Best Shows of 2014
*All band photography by me. Shot on Canon DSLR EOS 60D or Iphone. I go to minimum 1 concert a week. Warmer months mean festival season and this summer was packed with hundreds of great performances.
- Stars, Tribe Called Red, Kevin Drew- Google Plus Launch party Toronto, ON (Wait for the film as to why it was so excellent.)
- Nick Cave, Osheaga, Montreal QC – I had never seen Nick Cave. I feel like my life up until now was not complete. All front men need to aspire to the power he has over an audience. Also if you’ve not seen 20,000 Days on Earth the semi-doc on him, stop what you’re doing and go download it off Itunes now.
- Tanya Tagac, Polaris Prize, Toronto, ON – I had no idea who this woman was, she came out and delivered a more metal, more emotionally intense performance than any male performer I’d seen all year. Plus it was just the wtf is this amazing sound, noise coming out of this tiny human!?)
- Band of Horses, Osheaga, Montreal, QC – watching the lead singer of Foster the People and the happiest singer ever of AWOL National shout out the lyrics in the pit in front of us instead of watching OutKast then high fiving us in between awesome song breakdowns to make sure we’re enjoying it was just awesome. Plus, only a handful of people were at this far stage for them initially so it was a really cool private experience.
- Dum Dum Girls, Club Soda, Montreal QC (I love Dee Dee and all things Dum Dum Girls)
- The Constantines, Arboretum Festival, Ottawa, ON – I had never experienced the raw energy and emotionally charged performance of the Constantines like this before. It was dark. I was up front centre photographing it all. I stomped my feet along and lifted my hands up high high high to classics from Shine a Light. Also was somehow transported back to second year university and romances that were set to.
- Phantogram, Bluesfest Ottawa, ON- You know when an audience is really pissing you off and just taking away from the performance? I wasn’t supposed to see Phantogram as I’ve been a longtime Killers fan. I was transfixed by the lights that sparkled off lead singer’s disco-themed cape as she got on an illuminated box to serenade us to dance beats that would become the soundtrack for my summer. We kept repeating how glad we were to be watching this intimate show with only maybe another 200 people not mashed up together but all commenting to each other, “This is so much better than the Killers.” Friendly audiences make a world of a difference.
- Metz, Lee’s Palane, Toronto, ON – ears meltingly awesome. Was exhausted from NXNE shenanigans and was blown away. Walked away thinking how stupid I’d been to have missed all their hometown shows for the last few years. Now dedicated to seeing them perform as much as possible, whenever possible.
- Fucked Up, Field Trip Fest, Toronto ON – I brought a folk-singer friend who has never been to a hardcore punk show and she was converted. The performance included guest vocals from Gord Downie of the Hip, George Petit of Alexisonfire and Damian’s toddler son who watched proudly as his sweaty bare-chested daddy ripped beach ball after beach ball and formed a new fashionable hat for himself AND the audience members. Ears hurt. It was worth it.
- Blondie/Lady Gaga, Bluesfest, Ottawa, ON – both divas, both genius, all worth singing at the top of my lungs.
Who should have made the list: Gaslight Anthem. I miss you. I forgive you for cancelling Folk Fest in Ottawa, but next year, we will be besties. Or at least I’ll be in the photo pit singing back every lyric Brian Fallon shouts out.
Who did not make the list: Julian Cascablancas, Opera House. Why?? Half the audience left about 20 minutes in and I was included in the exodus. Only played 1 Strokes song and it was so obscure and mangled it was pitiful.
Repeat offenders: Tribe Called Red- that huge round dance at Field Trip was epic.
Kevin Drew, you were everywhere I went…. Except that Uber car ride.