Ah, New Year’s Eve in Dublin. What a night, what a city. Not a nook or a cranny in a pub to be squeezed into. Not a taxi home to be hailed. Not a reasonable price for a pint to be paid, and not without an hour long queue for the privilege.

Thankfully, the pub crawl and Hootenanny at home aren’t the only tickets in town. Collins Barracks, Dublin Castle and Meeting House Square would each play host to a bevvy of homegrown talent for Dublin’s New Year’s Festival across a four-day period. And what better band to play out 2023 than the champions of craic themselves, The Scratch, arguably Ireland’s premier live band.

Capping off a stellar night out which included an effervescent performance from Gemma Dunleavy, a characteristically rousing shift from Sharon Shannon (and also from Ispíní na hÉireann and Lemoncello on the second stage), the Perrystown lads were not to be outdone.

Scratch gigs have long since earned a reputation for being high energy affairs, and tonight was no exception, as the thousands descended onto the main square to watch the lads milk every last second of the year for what it’s worth, ripping through fan favourites ‘Cig In The Breeze’ and ‘Excuse’ to rapturous receptions. Not content with making it a “play the hits” affair, however, treating the crowd to a cover of the Pogues’ ‘Sally MacLennane’ and being joined by Sharon Shannon herself for a spirited rendition of ‘The Diddley Do’. All before standalone single ‘Latchico’ gave way to the customary countdown and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ singalong (albeit in the Scratch’s own singular, metallic folk style) and fireworks display.

There really could have been no better choice to close out 2023. The perfect nightcap for a good year, or partner to kiss a bad one goodbye, The Scratch never disappoint. Up the lads. Happy fuckin’ New Year.