Every year, millions of people attend festivals, and various other smaller events featuring all types of entertainers. I am most certainly one of those people. There’s simply no rush like seeing a band you love killing it live. Today we’re going to kick off the Year End editions of the blog with the Top Ten sets I witnessed in 2015. I hope you enjoy
10. the Strokes, Atlanta, Shaky Knees
So finally after all these years I witness the Strokes live. After two failed attempts to see them I was able to rock out to the “Too Cool to Care” vibe on the first night of Shaky Knees. The band sounded tight, and Casablanca's’ rambles made for interesting mid song banter. Definitely a good show even if you aren’t a huge fan.
9. Beach House, New Orleans, Civic Theatre
This show was as mesmerizing as it was a slow burn. Seeing them once before gives you more or less an idea of what to expect, but it seems that with each album they get bigger and the production does too, which for a band that isn’t known for being super dancy on stage, is a definite plus. They went from a full piece to a two piece,back to a full piece, but it all flowed gorgeously just like the albums do.
8. Mastodon, New Orleans, Civic Theatre
Metal on Halloween should be the law, and this year was no exception. One of my favorite metal bands of the last ten plus years, Mastodon on Halloween Night in NOLA was made even better by an epic showing from the Atlanta kings. For over two hours they pummeled the crowd with their intricate mix of metallic prog rock, all while costumed and enjoying the reactions of the crowd. A must see show wherever they play, it was made all the better by seeing this with my sister and some awesome friends.
7. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, New Orleans, Joy Theatre
If the first time was any indication, the September Godspeed You! Black Emperor show was nearly as exquisite and thought provoking shows as the previous. For nearly two hours they pummeled the crowd with classic imagery and powerfully loud music. It was a true testament to thinking man's entertainment. Seriously see this band if they come around. Your mind will appreciate it.
6. Tame Impala, Atlanta, Shaky Knees
Another amazing first this year was the Sunday night headliner Shaky Knees spot by Kevin Parker's Tame Impala. Seriously one of the best psychedelic shows I’ve seen in recent memory. Every song flows from one to the next, and the visuals are mind blowingly spirited and exuberant, which of course makes it better. Hopefully they come back around soon and I can experience it again.
5. Run the Jewels, New Orleans, Republic
Easily the most high energy show I saw in a club, this show came the night after Beach House for a wildly mixed weekend musically. Both were great, but Run the Jewels comes to show off and killed it every second they spend on stage. El and Mike command like hardly no others in the rap game, even though people in the mainstream don’t mention them much. Fuck it, I’ll keep it for myself.
4. Pixies, Atlanta, Shaky Knees
Seeing the Pixies for me is always like checking on things in the weird world. They exist in this sort of space time continuum where they don’t make better albums much anymore, but the live show seems to get better. It’s really bizarre to me. The only thing I’m thinking is maybe they play the old songs more now since the reunion. The show was high energy and jolly while still beating, biting and aggressive. Paz really brings something to bass, and Frank Black seems more perturb , which adds for a sensational show.
3. Dan Deacon, New Orleans, Republic
I’ve now seen Deacon live more than all but like five bands I think. Every time he comes it’s an experience you need suddenly. Also I got to cover the show, meet the man and witness his biggest, most elaborate show. Sadly the crowd wasn’t as enthusiastic as I had hoped. but seeing with some good friends really makes any night great, especially if Dan Deacon from Wham City is playing.
2. Neutral Milk Hotel, Atlanta, Shaky Knees
On my second time seeing this magnificent band, the company was quite different. Instead of hardcore fans at the NOLA show, they played to a big open area during the multi day Shaky Knees. They mesmerized the crowd for an hour with their poignant and melancholy songs and helped make an up and coming festival a real gem in the middle of Atlanta. I doubt they’ll ever tour again, but it was magical to say I witnessed it twice.
1. Deftones, New Orleans, Champions Square
Having not seen them in over five years, there was plenty of reason to be excited, and if you’ve seen them before, you know they don’t disappoint live. The show, which saw the band play before Incubus(Which was a huge misstep in my opinion), knocked it out of the park in terms of raw emotion and crowd interaction, with the band spitting out nearly twenty tracks in their time on stage. The highlight of the show, and the entire year though was when “Passenger” arrived at the same time as the rain did. Seeing that song live dancing in the downpour wasn’t only the best moment of any of the concerts I’ve seen this year, but also one of the best moments of my entire life. Thanks for reading!!
Throughout the day, music can be a vital part of keeping your sanity. It helps set a tone and a pace for what hopefully is a pleasurable day. In my opinion, music for the morning needs to be chill, more laid back, and should be there to bring out maximum relaxation, especially on weekends. This list includes some of my vital go to morning jams. Hope you enjoy
Beck, Morning, Morning Phase
When Beck returned with this companion piece to “Sea Change,” no one quite knew what to expect. However, after realizing that it was actually brilliant, the listener is able to relax and drift across wondrous pools of water and imagine the world as it should be. Peaceful, and full of laughter and joy. “Morning” is both a lyrical and instrumental powerhouse, while still being able to gently ease into the world. The chorus especially evokes images of a pink sky coming out of the darkness of the night, and the hope for another beautiful, perfect day.
Bon Iver, Holocene, Bon Iver
The gentle guitar strums over a quiet lake, early in the morn. This is one of the best qualities Justin Vernon is able to employ in his role as Bon Iver. Many songs have this similar element and feeling to it, but “Holocene,” off his brilliant second album, stands out among his best. His passionate, soft spoken voice is able to bring all the pain and honesty through with little effort, but the song just get’s better as it progresses and more instruments show up to add layers. It’s a reminder of how much the song is beautiful thing, as also how everything has a purpose and a pace to it.
Deftones, Teenager, White Pony
Maybe the most unlike Deftones song ever, but it’s place in the flow of “White Pony” is brilliant and poignant. It’s a track full of internal struggle that slowly leaks out into the world, Chino’s voice is able to be gorgeous and patient, which is in certain contrast to the other side of him that can scream and howl with the best of the “metal community.” This song also works so well because it’s out of left field. Not to say much of this masterfully perfect album isn’t different than what came from them previously, but this track especially stands out.
Grizzly Bear, Sun In Your Eyes, Shields
Grizzly Bear is a band that been making progressively better records for awhile now, but with 2012’s “Shields” they man an album so worthy of accolade that I barely met anyone who didn't fall in love with its sounds. As the final glimpse into the world of “Shields,” “Sun In Your Eyes” is a triumph, and fits perfectly in the theme of a slow morning where you need purpose, but it might just be lacking. The vocals are verbose, especially for a band like GB that has shied away from that more often times than not, but it’s the music and it’s slow towering effect on the listener that really makes it a special track.
M83, You, Appearing, Saturdays = Youth
For me this song starts at night, and emerges more and more as blues and purples creep into the atmosphere. It’s a song full of hazy fog over a crowded forest, where the smell in the air is unlike anything you’ve ever been a part of. Texturally the song is gorgeous, and the why the vocals show themselves only help to add another layer to a perfect song for late nights that turn into inspiring mornings, in which love is all around us, and the promise of a fun day is ever present and faithful.
Thanks for reading, see you in the afternoon
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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