatre, the Traverse has helped mature the careers of playwrights such as Liz Lochhead, John Byrne and Gregory Burke over the years.

So it seems that this promising new generation is in good hands this week.


Theatre preview: Barflies @ Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (14 March) until Saturday (17 March), 9pm, £15 (concs £11), Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 552 4267. www.tron.co.uk

It’s a highlight of Tron Theatre’s spring season, but Barflies stands out for another reason.

Yes – this award-winning play represents a fleeting moment in my career where I can enjoy a bottle of wine as I write a preview and call it ‘research’.

You see, Charles Bukowski – whose short stories and poems this piece draws from – was a pretty big drinker.

The late author often credited whichever beverage happened to be sat next to his typewriter for the successes of his gritty works, which illuminated the routines of the lowlives he encountered during his many years working menial jobs in Los Angeles.

These boozy tales stagger from the page to the stage this evening, as a moving exploration of drunkenness unfolds around Bukowski’s alter-ego – depraved nihilist Henry Chinaski.

Presented by Edinburgh theatre company Grid Iron, Barflies captures all the humour, horror and hope of intoxication in gripping fashion. Just ask any member of its sell-out audiences at the 2009 Fringe.

‘We’re really looking forward to bringing Barflies to the Tron, not just because its Victorian Bar is a fantastic setting for the play, but also because it’s been eight whole years since Grid Iron last performed in Glasgow – so we’re delighted to be back,’ said Grid Iron chief executive Judith Doherty.

‘And it’s great to finish off the Scottish bit of the tour in a city with Bukowski-related bars, like Chinaski’s and Black Sparrow.’

So here you have a preview, and I an empty bottle. But does that mean you owe me one? Nah, I’ll just settle for seeing you at the show tonight – after my post-daytime drinking nap, that is.


Musical preview: Carnival Du Vampires Rock @ Edinburgh Playhouse

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Tonight (12 March), 7.30pm, £26, The Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh. Tel: 0870 606 3424. www.edinburghplayhouse.org.uk

VIDEO: Vampires Rock 2008 Tour - 'Welcome To The Jungle'

Do I know you? Oh yes, that’s right – you’re that guy who’s down the pub at the end of my street every night.

I’ve been meaning to inform you – though I’m too scared to do so in person – that Highway To Hell and Sweet Child O’ Mine are not the only songs available on the jukebox.

You know what I think you need? A change of scene.

Tonight you can sing along to all your favourite classic rock anthems in a spectacular musical at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

Featuring some superb performers and fabulous outfits, Carnival Du Vampires Rock tells the story of an evil nightclub owner (played by show creator Steve Steinman) who’s on the lookout for a new bride.

And to make things even cooler, it’s set in New York – in the year 2030.

It’s the event your brand new air guitar strings have been waiting for, so how about it?


Theatre preview: Chow Mein & Hex @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Published by METRO

Tonight (8 March) until Saturday (10 March), 8pm, £15 (concs £6-11), Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 228 1404/226 2666. www.traverse.co.uk

‘The less you know going in, the better,’ tweeted author Neil Gaiman about this show.

Really? OK, let’s say you turn up either tonight, Friday or Saturday. You only know its title. What would you expect to see?

Correct, you’d have absolutely no idea. And in an era of pay freezes and rising living costs, does Gaiman think you’ll take a punt like this? What year does he think it is – 2006?

It also seems to have slipped his mind that there are people out there – like me – who are employed to inform you lot about stuff like this.

So I reckon there are a few things you ought to know before reaching for your wallet.

Firstly, it’s a double bill of dark comedy plays.

Penned by Tim Primrose, Chow Mein focuses on Terry and Susan – a couple who’ve been getting the same Chinese takeaway for three years. They’re comfortable with their lives and each other, until they receive a strange surprise with an order.

Hex takes place in the ‘perfect’ home of Gwen and Toby, who, despite their material wealth, are discontent with life. Co-written by Primrose and Sam Siggs, this quirky satire lampoons our obsession with seeking inner calm.

Chow Mein and Hex have enjoyed great successes as stand-alone plays at previous Fringes, but the inspired decision to combine them into an evening of provocative humour at the Traverse was taken by Edinburgh theatre company Strangetown.

Maybe I was a little harsh on Gaiman. After all, he’s got your best interests at heart – as have I – and we both strongly recommend this most intriguing work of drama.


Music preview: Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings @ O2 ABC, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (6 March), 7pm, £19.50, O2 ABC, Glasgow. Tel: 0844 477 2000. www.o2abcglasgow.co.uk

VIDEO: Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights (100 Days, 100 Nights, 2007)

I don’t remember the late 1960s and early 1970s. Perhaps you can enlighten me – was it all how it appears on the picture-postcards?

Did mulleted men really pose in their denim shirts and corduroy flares, like this? Oh wait, that’s a photo of me from 2002. Pretend you didn’t see that.

Anyway, if you have similar questions of these mystical years, here’s a band that can provide some musical answers.

Having made it their mission to unearth the spirit of this golden era through their infectious brand of soul and funk, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings will inspire some head-bopping, hip-shaking and foot-tapping at O2 ABC tonight.

The Brooklyn ten-piece got together back in the early noughties, and have since become renowned for their memorable live shows.

With the divine vocals of former church gospel singer Jones and the disciplined grooves of The Dap-Kings, it’s really no wonder.

Using only instruments from the magical decade they evoke – to retain that authentic sound – this group is as close to the real thing as you’re going to get.

And at £19.50, way cheaper than a pair of vintage Serengeti sunglasses.