Who’s the greatest act you’ve seen live?

Foolishly skipped the River/Ties tour so it’s been almost a decade since I last saw them live - but I’ve never walked away from a Springsteen + E Street Band show without thinking ‘holy shit that was the best 3 hours of live music I’ve ever witnessed’.

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Can’t believe I’ve still never seen him. Not seen Apparat either, despite going all the way to Mutek in Montreal to see them and Nicolas Jaar. Annoyingly my flight was delayed by 20 hours so only got there in time to see Jaar, in surround sound. I mean… it was next level. Not long after Space is Only Noise had become an obsession.

Hard to beat seeing Pink Floyd as a 10 year old in terms of impact factor.

Don’t listen to them much these days, but Muse in Reading 2002 was just astonishing. Origin of Symmetry / Deadstar era, before the flab.

Radiohead at Glastonbury 03 was pretty special too.

Saw Leonard Cohen in the last week of his final tour (not that we knew it would be). Almost spiritually brilliant.

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This is one of my biggest regrets. I absolutely adore her and think I went to see Beirut instead (who was amazing tbf)

Was that the set in a thunderstorm which felt like it was part of the show?!

Yeah, that was the one. Crowd was absolutely febrile. Terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Just a huge huge high all the way through the show.

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I interviewed HEALTH a few years back, and told them that their gig at Birthdays was one of the best gigs I’d ever been to. They sounded more surprised than anything, like “really?”.

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…man, if they had stayed as good as that setlist

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In terms of most enjoyable gig it’s Daft Punk in 2007 doing the Pyramid show in a tent on Loch Ness. Just pure euphoria from start to finish. I’ve always thought of it as my best ever gig.

In terms of greatest act though… like do you mean performance? Most accomplished musicianship? As good as Daft Punk were, it was too guys in robot suits pushing buttons* but David Byrne’s show in 2018 was something else! The choreography, the musicianship, the setlist! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better show than that or ever will.

(* I know, I know. I’m not one of those people who think electronic music has no merit because it’s not “real instruments” I realise how difficult it is to great a set like that with a mix of software, hardware, synths, samplers and sequencers and it’s not something I could ever do myself)

Haha. They have no idea how good they are. Think they just really enjoy performing. I remember dragging someone to see them in a little tent at Reading festival and they were instantly converted (I think saying “come see the heavy version of Pet Shop Boys” sold it, tbh)

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Jesus Lizard at ATP. Two nights of the best music, the most joyous, wholesome mosh pits, hugging strangers, David Yow launching himself over my head, it was everything I could have ever wanted in a gig.

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I left it intentionally vague to interpret as you please

what happened?

Sudden flashback to seeing Les Savy Fav at the only ATP I went to. They don’t make bands like that any more. Although my strongest memory of the show was sweating so much that when they wanted to charge me for a glass of water at the bar I went into some rant about health and safety rules and human rights (I am such a chill person to hang out with…)

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Think it’s one of the only gigs I’ve seen in a proper storm. Even gigs in mild drizzle or wind blowing the sound around can ruin it. Like, I had a wonderful time at End of the Road a few years ago but it was wet almost the entire time and I can only vaguely remember who I saw but vividly remember how welcome a hot cider was in the cold.

Radiohead Glastonbury 03
Los Campesinos at Bath Moles in Feb 2008, just before HONY came out.
Arcade Fire in Cardiff in late 2007

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Was that the Neon Bible tour? Great night

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It was! So fucking good. Clinic were supporting them, because I think they had to support every band at least once by law.

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Adore that venue! Saw a band called Jarcrew there years ago, one of the gigs of my life. I think it was them supporting either Mclusky or yourcodenameis:milo, and when I turned up, Cooper Temple Clause were recording in the studio upstairs so I had a sneaky playback of some of the tracks before the gig. (I think you can date stamp this entire story with this information)

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Just whack on any of their albums since the reunion