As the title says, what are your gigs of the year? Any stunners? Any surprises? Any let downs?
I probably went to more gigs this year than my ears/liver should be subjected too. A pretty good year for gigs for me. Bands like Suede, Desperate Journalist and Fightmilk I’ve seen many times before and I know I’ll have a great evening even before they start playing. Loads of brilliant new bands for me too. Here’s my top ten.
1. Brandi Carlile at Madison Square Garden
Her album last year passed me by. Luckily heard her name mentioned here and there and checked her out a few months before the concert. Her last album would have made my top three of 2018 without a doubt. The concert was the highlight of my trip to NYC. Mavis Staples was supporting and both artists gave amazing heartfelt and warm performances and both came across as just lovely people. Me and those around me had a big silly smile during the concert and I also had a smile for the day after just thinking about it. I’ll have a lovely lasting memory of the show and the day as a whole for a long time. Stunning concert. Easily my gig of the year.
2. The Who - Wembley Stadium
Eddie Vedder was supporting. I’ll confess that I’m not a huge Who or Pearl Jam fan (but absolutely love Ten) and really only got tickets as my Dad wanted to go. It was a great day out with him and it was definitely a brilliant show. My Dad loved the concert and I really just enjoyed his level of enjoyment of it of it all.
3. Soap&Skin - EArtH
A perfect venue for her and her sound. One of the stand out albums of last year. A stunning gig. I hope she doesn’t leave it too long before playing London again.
4. Anna Calvi - The Roundhouse
I’d seen her at The Luminaire many years ago and heard some of her previous albums. Her first two albums were good but not too impressive. Her last album was brilliant and she basically owned The Roundhouse that evening. Amazing stage presence.
5. Laura Gibson - St John’s Church at Bethnal Green
Love the venue. Prefer it far more than Union Chapel or St Pancras Old Church if we’re comparing church venues. I was under a huge amount of stress at my previous job. Her last album buffered my mood during listening and this concert was an evening of calm during a horrific week at work.
6. Self Esteem - The Village Underground
Her album is one of the best of the year. As with my 5th choice I went to the gig very pissed off with things at work and things in general and wasn’t expecting too much despite loving the album. She absolutely killed it live. The audience fed off her fun, charm and warmth and she fed right back off the audience. Yes, cheesy to type that but that was my take. Brilliant fun.
7. Press Club - New Cross Inn
One of the best live bands currently. Two brilliant albums out this year and I haven’t seen a front man/woman with her energy in years. I had a drink with @hip_young_gunslinger during the gig and several more with @anon3515918 after it. Great night out.
8. Desperate Journalist - Rough Trade East
Their album launch. Great live as ever and album is one of my favourites of the year. I got to say a quick hello during the signing. Bonus.
9. Fightmilk - Paper Dress Vintage
Great fun live as always and the new songs sound excellent. Jemma Freeman who I’d never seen live before was on the bill; a brilliant artist who should be huge. A great double bill gig.
10. The Pretenders/Suede - Shepherds Bush Empire
A double co-headline benefit concert for a mutual friend/crew member of theirs in poor health. They both performed brilliant near Best Of sets. Loved it.
Honorable mentions to Art Brut twice, Our Girl three times, Bikini Kill twice, Camp Cope, Damon and Naomi, Goat Girl, The Limiñanas and Vera Sola for great gigs this year.
They’re my best of the year. Please share yours.