12 Dec 2014

Top Ten Live Performances of 2014 (Part One: Poppy's)

2014 has been a pretty intense year gig-wise. I've seen some incredible bands in Norwich of all places as well as being lucky enough to attend some of the most important and historic music events this year. Alongside these gigs, I also went to Reading, Latitude and 1980's Reload Fest, so sit back, relax, and prepare for an impressive, diverse and just a massively showy-offy list of the ten best live sets I saw this year.

10. Superfood @ Norwich, Waterfront
This is an odd one, because it was actually a support slot. Having seen Superfood earlier in the year and absolutely loving every second of it, I was excited to see them again in a better venue. Despite playing a mere 6 songs, they completely smashed it. They got the crowd going as mad -if not more- than Temples, and I haven't seen a better support act since the first time I saw Telegram. To say I was impressed doesn't even begin to cover it, and the combination of Superfood's massive hits and their sheer passion and energy in everything they do made for one hell of a live set. Read a full review of their set here...
Highlights: TV, Right On Satellite, Superfood

9. Wytches and Telegram @ Norwich Arts Centre
Having a band as incredible as Telegram support an equally stunning band like The Wytches already guarantees you a great night. Stick that line-up in a 290 capacity venue with no barrier  and you've got the best small gig I've been to since Palma Violets last year. Telegram opened and even though they began their set playing to about 40 people, as soon as their glam tinged tracks leaked through the venue, they drew in a crowd which filled the place tighter than Telegram's jeans. When the Welsh rockers departed and the Wytches took to the stage, the pandemonium began. The whole gig is a blur of sweat, hair, blood and eyeliner, but none more memorable than set closer, Crying Clown. THAT RIFF. Telegram and The Wytches crushed this gig and I cannot wait for the chance to see both these bands live again.
Highlights: Follow, Rule Number One, (Telegram) Gravedweller, Holy Tightrope, Crying Clown (Wytches)

8. Human League @ Reload Festival
For a shitty generic 80's festival just outside of Norwich, getting a band like Human League headlining is impressive. And no matter how many neon tutu's, leg-warmers and head bobbers I saw would dampen the insanity of Human League's set. Being one of the bands I have loved and adored since I started listening to music, it was an amazing opportunity to get to see them live. Even more so because they played my favourite HL song ever: Being Boiled. Accidentally opening up a massive dance pit with my mum of all people, we got everyone down and grooving to the electronic eccentricities of Human League. And of course, Don't You Want Me was hilariously fun to sing a long to.
Highlights: Being Boiled, Mirror Man, Don't You Want Me

7. Wolf Alice @ BST Hyde Park
Picking a best Wolf Alice set was pretty difficult because having seen them live multiple times this year, they've only got better. It was a toss-up between this set or their Reading set, but this one was just so much more special. They strutted on full of attitude and appreciation and instantaneously caused havoc with the insane opener that is Moaning Lisa's Smile before showing off a few new songs while chucking in their classics like Storms and She before closing their set with the fucking flawless, Fluffy.  Having known and adored this band since late 2012 when they first played to 40 people, watching them fill the Barclaycard Theatre to top capacity at a Libertines support slot, was absolutely incredible. The band played phenomenally and the crowd lapped up every second of it, indulging in the stunningly chaotic sound that Wolf Alice do so well. Truly proud of this band and how far they have come.
Highlights: Moaning Lisa's Smile, Lighters, Bros, Fluffy

6. Arctic Monkeys @ Finsbury Park
Say what you want about Arctic Monkeys now, I'd probably agree. AM was a crap album and their Reading set was a huge let down, but their two shows at Finsbury Park will forever stick out as amazing. I went on the second night and after queuing for a ridiculous amount of time to get to the front, I couldn't wait for them to get their arrogant, northern arses on stage. Opening with Do I Wanna Know? before flying through a set, which despite including FAR too many album tracks, was still amazing. Classics like Dancefloor, Flourescent Adolescent and 505 ensured the die-hard fans were happy, before pulling a huge surprise out of the bag and bringing a 'slightly' intoxicated Miles Kane onto the stage to do an acoustic rendition of Standing Next To Me. The set ended with Alex Turner yelling "FINSBURY FUCKING PARK ARE YOU MINE?" before throwing the 50,000 person crowd into a final five minutes of fast and ferocious frenzy. The Monkeys may have gone downhill from then on, but my god was this gig special. 
Highlights: Brianstorm, She's Thunderstorms, Dancefloor, Standing Next To Me, R U Mine?

5. The Libertines @ BST Hyde Park
Nobody cared that this wasn't the best musically, or it didn't flow well because there were so many stop and starts. Sure it got a bit annoying, but it didn't matter. It was The Libertines, playing their first show in nearly 10 years (if you miss out the weird 1-day reunion for Reading in 2010) and you could just tell how much it meant to the people there. It was more about seeing the band live and my god did they smash it. Playing to 65,000 people, 80% of them who were more than likely on some sort of drugs and keeping the atmosphere going despite having to continually stop and start the show was a bloody impressive thing to do, and no other band could have handled it as well as The Libertines did. Amazing. 
Highlights: What A Waster, Can't Stand Me Now, Don't Look Back Into The Sun

4. Slowdive @ Latitude Festival
Seeing Slowdive live was not only the single-most euphoric experience of my life, but it was equal to a spiritual awakening. The second they began with their self titled opener, I was immediately lost in dream state which did not finish long after the last chords of their final song, a Syd Barrett cover, Golden Hair. The lengthy feedback over layers of reverb and FX pedals and laced in Rachel Goswell's angelic vocals was enough to throw every member of the audience into a shoegaze haze. The transition from Souvlaki Space Station into When The Sun Hits is hallucination inducingly stunning as suddenly you're in a distant dream like world soundtracked by one of the most influential shoegaze bands ever. An experience like no other, and worthy of my #2 best festival slot of all time. 
Highlights: Avalyn, Souvlaki Space Station, Golden Hair

3. Palma Violets @ Reading
My favourite overall festival slot ever, Palma Violets headlined the Festival Republic stage on the Friday night and completely tore up the place. Literally. I mean there was absolute carnage. Having seen Palmas once before, I sort of knew what to expect, but the energy between Sam and Chilli on stage is something you need to see to believe. Their songs get the crowd going like no other and despite being constantly compared to hundreds of different bands, they still have such a unique sound. They sounds even better live than on record if that's even possible and definitely a band I would recommend to anyone to see live. 
Highlights: We Found Love, Best Of Friends, 14

2. The Libertines @ Ally Pally
After seeing Libertines at Hyde Park, there was no way in hell I was missing them on their other England shows. I eagerly snapped up tickets for the first night after Peace were announced as support and couldn't wait to see them again. The opening chords of The Delaney was all it took to kick off the rowdiest yet most exciting gig I have ever attended. Peter, Carl, John and Gary were on top form, the atmosphere being leaps and bounds ahead of Hyde Park despite being 1/6th of the size. Good Old Days as my favourite Libertines song was a standout moment for me with some of my favourite lyrics ever written being sang by over 12,000 people in unison. "If you've lost your faith in love and music/oh the end won't be long" will forever send shivers down my spine. However, the real magic moment came in the encore when they played a song they haven't played for over 10 years in any sets at all. You're My Waterloo is just one of those songs. I am not ashamed to say I cried, it was a beautiful moment and one I will remember forever, much like the rest of this set. 
Check out the full review from both myself and Cal here...
Highlights: Time For Heroes, The Boy Looked At Johnny, Can't Stand Me Now, The Good Old Days, You're My Waterloo

1. Morrissey @ The O2 Arena
Is this one really a surprise? Did anyone expect anything different? Of course not. This show was the most overwhelming, magical, meaningful performance I have ever seen in my whole life, let alone just 2014. I'm still having difficulty finding the words to describe how emotional it was in case you couldn't tell already. Despite being flawless live and the atmosphere being so incredible, it was the first -and possibly the last- time I saw my idol and the musical figure who changed my life and it was forever be my all time best live show. 
Read a full review of my #1 slot here..
Highlights: Queen Is Dead, Trouble Loves Me, Asleep, Everyday Is Like Sunday

(written by Poppy Marriott)