The second episode of our ‘Favorites of 2016’ Staff Picks is all about live music. Concerts, Festivals, DJ sets and more, there was so much to see, hear and experience in the passed 12 months! The question is: What was your favorite live perfomance in 2016?
I always have a tough time ranking live shows, so I’ll just go with one of the most recent – I was stoked about The Handsome Family‘s latest, “Unseen“, and had a great time at their show last week. I usually don’t love stage patter, but the combo of Brett Sparks’ caustic-yet-good-natured grumbling and Rennie Sparks’ wryly bemused commentary was just pure fun. And if you think Brett’s voice sounds good in your headphones, well, it’s a force of nature in person.
– Josh, Community Support Manager
The first night of Neurosis‘ 30th Anniversary shows at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. All 3 nights were amazing, with stellar openers, but the first night was special for me.
– Jason, Lead Developer
I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but this year was pretty light on concert-going for me. I can count all the shows I went to (well, where I wasn’t performing, at least) on one hand with fingers left over. But, honestly, it probably wouldn’t matter if I’d seen a billion gigs this year; no matter which alternate Earth I was on, the answer could only be Sigur Rós. I’ve been hoping to see Jónsi and company ever since the first time I heard “Ágætis Byrjun“. Was it worth the wait? Well, it kept me on my toes, and I can’t imagine any three other musicians making such a beautifully chilly racket. Plus, even though I try not to let my ears get tricked by a good laser show, the band’s visual presentation was breathtaking. About as immersive a concert experience as I’ve been a part of, and that’s not easy when you’re sitting waaaaaaay up in the balcony.
– Tom, Community Support
Seeing Radiohead was awesome, but their catalogue is so expansive at this point, there are always going to be songs you wish they played that they didn’t. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard had such a crazy energy and their live show was nuts, but I regret not throwing myself into the mosh pit madness. So if I’m going to go for a balance of good set list, good energy, and where I was in the middle of it all, then that’s Caribou at Best Kept Secret Festival 2016. For a long time I could never get into Caribou because I found their albums kinda boring, but their live show was just the opposite. They were the perfect party closer on the Saturday night. Hope to see them again soon!
– David, Community Support Lead
Horse Lords at Mississippi Studios in Portland, OR. Phenomenal math/free jazz/traditional music hybrid monster of a band. The interplay between the drummer and percussionist was worth the price of admission alone. The drum heavy polyrhythms juxtaposed against free jazz noise explorations created some otherworldly vibes.
– Mark, Front-End Developer
I always find this one the hardest to pick, partly due to my memory and just because there are always so many good shows to see! So I have to mention 3 shows this year: I saw King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard a few times this year but their best performance for me was seeing them play two shows in a row (one at 9pm and then again at 11pm) in a packed brewery in the North of Amsterdam.
Nostalgia kicked in for me when I got to see At The Drive-In earlier this year. One of my favourite bands when I was a teenager, reformed and playing live shows again.
And lastly, perhaps because this is the most fresh in my mind, seeing Nicolas Jaar a few weeks ago perform live was pretty high on my list. I never know what to expect from his shows (especially if he is just doing a DJ show), but this one was epic and really enjoyable for me!
– Claire, Managing Director of Operations
I go to a lot of concerts on my own, and sometimes I’m not even all that familiar with the artist. This was also the case when I saw Together:Pangea play Ekko in Utrecht: sold out garage rock mayhem.
– Yoram, Community Support
My New Year’s resolution for 2016 was to see more live music. I decided to try and get tickets for every show I really wanted to see and figure out who would want to join me later. It was the perfect year for it: a few concerts I ended up seeing were Gregory Porter with my mum, Charles Bradley with a cousin, Suede with a college friend, Maria Mena with a highschool friend, Radiohead with my brother and Muse and The Cure with my husband. It was great sharing those experiences with the people who equally love those artists, especially because that music played part in our history together. All shows exceeded my expectations, but the one performance that really stood out to me was Ruben Block in TivoliVredenburg. We had no idea what to expect because it was the first time he did a show without his band Triggerfinger (although he did bring two other musicians – Sjang Coenen and Kelly Hoppe), and it was magical. The small venue, the selection of songs he played (from John Jabob Niles’ “Go ‘Way From My Window” via Morphine’s “Do Not Go Quietly Unto Your Grave” to Korgis’ “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime”), his voice, my husband sitting next to me: For a few hours, it felt like being in a different world.
– Lilian, Content Marketing Specialist
It’s a tie between seeing Magma at Wonder Ballroom in Portland and Faun Fables at KALA in Astoria, OR. I’ve been a fan of both for a long time and this was my first time either of them live in concert. Magma had incredible energy and Christian Vander is a beast on the drums. Also, Faun Fables is the perfect kind of group to see in a sleepy seaside town, Dawn McCarthy’s vocals are both unbelievably beautiful and totally haunting.
– Andy, Developer
After devoting much of my life to Lollapaloozas, Tibetan Freedom Concerts, Smoking Grooves, Bonnaroos, and Langarados, I’m pretty much over the festival scene. Still, nothing was going to stop me from seeing the reunion of Ween at Project Pabst this summer. Was it worth it? YES! They played all my favorite songs, including Fluffy for the encore. Later, I saw Deaner walking around the festival grounds. I nearly lost my shit!
– Tasha, Community Support Lead
Pet Shop Boys. I get bored with people standing on stage, screaming into microphones, being moody and boring, and strumming things. Even worse are most electronic shows with pasty dudes staring at their lap tops, checking their email for two hours on stage. Pet Shop Boys put on a great light show, visuals, dancers, costumes — it’s a big ridiculous spectacle which I love. Their massive catalog of brilliant music doesn’t hurt either.
– Matt F., Database Support
Like Jason, I also saw Neurosis‘ 30th Anniversary in 3 concerts and they blew my mind. But my Favorite Live Performance of 2016 is Electric Moon in a very intimate festival lost in the fields of Tilburg at the end of the summer. In a secret location until few days before the event, no more than 250 people, from young to old, families with kids, a few dogs and huge pig had the time of their lives enjoying the good weather, nice camp site, great and chill atmosphere and the amazing music. The Machine and Ggu:ll were amazing and got everyone in the zone, but then Electric Moon blew all our minds, with their endless jams and their super psychedelic and spacey sound. Will definitely see them again… and again.
– Esther, Community Support
I had the pleasure of seeing Deerhoof for the fourth time in two years at a small venue in Den Haag. They never disappoint. It was a great mix of old and new songs, with an unexpected, kinda weird, but awesome cover of ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’. Plus Greg Saunier’s banter always makes for a good time.
– Jess, Search Engine Marketer
Neil Young at Desert Trip aka Oldchella. The highlight being a ripping 25 minute rendition of “Down By The River”.
– Ron, Director of Marketing
I have been to some interesting shows, but I will choose The Cure @Amsterdam , because it was the first time I have seen them live, and it’s been a very important band for me since I was a teenager.
– Luca, Community Support
I’ve been trying to decide over the last days but it’s been impossible so I think I’ll have to go for two concerts that will stick in my mind forever. The first one was the comeback concert of LCD Soundsystem at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, one of the best parties I’ve ever lived surrounded by “all my friends“. The second one happened a few days ago, Boris performing “Pink” live at Incubate in Tilburg was so intense and otherworldly… my ears are still ringing!
– Javi, Community Support
During SXSW I had the pleasure of attending a Stones Throw records event held alongside their sub-label, Leaving Records. While the former is the much better known of the two, Leaving Records had quite an interesting lineup of artists performing that I had never seen before.
– The Japanese electronic producer Seiho played some of the most beautifully strange music I had ever seen live, and accompanied that with consuming a glass flower vase full of milk on stage. Still not entirely sure why that happened, but it ended up being on the cover of his album “Collapse” that came out shortly afterwards.
– The wolf mask clad LA rapper known as The Koreatown Oddity also gave a killer performance alongside producer Ras G. Quite possibly my favorite Hip Hop discovery of this year.
– Morgan, Systems Engineer