by / December 19th, 2013 /

State’s Gigs of 2013

So, as December’s blade whittles 2013 away to dust, we are left with memories of a remarkable year in music. David Bowie and Daft Punk both re-emerged with new music, as did Pixies, My Bloody Valentine and countless other audio gargantuans and sonic curios. It was a year when many new acts, such as Disclosure and Little Green Cars, pitched their stalls in order to hold the prime cultural real estate for 2014. With one eye on the future State looks back at the gigs we were lucky enough to catch and brings you what we considered to be the highlight of the last year’s live performances.

As usual, we tried to make the list as comprehensive as possible but such was the year that was in it, we’ve had to leave some memorable gigs out… but for all of those who aren’t included, we salute them, we thank them and we sincerely hope to see them again next year. In classic alphabetical order we are delighted to bring you State’s Gigs of The Year for 2013. Enjoy.

And So I Watch You From Afar – Castlepalooza, Charleville Castle, August

That ASIWYFA head this list is perhaps no surprise, the question is just which of their many, many gigs to chose from. Castlepalooza was definitely a special moment, though, living proof of the huge leap forward the band had made with their third album. No longer just a spectacle to admire, now they grab your emotions too. (PU)

Alt-J – Olympia, Dublin, May

The weight of expectation was simply ignored, a pin sharp set, humorous covers (Kylie and College) and all the beauty of the album borne aloft effortlessly. (SR)

Beyoncé – O2, Dublin, May

The spectacle of The Mrs Carter Show world tour rolled into town and left lucky attendees safe in the knowledge that they’d just witnessed the greatest pop star of the modern era in her prime. A stunning band, mesmerising choreography, a dazzling stage setup – and at the centre of it all, the undisputed Queen of Pop. “Who run the world?” Beyoncé, that’s who. (EB)

Bobby Womack – Olympia Theatre, Dublin, July

On a hot and sultry summer’s night in July, soul survivor number one Bobby Womack hit Dublin town on his warm down lap after his Glastonbury triumph. He opened with his calling card, Across 110th Street, and things just got better and better. A near flawless performance from a legendary performer. (PD)

Bruce Springsteen – Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, July

No matter how often you hear of his live prowess, the sheer majesty of a top of the game Springsteen gig still takes your breath away. The penultimate night of the Wrecking Ball European tour was just that, the sights and sounds of hugely experienced musicians putting the world to rights and enjoying themselves hugely in the process. And now we learn there’s a new album to come in January. Book us a ticket now. (PU)

Charles Hayward – The Joinery, Dublin, October

Standing mere feet away from the performer creates an intimacy between audience and artist, and this is the forum by which art should really be scrutinised. We don’t go to galleries to look at picture from 500 meters away, after all. Without lights, glitz or make-up, sans preening, no costume changes, this is performance. This is the soul of the man, drummer in seminally influential This Heat, who even now sound like they’re from the future, laid out for everyone to see. Amid the virtuosity is mischief, intelligence, no little charm, and the sheer, unbridled joy, of watching someone who’s very good at a thing, doing that thing, and living that thing is a such a way as we live it with him. Delicious. Big shout out to Enthusiastic Eunuch. (DH)

Chic feat. Nile Rodgers – Forbidden Fruit, Dublin, June

A Party in a Bag, as constituted by Chic’s movable feast. Or, as the case may be, a party in a field. The inimitable Nile Rodgers and his travelling festivities arrived in Kilmainham armed with an unrivaled arsenal of party anthems; outgunning every other act on the bill. Each song, seemingly designed to magnify and prolong the summer sun, ensured that the mid evening set wasn’t just the highlight of the weekend, it was possibly the highlight of the summer. (SD)

Chromatics – The Village, Dublin, June

Chromatics don’t need a link with Refn’s movie ‘Drive’ to set them on a journey through the neon-sprawl-at-night, they ooze it from every pore regardless. What could be a glossy surface runs deep, all the words and synth atmospherics made flesh – Johnny Jewel with his clown tears and Ruth Radelet’s stoic narrator write the after-dark movie of your life, on the spot before you and it’s all you can do to remember to keep your jaw from falling open. (SR)

Daughn Gibson – Whelans, Dublin, November

Only a handful of people caught Daughn Gibson’s first ever gig on these shores. Should justice be done and Gibson attain the level of success he deserves, that number may well increase via the selective memory process as the nation’s ne’er do wells stake a claim on being there. See Graham Mooney’s review here (SD)

David Byrne & St. Vincent – Electric Picnic, Stradbally, August

Encompassing back to back Talking Heads hits with more recent material from their collaborative album, David Byrne & St. Vincent’s performance had it all, including a spectacular brass band providing the backing music. (DD)

Dexys – Olympia Theatre, Dublin, May

Once again Kevin Rowland and Dexys brushed themselves down and produced magic in front of an Irish audience. For those who missed them at Electric Picnic in 2012 this was the chance not to be missed. For those who just went ahead and missed it, take this as a final warning; you have been served. (SD)

Disclosure – Roskilde Festival, Denmark, July

With the album barely cool from the pressing plant we were hoping for a few hundred to show up at a campsite stage on the opening evening of Roskilde. As the brothers walk onstage in daylight there must be at least 6000 people gathered around a huge inflatable pumpkin with an ark of invisible-in-daytime lights reaching out each side. But as the sky darkened, the space lit up and Disclosure started dropping bigger tracks the 6000 swelled with a festival crowd just baying for a release to properly kick-off the four-day event. ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ became a mass swaying singalong, ‘Latch’ was massive, with probably more people singing and dancing along than had bought the song worldwide at that point. But it was getting caught blindsided by ‘White Noise’ that lives with us. It was the point where the dark took over, the lights burst into visible life and every single person in a 500 metre radius channelled all they had, up and up till the drop, and then boom – this massive rock festival lost itself to dance. (SR)

Ennio Morricone – Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, July

The spritely 84 year old Maestro brought a 97 piece Roma Sinfonietta with him and the host town provided its very own 100 strong Dublin Gospel choir for a night of movie music magic. Witnessing the majesty and beauty of pieces like L’Estasi dell’Oro (The Ecstasy of the Gold) and the choral sections from The Mission on such an epic scale was a humbling experience that few of those who were lucky enough to witness will forget. A little glimpse of heaven in a damp Irish summer’s garden. (PD)

Evening Songs – Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, May

Okay, so it may have been our own fifth birthday bash but that didn’t stop this being a truly special occasion. The setting, the atmosphere the combination of the UCD Choral Scholars and Ham Sandwich, Heathers and Young Wonder – all added up to quite a night. Why, we might even do it again next year. (PU)

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  • Ronan McGreevy

    No metal gigs. Would have thought Slayer in the Academy should have been on the list.