by / December 20th, 2012 /

Top Story: State’s Gigs Of The Year

From Iceland to New York, Austin to Berlin and across Ireland, the State team has been to an awful lot of gigs this year. An awful lot. To round off 2012, we asked them to tell us about their personal favourites…

alt J- Academy 2, Dublin

It’s a continuing grievance of the Irish gig-going public that the Academy 2 exists, but sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and embrace the pillar-infested dungeon in order to see breaking acts before they explode in popularity. alt-j’s brilliant An Awesome Wave was but a fledgling album at the time, and to hear it played out in such a limited environment didn’t exactly do it the justice it deserved but nevertheless proved a stunning representation of their much-lauded potential as a band. They’ve since gone on to win the Mercury Music Prize for Album of the Year – we’ll never get the chance to see them in such a small venue again, so this is one for which the memories will be held very dearly. (Elaine Byrne)

Amon Tobin – Sonar Festival

The most amazing visual experience in a live show to date coupled with the ambient mechanical onslaughts of Tobin’s back catalogue. A veritable feast for all the senses. (Daryl Keating)

And So I Watch you From Afar – The Mercantile, Dublin

Despite losing out on the Choice Prize, this was sweaty, loud, energetic and packed out. Everything we’ve come to expect from an ASIWYFA show. (Fiona Donnellan)

Animal Collective – Vicar Street, Dublin

Centipede Hz was a bit of a disappointment, and that’s a shame, but Animal Collective still deserve our love. Vicar St was more than obliging in early November when Panda Bear, Geologist, Avey Tare and a newly reinstated Deakin stopped in for the evening. Hz made up the foundation of their set, but there were enough favourites sprinkled throughout to ensure collective happiness. People chanted Deakin’s name, ‘My Girls’ caused everyone to sit down for some reason, and one lucky punter made it on stage much to the chagrin of security. ‘Amanita’ brought things to a close, and largely defined the show. A patient, churning build up to a manic and thoroughly enjoyable climax at the end. (George Morahan)

Billy Bragg – Victoria Park, London

The timing and location couldn’t have been better. On the day of the Diamond Jubilee flotilla down the Thames, Bragg is playing a festival in the East End on the site of the famous Rock Against Racism show in the ’70s. But while you might have expected him to rail and rage, instead he took it as his cue to celebrate what he loves about Britain, as well as calling out those who have sought to undermine it. All this plus giant balloons, what’s not to love? (Phil Udell)

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – RDS, Dublin

For Springsteen to be labelled a ‘heritage act’ is criminal – unlike many of his peers who tour aboard the Greatest Hits money-train, The Boss continually releases albums that command attention, and this year was no different with his stellar 17th offering Wrecking Ball. His live shows with the E Street Band are the stuff of legend, and his outings in the RDS in the summer proved no different – near four hour career-spanning epics, marrying the greatest hits with the new material along with plenty of other surprises in between. They don’t call him The Boss for nothing. (Elaine Byrne)

Chvrches – The Nest, London

In just a few months Chvrches will be one of the bands hyped for 2013. Tonight however the Glasgow electro-pop three-piece are still very much under the radar but there’s a buzz about them that’s unmistakable. The crowd dance hypnotised to the sweet, eerie synth pop. That feeling of being there just as something’s about to take off, that’s the feeling right here, right now. (Louise McHenry)

Dr. John – Vicar St, Dublin

Another night of Savanah-like downpours. The Voodoo king proves why he’s a legend. You had to be there. Failing that, read my review. (Desmond Traynor)

Eatenbybears – HWCH

As fun as it was, there were only a handful of genuinely draw dropping moments at this year’s HWCH festival. The Belfast band, however, grabbed The Mercantile by the scruff of its neck and didn’t let go for a thrilling twenty minutes. The kind of set that this festival was invented for. (Phil Udell)

Ed Sheeran – Electric Picnic

The boy wonder was a revelation for many of the spectators and as he layed out a masterclass in crowd control he won several thousand new fans. This was an absolutely seamless and blemish free set from 2012’s youngest gigging veteran. Emotive, irrelevant and engaging at the same time. (Steven Dunne)

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