by / December 18th, 2015 /

Lists: State’s Gigs of 2015

As we approach the culmination of another year here at State Towers, we’ve had plenty to reflect on. There’s still the ‘Year In Review’ to come, but that by no means detracts from the significance of a year well spent surfing sonic waves in venues, fields and sweat-drenched halls across the globe; taking in some of our favourite bands of all time, in some cases playing some of our favourite gigs of all time (so far..). From electro parties to all-out celebrations of rock’n’roll, darkened indie gatherings to glorious festival moments, here are State’s Gigs of 2015. See you on the other side…

All Tvvins – Whelan’s, Dublin

So far All Tvvins have matched the level of hype attached to them since their inception in 2013 and this gig upon Whelan’s main stage was a perfect example of this. A flawless performance of alternative pop songs that already sounded ready for a bigger stage. (Stephen D’Arcy)

Alabama Shakes – Olympia Theatre, Dublin

From Brittany Howard’s ability as a front woman, the tightness of the band, the strength of the songs and the overall performance from Alabama Shakes, it was impossible to not be amazed at how good a gig this was. Support act Michael Kiwanuka was also a definite highlight. (Stephen D’Arcy)

Anton Newcombe & Tess Parks – The Sugar Club, Dublin

As the main man in the acid-fried Brian Jonestown Massacre, Anton Newcombe was a cult figure. He was three parts genius, one part relic, two parts victim of his own volition. As the lead name in Anton Newcombe & Tess Parks he is a band-leader and main songwriter but as a pair they are everything you want them to be – sleazy, fucked-up, detached – all the cool things Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and Keith Moon were in the ’60s and ’70s. Specifically those four because as you watched Newcombe and Parks on stage in The Sugar Club you couldn’t have asked for a more evocative pairing where matters of – and I hate this – “cool” are concerned. Eugh. (Steven Dunne)

And So I Watch You From Afar – Mandela Hall, Belfast

It’s always a special occasion to see an Irish band return in a blaze of glory after an extensive time touring across the continents. ASIWYFA at the Mandela Hall was the culmination of a new album’s worth of emotions, spread globally for half a year, and condensed into one, inimitable riot of an evening. And that’s saying something in Belfast.. (Aaron Drain)

BC Camplight – The Vintage Room, Workman’s Club, Dublin

There are not many gigs where the artist will attempt to mix a cocktail in front of you but BC Camplight isn’t just any artist, and if he wants to shake a carton of Sqeez apple juice into your face, whilst telling you about witnessing vagrants having sex in a doorway, you’ll let him. With the atmosphere like that of an after hours lock-in or that electric frisson that hits at 5am at a random houseparty, the assembled crowd in the cosy surroundings of the Workman’s Club Vintage Room knew that they were in on some kind of special secret. Part Harry Nilsson, part Hunter S. Thompson with a splash of Brian Wilson – BC Camplight is a straight up old school troubled, troubadour on the rocks. This, a solo show, saw him bash out his heartbreaking tales of sour love and disappointment with only the accompaniment of an organ, but he managed to fill the room with the beauty of his roughed up noir-pop. Peppering the night with tales of hard luck and wry misfortune he’s a fascinating raconteur with the world weary drollness of a drunken Bill Murray. The real brilliance contained in the tracks from the achingly beautiful How to Die in the North are the switchblade of his lyrics cutting through the lushness of his ’70s style melodies. An artist that thoroughly deserves to bask in the warmth of the spotlight – hopefully next year BC Camplight will finally be invited in from the cold. (Jennifer Gannon)

Beck – Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin

He proved it at Electric Picnic in 2014, then he came back and proved it once more at Kilmainham in the summer of 2015 – Beck Hansen may well be the greatest showman of them all. It was a more stripped back set-up than Electric Picnic – just Beck, his band, and a set with more funk, rock, disco, and soul than any one man should be able to channel. As he tore down the crime scene tape he’d stretched across the front of the stage after the band demolished the main set with ‘E-Pro’, Donna Summer, The Sugarhill Gang, The Stones, Axel F and whatever else they decided to break off into all bubbled to the surface of Beck’s miscellany as he finally segued from ‘Where It’s At’ into the blues of ‘One Foot In The Grave’ and back. Performances don’t really come any better than Beck’s genre-hopping spectacular. (Justin McDaid)

Bitch Falcon – The Mercantile, Dublin

The State Faces of 2015 launch show had already been memorable by the time Bitch Falcon arrived to close the night, yet what follows left everyone watching reeling. If the 2014 model had showed promise, they had emerged from the New Year break as a meaner machine and made every single moment count in front of a capacity crowd. They were soon to lose a member but haven’t looked back since. We like to think that this’ll become viewed as one of their key career moments. (Phil Udell / photo Paulo Nuno)


Bjork – Carnegie Hall, New York

Bjork and 15-piece string section Alarm Will Sound guided us through the heartbreaking songs of Vulnicura, laying bare the difficulties in Bjork’s personal life over the last few years, while she obscured her face with strange Pinhead-like headwear. Not an easy show but, with the lyrics projected behind her, one that offered an easier way into some of the more difficult-to-penetrate tracks on the album. As always, even despite the subject matter, Bjork effortlessly creates joy in a huge room. Indeed, not just any room, Carnegie Hall!! (Shane Galvin)

Brand New – Vicar St, Dublin

Jesse Lacey and co made their return to Ireland with a sold out show in Vicar St which transformed a crowd of twenty-something year olds back to their emotional, teenage selves. Lyrics were sang/screamed back at the band, the walls trembled from the volume of the gig and some crowd surfing ensured a fun night for all. (Stephen D’Arcy)

Christian Scott – The Sugar Club, Dublin

The second instalment of the Beck’s Future Jazz Series at Dublin’s best jazz venue saw the young trumpeter from New Orleans, lead an even younger band of seriously impressive players through an array of outstanding modern-jazz compositions, or what he prefers to term “stretch” music. Superb support from Dublin based jazz outfit The CEO Experiment got everyone in the mood with a funked out set of their own original music. Check out Scott’s best-selling album Stretch Music for a taster. (Dave Desmond)

Death From Above 1979 – Academy, Dublin

Bullshit-free and thrillingly hard to anticipate, Canada’s prodigal sons returned from hiatus to show us what is really possible with four strings, two drumsticks and a mic. Royal Blood who? (Hilary A White)

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