Top Gigs of 2014: Editor’s Picks

By on Tuesday, 23rd December 2014 at 11:00 am
 

2014, 2014, tsk tsk tsk. When it came to live shows, you put in some tense situations where I couldn’t understand the lead singer in his normal speaking voice (Glasvegas at DC’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel in February), feared for my life because the heat was proving a bit too much (Slow Club at Sheffield Great Gatsby in May), got grossed out by other punters’ grinding (Glass Animals at DC’s U Street Music Hall in July), and needed to take a train to another town and back, all in one evening (Fatherson at Edinburgh Potterow in October). But it was in good fun, as you were always entertaining. Here are my top 5 live experiences this year:

5. The Dig at Black Cat Backstage (4th December 2014) – watching a band you’ve come to know and love evolve over time, and who just keep getting better and better, is probably one of the greatest blessings given to a music editor. The Dig, who I saw support Editors 4 years ago, are one of those bands. December gigs are hard to pull off in Washington – people are lazy to come out once the weather turns cold – but they came out in droves for this show Thursday night the first week in December for the New Yorkers. They’re ready for their close-up, folks.

Reminisce through TGTF’s back catalogue on the Dig through this link.

4. Glass Animals at Glasgow CCA (17th October 2014) – after you’ve seen a band many times, the gigs all start to blur together, especially you’re seeing them when they’ve only got their one debut album to promote. Glass Animals shows are always interesting, if only to view the wildlife on display in the audience, but the Oxford band were in fine form even on the last UK date on their tour in October. I was expecting them to be completely beat, after returning the week before from a whirlwind North American campaign and subsisting on far too little sleep. Perhaps it was the party atmosphere in Glasgow on a Friday night, the CCA stuffed to the gills with punters, that turned this gig up to 11? Vibes, man. Vibes.

Glass Animals have been a favourite at TGTF since last year, and you can read all of our coverage on them here.

3. Fenech-Soler at Brooklyn Glasslands (5th April 2014) – good things come to those who wait. Or so the saying goes. Even though I had to trek up to New York for this one, Fenech-Soler was definitely worth it for me to finally hear songs from both their debut album in 2010 and 2013’s ‘Rituals’. I haven’t danced that hard in ages. (Meeting Ben and Ross Duffy and getting to chat with them for this interview was definitely a personal highlight of 2014 as well.) I waited 4 long years to see electro-pop band Fenech-Soler to do a proper show in the States, and since I saw them at this show (at a venue that sadly will no longer exist in 2015, sob), they’ve done a couple tours in our country, and I couldn’t be happier for them.

Our pretty comprehensive archive on Fenech-Soler here at TGTF is this way.

2. Maximo Park at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel (20th May 2014) – like Fenech-Soler, Maximo Park was a band I had missed seeing, and for even longer (beyond 6 years). It had nothing to do with them never coming to DC; I was either not here when they’d come or the show I’d had tickets to see them at had been cancelled. If you’ve never seen Paul Smith and co. perform, wow, you need to do yourself a favour and rectify that ASAP. I came to appreciate their latest album ‘Too Much Information’ much more after seeing it performed. Also, you always know the band you’ve come to see play is pulling out all the stops when the set list spills out over 2 pages. I’m looking forward to the next time they return to Washington. And to those asking, yes, Paul Smith really does give those reinforced trousers a workout.

Check out our writings on TGTF on the Geordie band here.

1. Royal Blood at DC9 (20th July 2014) – this gig can be best summed up with one word: PHWOAR. Perhaps my only prior experience with Mike Thatcher and Ben Kerr – Thursday at SXSW 2014, playing Lammo’s BBC Introducing night – didn’t sit well in my head because there is always too much background noise from other acts in Austin to really concentrate and appreciate on just one. At their first, and I might add rammed, headline show in DC, eyes and ears all glued on them with good reason. As those who waited for them to play at the John Peel stage at Glasto this year know, this duo from Brighton pack a massive punch in their successful effort to bring hard rock back. Best new British guitar band? Forget it. Best new British guitar duo’s where it’s at.

All of TGTF’s coverage on Royal Blood is right this way.

After the cut: the full list of all the gigs, in reverse chronological order, that I’ve been to in 2014. The runner-up gigs are also marked.

* the Dig (The Sea Life and Pree supporting) – 5.12.14 – Black Cat Backstage, Washington, DC

* the Wytches (French Admirals supporting) – 20.11.14 – DC9, Washington, DC – honourable mention
* Lewis Watson (Alicia Rae supporting) – 14.11.14 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC
* SOHN (Wet supporting) – 01.11.14 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC

* Temples (Spires supporting) – 28.10.14 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
* Glass Animals (Atom Tree supporting) – 17.10.14 – CCA, Glasgow, Scotland
* Fatherson (Model Aeroplanes supporting) – 16.10.14 – Potterrow, Edinburgh
* Sivu (Malka and Our Mother supporting) – 14.10.14 – Oslo Hackney, London, England
* Tom Vek (Fun Adults supporting) – 12.10.14 – Kazimier, Liverpool, England
* Cloud Boat (face + heel supporting) – 11.10.14 – Soup Kitchen, Manchester, England – honourable mention
* Glass Animals (Laura Groves supporting) – 10.10.14 – Magnet, Liverpool, England
* We Are Scientists and Surfer Blood (Eternal Summers supporting) – 03.10.14 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC
* Catfish and the Bottlemen (Phantomweight supporting) – 02.10.14 – DC9, Washington, DC

* Teleman (Lolo supporting) – 26.09.14 – Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
* Teleman (Jaguar Club supporting) – 25.09.14 – Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
* Glass Animals (Rome Fortune supporting) – 17.09.14 – Black Cat, Washington, DC
* Sir Sly and Wolf Gang (Secret Someones supporting) – 08.09.14 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC
* Smoke Fairies (Marian McLaughlin supporting) – 05.09.14 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC

* Royal Blood (Spirit Animal supporting) – 20.07.14 – DC9, Washington, DC
* Glass Animals (Vedas and Tei Shi supporting) – 08.07.14 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC

* Kaiser Chiefs (Streets of Laredo supporting) – 18.06.14 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – * honourable mention
* Little Comets (Big Tusk and Like Crazy supporting) – 08.06.14 – North Star Bar, Philadelphia, PA
* Sofar Sounds Philadelphia show – 08.06.14 – Philadelphia, PA

* Wolf Gang (Typefighter supporting) – 22.05.14 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC
* Maximo Park (Eternal Summers supporting) – 20.05.14 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Washington, DC
* Slow Club (Seize the Chair supporting) – 06.05.14 – Great Gatsby, Sheffield, England
* Liverpool Sound City – 1-3.05.14 – Liverpool, England

* Sofar Sounds Manchester show – 29.04.14 – Manchester, England
* School of Language (Kiran Leonard and Barbarossa supporting) – 28.04.14 – Deaf Institute, Manchester, England – honourable mention
* the Orielles single launch party (Laurel Canyons, The Marquettes, and Liam McClair supporting) – 26.04.14 – Deaf Institute, Manchester, England
* We Are Scientists (PAWS supporting) – 17.04.14 – Black Cat, Washington, DC
* Neil Finn (Midlake acoustic supporting) – 12.04.14 – Lincoln Theater, Washington, DC
* Fenech-Soler – 05.04.14 – Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

* Meursault (Sick Lion supporting) – 23.03.14 – The Crown, Baltimore, MD
* South by Southwest – 11-15.03.14 – Austin, TX
* Public Service Broadcasting – 04.03.14 – Black Cat Backstage, Washington DC

* White Lies (Frankie Rose supporting) – 22.02.14 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
* Glasvegas (The Ceremonies supporting) – 16.02.14 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Washington, DC – honourable mention
* Kodaline (LP supporting) – 15.02.14 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC

* Bronze Radio Return (the Falls supporting) – 31.01.14 – the Hamilton, Washington, DC
* Pixies (FIDLAR supporting) – 26.01.14 – Strathmore Hall, Bethesda, MD
* Delorean (Mas Ysa supporting) – 25.01.14 – Black Cat, Washington, DC

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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