As anyone who reads Covert Music Club will probably have realised by now, we go to a lot of gigs. There is something about good live music that is properly magical when done well. That feeling of being at a live music event with a host of like minded people is something that is hard to replicate otherwise, and it can be an addictive property.

In 2018, I managed to get to see a lot of new bands perform, as well as some old favourites, with each providing me with something different. This post will countdown the top five musical performances that I got to see this year.

But as usual, we’ll start of with some honourable mentions…

And now, the actual countdown:

5. Dan Elliott (Whelan’s, 24 April 2018):

This had been a long time coming for the Cork singer/songwriter. After years of building a loyal and supportive following from gigging around Dublin and supporting other Irish acts around the country and abroad, April saw Dan Elliott play his first headline Dublin show in the hallowed walls of Whelan’s – what followed was one of the highlights of the year.

4. Delorentos (Electric Picnic, 31 September 2018):

2018 was a big year for Dublin band Delorentos, they released a new album, a beautiful Christmas EP, and embarked on an extensive touring schedule both here and overseas. On the Friday of this year’s Electric Picnic festival, those in attendance had the pleasure of seeing the band perform three times if they so wanted, I did and I did. One of the greatest live acts to come out of Ireland, and still my favourite band of all time.

3. Maria Kelly (Workman’s Club, 25 April 2018):

For a few years now, I have been mesmerised by the music of Mayo born singer/songwriter Maria Kelly. From the very first time I saw her perform at The Ruby Sessions there has been something about her music that just seemed to make sense. Her sold out show in Workman’s Club back in April seemed like the perfect culmination of what had some up to that point. Across the hour, Kelly kept an attentive audience transfixed.

2. The Academic (Vicar Street, 15 December 2018):

The Academic are a band that I’ve been championing ever since I first saw them perform live back in 2014. 2018 was a big year for the band with the release of their debut LP, Tales From The Backseat, and a host of sold out shows across the country, and even further afield, culminating in a sold out show in the Iveagh Gardenin the summer and two sold out dates in Vicar Street last month. Vicar Street showed just how far the band had some, this was group who were completely comfortable in what they were doing and it made for a truly incredible live experience.

1. Dua Lipa (Electric Picnic, 1 September 2018):

Electric Picnic this year was such an enjoyable weekend, three days of wandering around a field in Laois listening to amazing music, eating nice food, and generally forgetting about the chaos of life outside the walls of a festival. But one of the takeaway memories of the year, never mind the festival, was the set by pop sensation Dua Lipa on the Saturday night of the festival. Amazing light show, a set list of hits and one of the most charismatic performers that we have seen in a long time made it an unforgettable experience.