by / December 20th, 2017 /

Lists: State’s Gigs of 2017

Black Sabbath – 3Arena, Dublin.

Billed as the end, this was a masterclass from the creators of metal. Huge riffs, huge bass, huge drums and Ozzy doing his best master of darkness. It was truly joyous. (Nick Hetherington)

Afghan Whigs – Primavera, Barcelona

Anyone who has been to Primavera will know how special the Rayban stage is when darkness falls, and on a balmy night overlooking the Mediterranean, Afghan Whigs delivered back catalogue hits and the strongest tracks from 2017’s excellent In Spades record. Soulful, sexy and romantic, they even worked George Michael’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ into ‘Faded’ to top off a beautiful show. (Keith McGouran)

Bon Iver – Sounds from a Safe Harbour, Cork Opera House

In the almost-perfect surrounds of the Opera House, albums and songs are destructed and reconstructed as a 90-minute narrative. The pinnacle of the ever-growing summer city festival, the gig saw guests from Lisa Hannigan, Aaron Dessner and Fionn Regan join Justin Vernon to hammer home a heartpunch. Moments such as when ‘Holocene’ broke at the chorus stay as an afterglow for the rest of the year. Utter transcendance. (Simon Roche)

Tori Amos – Bord Gais Theatre, Dublin

At times intimate, at times epic, Tori Amos never fails to drag you in to her world. The evening was generously peppered with songs from her latest release Native Invader and her back catalogue. A magical night. Oh and she played ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’, so that was pretty fantastic. (Nick Hetherington)

Shellac – The Fleece, Bristol

If there’s a tighter band on God’s earth than Shellac then let them make themselves known, so that Steve Albini can write a prayer to have them smote for their insolent claim. Albini, Todd Trainer and Bob Weston are old hands at this now, but no less sharp of edge and taut of (drum)skin than they ever were. Their 2017 tour was already in full swing by the time they’d hit The Fleece and they were on blistering form. This gig, however, will remain notable for one overarching reason. For possibly the first time, Bob Weston was left without an answer to a fan’s question during the now standard Shellac mid-set Q&A session. “What’s your favourite autumn recipe!?” He had nothing. Will we ever see it’s like again? (Justin McDaid)

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters – Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin

Plant brought the May Queen back to Dublin as winter proper set in but fortunately it wasn’t the lady of Zeppelin’s overly bombastic Stairway but rather she of Plant’s latest album Carry Fire that got an outing. The evening found a man very much at ease with his place in the rock and roll firmament delivering a masterclass in performance, dignity and humility. I’m also pretty sure that if you stick your head in the door of the BGET you’ll still hear the guitar riff from ‘Whole Lotta Love’ bouncing around the walls of the theatre’s auditorium. (Phillip Dunne)

Algiers – Grand Social, Dublin

Atlanta gospel rockers Algiers’ first show on these shores was furious, wildly energetic and loud. Samples and white noise filled the gaps between songs as intros built up and outros tailed off. On the busiest stage I’ve ever seen, Matt Tong hit everything as if his life depended on it, Franklin James Fisher effortlessly switched between keys, guitar and vocals, guitarist Lee Tesche was a study in intensity while Ryan Mahan pulled moves as every bit as impressive as his skills on bass and synths. By the end of the night, their ‘Power To The People’ backdrop was being used to wipe away the band’s sweat. (Keith McGouran)

Sleaford Mods – Body And Soul, West Meath

Beer can beats and a shouty, angry man railing against alienation and disenfranchisement in a broken modern Britain may seem at odds with the Body and Soul vibe but man did they grab the hippy lovefest by the scruff of the neck and they wouldn’t let go ’til they had rammed every last gob spewn lyric down our throats. Gritty urban realism played out against the backdrop of a West Meath pastoral setting – that juxtaposition alone was worth the price of admission. TCR – Total Control Racing for the masses. (Phillip Dunne)

Stars – Rough Trade New York, Brooklyn

Torquil Campbell, Amy Millan and their bandmates don’t merely play live, but create an experience akin to theatre with a ferocious, mesmerizing intensity. (Kara Manning)

Iron Maiden – 3Arena, Dublin

What did we want? A spectacle of arch theatre. A big, camp stage production in the Hammer tradition. Scary Eddie backdrops. Guitarists running amok, kicking things. Bruce Dickinson booting around the place non- stop. Silly pyrotechnics. A huge inflatable goat-headed Satan glowering at the assemblage. Mega-riffs and super-solos. Nicko McBrain hammering the shit out of his drumkit. A 10-foot tall zombie Eddie lumbering around the stage, rubbing his groin and finally getting his heart ripped out by Dickinson. What did we get? Exactly the above. Best fun you can have with your clothes on. (Justin McDaid)

Mango x MathMan – Forbidden Fruit, Dublin

The start of a very busy festival season for the Dublin duo, this show set a ferocious pace that the rest of the festival struggled to contend with at times. Mango proved himself to be an incredibly charismatic and energetic performer, expertly flowing over the hard hitting MathMan productions. (Ross Logan)

Fatima Yamaha – Forbidden Fruit, Dublin

Bas Bron made an early-evening slot on the Lighthouse stage feel like the sweatiest 4am warehouse rave. ‘What’s a Girl to Do’ had perhaps a bigger singalong than Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’ the same weekend. (Stephen Keegan)

Guns’n’Roses – Slane Castle

Who would have thunk that Guns’n’Roses would have pulled one of the best rock shows of 2017 out of the bag, considering their track record for fucking up? But then, Slane brings out the best in a rock’n’roll band, and it seemed like they were out to make amends for past transgressions against their fans. It pissed rain all through Royal Blood’s support slot, but cleared up when the main men hit the stage. You couldn’t argue with the setlist – a truckload from Appetite For Destruction, a cover of ‘Black Hole Sun’ dedicated to the recently lost Chris Cornell, The Damned’s ‘New Rose’, Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’, and all the usual G’n’R suspects. ‘Paradise City’ sent us all back up the hill as the fireworks popped off above our heads, safe in the knowledge that true rockers never die – they just get old and even more belligerent. Axl, you big bollocks…all is forgiven. (Justin McDaid)

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