Top 5: Gigs of 2012

Posted: 03/01/2013 in Uncategorized

This was tricky to narrow down. An amalgamation of my favourite standalone AND festival performances of 2012, plus a memorable track from each show…


#1 Jay Z & Kanye West ‘Watch The Throne’ @ The O2

Rap behemoths Jay Z and Kanye West were responsible for one of the most spectacular shows to hit Ireland in 2012. In fact, it was more like three shows in one, with the spoils from their collaborative album Watch The Throne teamed with their extensive respective back-catalogues – 2.5 hours of high octane, non-stop hip-hop gold from start to finish, played out on the most opulent of stage setups. The irony of the show was not lost – two of the world’s biggest superstars coming into the eye of a recessional storm to deliver their almost obnoxious brand of braggadocio and charging punters €80 for the pleasure. Yet they get away with it. And how do they close a show of this magnitude? With FIVE renditions of ‘Ni**as In Paris’, of course. That shit quite literally cray.

#2 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band @ The RDS

For Bruce 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 2012 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 this past 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.

#3 Le Galaxie @ Electric Picnic

FINALLY Ireland’s reigning electro-rock overlords Le Galaxie got the kind of festival slot they deserve, and the result was truly magnificent. 2AM and The Little Big Tent is transformed into an all-out dance party (of which I’ve managed to get into the front row for), the four lads leading the charge with the infectious vibrant energy that permeates their performance. There’s a few special guests on hand to help out, too – Elaine Mai provides live vocals to one of THE tracks of the year ‘Love System’, before Fight Like Apes’ MayKay appears onstage to close the show with a collaborative cover of 90s smash hit ‘Set You Free’ by N-Trance and send the place into absolute frenzy. You couldn’t make it up. One of those gigs that you genuinely feel lucky to have been present at.

#4 Alt J @ Academy 2

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.

#5 The xx @ Electric Picnic

A gargantuan perspex ‘X’ marks the spot – Friday night in Stradbally, the Main Stage of Electric Picnic, and the most palpable buzz of the weekend as the crowd anticipates the arrival of The xx. Coexist hasn’t dropped yet, and the set marks the first time for many to get acquainted with the band’s new material, some of which completely dazzles – in particular a sprawling amped-up take on what has since become the album’s standout track ‘Reunion’. Throughout the set The xx made a conscious effort to diversify the tracks that had brought them to this level – overall they provided a perfect mix of appreciation for the old and anticipation for the new, and proved that they’re more than capabale of dominating large-scale venues.


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