Stevie G: Hip-hop gigs welcome back at Marquee

Great news that UK rapper Aitch will play Live At The Marquee 2023, says Stevie G in his Downtown column
Stevie G: Hip-hop gigs welcome back at Marquee

UK rapper, Aitch, will kick off his European tour with a Live at the Marquee gig in June. Picture: Ian West/PA

Hip-hop is coming back to Live at the Marquee. During the early years of Live at the Marquee we welcomed Kanye West (three shows), Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, and 50 Cent, but times have changed and in recent years there’s been a severe lack of big rap shows in Cork city. The nearest we got was Lauryn Hill at Independent Park, but this week it has been announced that UK rapper Aitch touches down for a show.

The popular young UK rapper will kick of his European tour in Cork on June 7, and this event is sure to bring a lot of excitement to the city. In Ireland, many of the new breed of UK rappers are just as popular as the American ones, so it will be interesting to see how this one goes. Cork has been starved of big name hip-hop shows for ages so I’m delighted to see this one coming here. I’m sure he will be joined on the evening by some other acts too and maybe it might even be an opportunity to get some good Irish MCs on the bill. Let’s hope so.

Things have obviously calmed down on the gig front since the jazz weekend but there’s a few other bits that might be of interest. In Cork we have not one, but two, big film festivals and both Indie Cork and the Cork International Film Festival provide interesting music programmes year in year out. I recently watched the excellent North Circular, a documentary about inner city Dublin with a very strong musical line-up of artists such as Gemma Dunleavy, Lisa O’Neill, John Francis Flynn, and many more.

The Cork International Film Festival has got a strong musical line-up too and one of the highlights is certainly going to be the 50th anniversary screening of The Harder they Come. This highly influential movie helped bring reggae music to the world through it’s breakout star Jimmy Cliff, himself a former visitor to Cork too. The film is good but the music soundtrack is even better and it features classics from Jimmy himself, Desmond Dekker, The Melodians, the Maytals, and more. As a bonus, this Friday night, Wavelength at Cyprus Avenue, hosts a bonus post film celebration running late night on the roof, with reggae legend Bellyman making a rare visit back to the city alongside Flipside Selekta. This is going to be a big treat for reggae lovers.

Other special presentations include a Cine Concert in the Triskel featuring composers Irene Buckley and Linda Buckley scoring a newly commissioned version of A Trip to the Moon with students from Coláiste Choilm in Ballincollig. There’s also an intimate documentary on Cesaria Evora and a really cool looking documentary by Omar Acosta called Mixtape, charting the cultural rise and importance of the mixtape in hip-hop culture.

Nano Nagle is hosting the All-Ireland Slam Poetry final on Sunday November 27, featuring 12 poets competing for the title of All-Ireland Slam Poetry champion. The event is a highlight of the Irish spoken word scene, and always produces an amazing night of talent and entertainment. Previously the likes of Stephen James Smith, John Cummins, Feli Speaks, and Julie Goo have competed at this prestigious event. This year’s event will be MC’d by Stanley Notte, a multiple slam competition winner, and it will feature a guest performance by reigning All-Ireland champion Shaunna Lee Lynch. It should be a great event.

I’m going to be showcasing my own ‘New School’ event later this month at Cyprus Avenue too, featuring a bunch of emerging young Cork artists. Previously I’ve held events in venues such as Test Site, which continue to programme some amazing arts shows here, so I’m excited about welcoming some of these young artists to the big stage at Cyprus Avenue. I’m working closely with lots of young artists and I believe it will help them greatly by playing in such a prestigious venue.

Speaking of prestigious venues, there continues to be a high turnover of venues in Cork. I mentioned recently that the Pavilion is now re-opened with a snazzy new re-fit, and there’s also a new lease of life arriving for another venue once much loved by Corkonians. The Liberty bar has had a wonderful new makeover and could prove to be a very nice option for both live music and DJs in Cork city.

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