Out on a Limb 10th birthday party @ Dolan’s, August 10
Crayonsmith, Elk, Jogging, Windings and Giveamanakick came together to celebrate Out on a Limb, the best record label in the country. The celebrations reached new heights for the reforming Gamak, but it was Elk who blew me away. They haven’t done many gigs since, but this has kept me tided over. It was just a blast of pop-rock power. I thought I had Elk pinned down, but they escaped out of that box that night. I cannot wait to see where they go next.


Altered Hours @ The Pavilion, May 11
I don’t remember too much about this gig other than the fact I arrived in a hurry having been underwhelmed by Fight Like Apes elsewhere in the city that night and leaving the Pavilion in a daze having had my expectations of an Altered Hours gig completed surpassed. It was their single launch show, so ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’ was the highlight, but what we now know as ‘Dig Early’ (their forthcoming single) was a thrilling assault of scary-movie-soundtrack guitar screeches. I remember staggering out of the Pavilion that night wishing I could instantly revisit the Altered Hours world.

Julia Holter @ The Unitarian Church, Dublin, November 2
Loud City Songs cemented what Ekstasis taught me: that Julia Holter possesses one of the most beautiful voices in music. It soared in the Unitarian Church that Sunday night (mass had been said there that morning). It was my first time in its confines and Holter made me feel at home. It wasn’t the most exciting performance of the year but I found myself with my eyes closed and being taken into Holter’s magical mind.


The Great Balloon Race @ Mr Bradley’s, Cork, November 16
DOI: this was part of our We Play Here launch. Sandwiched between a rare Sideproject show and a Lamp headline slot, and in a room that was jammed from front to back, left to right, which had a roaring fire going, the Great Balloon Race played the gig of their lives. I had seen them support Crayonsmith in the similarly small, similarly hot Roundy only a few weeks earlier so got a taster of the new songs then, but at Bradley’s they entered a zone I hadn’t seen the five piece go before. There was a newfound intensity, a new energy and a new confidence. I was blown away.

Picture by Bríd O'Donovan

Picture by Bríd O’Donovan

Disclosure @ Primavera Sound, Barcelona, May 24
I was obsessed with ‘Latch’ and ‘White Noise’ by the time I headed to Barcelona and Primavera Sound for the first time so Disclosure’s name was highlighted in the festival programme very early in the planning. James Blake was also stunning that weekend (my first time seeing him live), but Disclosure at 4am was never going to be less than bliss. We crawled back to the apartment afterwards after having THE BEST fun. It’s all about the frame of mind you go into a gig with.

villagers savoy 3

Villagers @ The Savoy, Cork, March 19
My first time seeing the songs off {Awayland} since the album was released and it was so satisfying. I wrote about it afterwards: “Music and words together can open up this other world that’s more than the sum of its parts.”

Your favourite gigs of the year:

Facebook and other picks:
Gavin Adultrock: girls names in whelans. one of the best live bands in the country right now.

Hope is Important: Dinosaur Jr at Primavera. Just to see them for the first time felt special!

Robbie Barron: Mountain Dew!

Dan Walsh: Hank and Ray.

Aoife Terry: HEALTH and James Blake at Forbidden Fruit, The Altered Hours at The Workmans

Fíona Sheridan: Delos at Vicar St

Steve McEvox: Swans in Button Factory, Bjork and The Knife at Electric Picnic, Vampire Weekend at Longitude, Jon Hopkins at Body and Soul were all highlights for meeee!

Deirdre Ní Chathláin: Nick Cave & the bad seeds. body and Soul