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!!
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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