by / December 23rd, 2016 /

Lists: State’s Gigs of 2016

Between festival main stages and dark, sweaty back rooms, it’s been a fairly lucrative year for the Irish gig goer. Homegrown acts have been propelled to lofty new live heights, while our shores were graced by many longtime favourites and international breakout acts. Luckily, State’s team of writers and photographers are an exceptionally talented bunch and were kind enough to write of their favourite gigs of 2016. We’re truly blessed to have such a diverse (and opinionated) community of music lovers to work with, and as always, look forward to reading and publishing their work in to 2017 and beyond.

Read on, live music junkies.

All Tvvins – Other Voices, Dingle 

Lucky enough to be in the St James’ Church amongst all the cameras as they recorded, the Dubliner’s cram every ounce of energy into a very short half hour. Wound tight and with a massive live kick, it was a concentrated energy and a real showcase for what they bring to the stage. (Simon Roche)

The Altered Hours – The Kino, Cork 

A triumphant gig celebrating the release of their long-awaited debut album In Heat, Not Sorry. A blistering performance that fed off the love for the band in a sold out Kino. It’s impossible to single out one song from a set that was delivered with such accuracy and such force. One of the best live bands operating in Ireland this year. (Darren Keane)

At The Drive-In – Vicar Street, Dublin

There’s a bit at the end of a fairly humdrum episode of The Simpsons where an impromptu and well-choreographed celebration breaks out and Homer shoots down his wife’s bemusement, noting; “It’s a party, Marge. It doesn’t have to make sense.” Proof of this comes immediately as he is crowned with a lei and handed a drink. The return of At The Drive-In doesn’t have to make sense, either, and good goddamn was their Dublin visit ever a party. Were it a wrestling show, irritating chants of “You’ve still got it!” would have rang out early doors as Cedric Bixler-Zavala turned the clock back to 2000 and brought Relationship of Command to brilliant life once more. And hey, you really can’t ask for more than Bantum materialising out of thin air to hand you a fresh pint the second ‘One Armed Scissor’ kicks in. Thanks again, Ruairi. (Dave Hanratty)

At The Drive-In – Vicar Street, Dublin

In which the El Paso punk legends rose from the ashes sounding – whisper it – even more vital and dynamic than they did all those years ago. Better than it had any right to be. (Hilary A White)

Beyoncé – Croke Park, Dublin

Is Beyoncé a superhero? Standing astride the Croke Park stage, hands on hips, cape flapping in the breeze surveying all in her control it’s hard not to view her as Marvel’s greatest missed opportunity. A superhero that doesn’t need a lasso of truth because she’ll just bloody dish it out to you and serve it to you raw. This year, this horrible torturous year, she served us Lemonade and squashed us into an emotional pulp. Hearing 80,000 mostly female voices screaming ‘BOY BYE’ in unison like a righteous choir with their middle fingers held proudly aloft, the energy bursting around the stadium was so potent and visceral that at that very moment Queen B could have taken the assembled masses to the streets and smashed up the city, creating some kind of Ladytopia. This was an evening of pop at its most powerful. Leaving no-one in any doubt that she came to slay, bitch as she marched onstage to the hypnotic bounce of ‘Formation’. Her troupe of well-drilled dancers flooded the arena as the towering twin screens broadcasting pure Bey-vision bore down on the crowd, pop propaganda has never looked and sounded so damn good. From the acapella powerhouse perfection of ‘Irreplaceable’ and ‘Love on Top’ to the sizzling sensuality of ‘Yonce’ and ‘Drunk in Love’ to the anthemic finale of ‘Freedom’ she skipped through every section of her career with the slick professionalism last seen when Michael Jackson moonwalked himself off into stratospheric superstardom. Sure she may still finish the night with the schmaltzy saccharine ‘Halo’ but at this stage I think everyone agrees that Mrs.Carter has truly earned hers. (Jennifer Gannon)

Bill Ryder-Jones – The Workman’s Club, Dublin

The former Coral guitarist played the Workman’s Club earlier this year. Having overcome some issues with performance anxiety Ryder-Jones showcased material from both his excellent solo records A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart and West Kirby County Primary. There few song writers around today with such a keen sense of melody. His powerful performance on the night suggests he’ll only go from strength to strength now. (Stephen Vaughan)

Cate Le Bon – The Workman’s Club, Dublin

I loved Le Bon’s 2013 album from the first listen and enjoyed it just as much after the millionth time playing it. Seeing her play those songs (and new material from this year’s Crab Tree) was a very special highlight because experiencing these songs live exceeded my expectation and Cate is extremely cool. (Zara Hedderman)

Cathy Davey – Whelan’s, Dublin

A welcome return for Lady Davey, who took a night off from being an animal-welfare heroine to show that all that hay and manure have not dulled her artistry or stage chops one iota. Like flicking on a lightswitch, she and her brilliant backing band put more hard-touring acts to shame. (Hilary A White)

Courtney Barnett – Longitude 2016

Having been a fan since I first heard ‘Avant Gardener’ in 2013 and telling anyone that would listen how great it was, Longitude offered the opportunity (in the sun) for Courtney to prove me right. And she did it all with consummate ease with her brand of slacker rock going down well with the me and Barnett mini fan club I had assembled / blackmailed / threatened. (Graham Mooney)

Courtney Barnett photographed by Kieran Frost

CW Stoneking – Whelans, Dublin

He suited Whelans. It was crowded and there were a few arseholes but even they got wooed as the night went on. All female band – drums, double bass, and sax. Just cracker. (Cara Gibney)

David Kitt – The Sugar Club, Dublin

David Kitt is back with his first album in seven years and its flawless airing earlier this year at the Sugar Club was a thing of beauty. A gripping performer, with ‘new loaves’ to get his teeth into. (Stephen Vaughan)

Death Grips – The Academy, Dublin

No support act, just a continuous drone noise that played for an hour which got the crowd extremely excited. Death Grips’ performance was energetic, exciting and mesmerising. Everything about this gig was perfect. (Zara Hedderman)

Deerhunter – Primavera Sound 2016

This was the second of two Deerhunter sets at the festival. While the first was a thoroughly professional set running through much of their back catalogue, this was an altogether different affair. Improvising for forty minutes, the band then played a twenty minute version of ‘Nothing Ever Happened’, dropping in lines from Patti Smith’s ‘Land’ throughout. This was the high point of an incredible festival and turned a sunlit Catalan courtyard into the best concert venue on Earth for an hour. (Darren Keane)

Dilly Dally – The Workman’s Club, Dublin

The Toronto quartet released their debut, Sore, just over a year ago, and The Workman’s proved the perfect place for this thrashy, grungey good-time gig. They didn’t have much to draw from given the still-to-be-expanded discography, but Dilly Dally played it with more passion than most bands this year – short, sweaty and with shredded vocal chords at the end. (Justin McDaid)

Explosions In The Sky – Vicar Street, Dublin

A great gig. The perfect blend of music and atmosphere. A night where the band held the crowd in the palm of their hand without singing a word. From a whisper to a scream, powerful and emotional. (Graham Mooney)

Fatima Yamaha – District 8, Dublin

There wasn’t an inch of space in District 8 for the at-last success of Bas Bron’s electronic alias. Though visually a fairly tame live act, the sound was massive and euphoria greeted practically every track – and still a standout of the whole year – everyone there bursting into singing the synth riff from ‘What’s A Girl to Do’ louder that he could play it, to Bron’s obvious delight. (Simon Roche)

Pages: 1 2 3 4