We had a short-lived time open, but we made the most of it and some of the gigs were the best we had ever witnessed in Ireland. We wanted to pick our top 12 standout gigs of 2021, but it was too difficult, so here’s 13.
Following nearly two years of false promises, mishaps and disappointments, the night-time sector finally opened its doors on October 22nd. After a mere three weeks of normality, the industry was met with the iron-fist once again and a midnight closing time loomed. On the 3rd of the December the final and almost inevitable kick in the teeth came jarring in from the government as the news came in that nightclubs would close after a skimpy 45 days of partying.
The nightclub industry was repeatedly pummeled with challenges, adversity and what most would think as unworkable conditions. The industry rose above these obstacles and provided week after week. While it felt like a fleeting moment in the mist of an era of discontent, it was happiest I had felt in two years and my only regret is that I didn’t go to every party possible.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the stand-out parties this year which caught our eye. We couldn’t fit them all in, but here are some of the top picks from our staff and readers. (The list is not in order of ranking)
Thanks to all the promoters that weathered the storm this year and let’s hope for a better 2022.
Pear brought Ben UFO over for his annual intimate set at Yamamori Tengu and this year it was extra special. Your favourites DJs, favourite DJ, provided an exceptional night of music, in the midst of changing restrictions.
Tommy Holohan, VTSS, Fjaak, Sally C & heap of Irish talent all playing on a full festival production in October. This was a terrific day and a very welcome first edition of ‘Time4Dance’.
One of the first electronic music events to take place in Ireland since March 2020 and it was a night packed with euphoria in Temple Bar’s, Meeting House Square. Fran Hartnett, Dreamcycles & more provided the sounds for the Culture Night evening.
Celtronic returned for its 21st year with an impeccable lineup consisting of Gerard Janson, Giant Swan, Kink, Sunil Sharpe, Overmono, Or:la, Batu, Move D and more, spread across different venues in Derry.
Slither had a jam packed few weeks of running parties and they certainly made hay while sun did shine. One of their stand out parties was the Irish debut of jungle’s man of the moment, Tim Reaper. This was straight energy from the get go.
AVA Festival’s reappearance came with a new date in September this year and equipped with a hefty lineup including Sherelle, Kink, Helena Hauff, Fjaak, Jayda G, Tommy Holohan, Sunil Sharpe and more. This was an outstanding weekend and was the perfect return to dancing.
It was over two years since Tommy Holohan had got behind the controls in a Dublin nightclub and this headline show in Index marked an emphatic return for the Rush native. Ireland’s hardcore hero, left everything in the booth, as he hammered it out on the final weekend of dancing.
A sold out night of MCing, scratching and plenty of dancing went down in Tengu, as DJ Assault returned to Dublin for Slither & Research. This was an absolute stand-out night, as Tengu got the full ghetto house treatment from a bonafide ghetto-house master.
One of the year’s most adventurous festivals took place in Limerick as Sionna festival made its debut appearance. A festival spread over a month, encompassing, workshops, talks, live music and parties was an out and out success. The highlight came on the final night as Sunil Sharpe, Imnotyourmate, Shampain, Maedbh O’Connor, Cailin and more threw it down in a Limerick warehouse.
Kelly Lee Owens took the Button Factory in November and captivated the crowd with her infamous live performance. A transcendent journey through the Welsh native’s music in the heart of Dublin was one of the most entrancing gigs of the year.
Two Irish debut’s going head to head in the middle of Aungier Street, spinning nothing but the finest garage and breaks cuts, was an absolute treat. Dublin garage king, Prozak, completed the lineup and it was a night of straight two-stepping and gun-fingers.
Research returned to their home in Index with an Irish debut for the tribal techno king, Stef Mendesidis. One of the worlds most technical techno DJs, left the newly refurbished Index in shreds after providing a masterclass. This was an outright treat for all the techno nerds.
Reboot Events presented their debut festival in Waterford with a strong lineup consisting of the Tommy Holohan, I Hate Models, Alan Fitzpatrick and some of Ireland’s finest local talent such as Cailin, Taint, Yasmin Gardezi and more. This was an massive triumph for the Reboot crew and we look forward to the next outing.