For me, 2014 was a marvelous year of live music. I attended so many magnificent shows and festivals, I even saw a few of my all-time favorites. Some of the best:
St. Vincent: When I went to see St. Vincent, the fancy theater setting felt foreign as everyone remained in their seats when the almighty Annie Clark came onto the stage. Finally, someone in the audience shouted “WHY THE HELL ARE WE SITTING?” Annie responded with “I don’t fucking know!” and the entire crowd jumped up and no longer withheld any dance moves. St. Vincent was so magnificent- Annie, alongside her other bandmates were completely mind blowing. If you haven’t yet lost yourself in her newest self entitled album, St. Vincent then you are missing out.
It was, without a doubt, the best show I attended in 2014.
Angel Olsen: Angel Olsen’s music is nostalgic and meaningful. From her lyrics to her voice quality, everything about Olsen is so fitting for those sad or beautiful occasions. I saw her at the FYF music festival, tears streamed down my face as I silently sang along with her and it felt so damn good. My favorite album is one of her older ones Strange Cacti, her newest album Burn Your Fire For No Witness was probably the soundtrack to my year. It’s different but in the dreamiest way.
The Growlers: I was lucky enough to see The Growlers twice this year. I’ve listened to The Growlers for almost three years, but it wasn’t until this year I fell in love with them, especially with the babely vocalist Brooke Nielsen. The Growlers were my morning jam for most of the year. I greatly consider them to be my “feel good” music. It’s really all about their 2013 album, Hung at Heart but I am pleased with their newest album Chinese Fountain.
Blonde Redhead: I don’t know if I can technically say I saw Blonde Redhead, considering my friend and I were exhausted from pitching a tent, dancing hard to previous bands, and meeting cool people at the Desert Daze music festival. We almost fell asleep under the stars and on a curb while the great trio of Blonde Redhead rocked on stage. I listened to their album Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons and 23 a lot this past year–it was even better live.
Mac DeMarco: My heart has much tenderness for Mac and his music. I saw him twice this year and he had such a great, fun energetic set each time. It is always nice to listen to “My Kind of Woman” and feel a sense of familiarity. His newest album Salad Days has a more serious reputation as opposed to his other “fun” albums. It is still very Mac and very good but I’m forever a fan of Rock and Roll Night Club and 2.
Playboy Manbaby: Let me introduce you to my favorite live band from Arizona. Their shows are the most fun I’ve probably ever had in my life, each one getting better than the last. I’ve gone to many of their shows, from house shows, to Flagstaff shows, shows in tiny venues and in larger ones, outside, you name it and each have managed to exude so much happiness and sweat. Do yourself a favor and give them a listen http://playboymanbaby.bandcamp.com. My favorite albums are Obsessive Repulsive and Bummeritaville, while their newest album Electric Babyman guarantees head banging and butt shaking.
Slowdive: I’m still in awe about the show. Their set was extraordinary and beautiful and genuine. If you have yet to treat your ears, start off with their 1993 album Souvlaki and then listen to all of their albums over and over again forever.
Neutral Milk Hotel: I saw NMH this year and was dripping with emotion for weeks after. They were my middle school anthem and I am eternally grateful to my emo-skater chemistry partner for jamming his earbuds into my ears and playing In The Aeroplane Over The Sea in the 8th grade. The live sounds of the accordion, banjo, and horns used to make the tremendous music will play with me forever. After seeing them this year, I wanted to spend all of my time in Jeff Mangum’s mind.
Future Islands: I danced so much! Samuel T. Herring is the dude of the year! Listen to their album Singles!
Some of my other favorite live performances this year were: The Coathangers, Perfect Pussy, Grimes, Little Dragon, Slint, HAIM, Mr. Elevator and The Brain Hotel, Black Lips, Shannon and The Clams, Atlas Sound, Los Puchos, Cosmonauts and Fear of Music. Thanks, 2014 for the sweetness and magnificence of the live music that came along with you. I’m sentimental and slightly sad to see you go, but I am so ready to embrace the sound of 2015.