2016 gave us all wonderful opportunities to see some of the best bands, both new and old. With comebacks from iconic veterans such as The Stone Roses and exciting new live bands like Boston Manor, there was something for everyone if you knew where to look.
Here I give a run down of the best live acts I had the pleasure of seeing over the year. In no particular order…
MODERN BASEBALL – NEWCASTLE CLUNY
FINALLY! After waiting three(ish) years, I finally got the chance to see one of my favourite bands at The Cluny, Newcastle. The intimacy was incredible and I could not have asked for a better setlist. Playing hits from Sports, You’re Gonna Miss It All and Holy Ghost; the Philly four-piece were passionate, humble and flawlessly brilliant live.
THE CRIBS – Y NOT FESTIVAL
As festival performances go, The Cribs have never disappointed. At Y Not they played an early evening slot packed with all the hits such as Different Angle and Be Safe. Without a doubt one of the best live bands in the UK, the Jarmans certainly know how to inject life and energy into a set.
BOSTON MANOR – NEWCASTLE THINK TANK
Playing on their first UK headline tour, Boston Manor played like veterans. The instrumentation was tight, the vocals were crisp and the on-stage antics were wild. Frontman Henry Cox nailed every note, whether it was a scream or a harmony, he hit it. The crowd were up for it as well, which always helps.
SORORITY NOISE – NEWCASTLE THINK TANK
Frontman Cam Boucher was very humble – both on stage and after the show. Speaking to everyone who was hanging at the merch desk, he and the rest of the band played an exquisite show consisting of honest tracks like Using and Either Way. A very chilled audience added to the lovely ambience created by the band.
THE 1975 – NEWCASTLE METRO RADIO ARENA
The 1975 are always incredible. Their live set up looks beautiful and they are so much better live than recorded. Milk made the setlist, which was amazing to hear with strong lightning bolt visuals, their Vice City style aesthetic was stunning and hearing thousands belt out Robbers was as wonderful as it sounds.
BRAND NEW – NEWCASTLE METRO RADIO ARENA
Brand New are the best band I have seen this year and possibly ever, to be honest. Although this was only a support slot, it could have easily been the New York outfit headlining Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena. The Devil and God… dominated the setlist, which only made the performance better.
DMA’S – LEEDS UNI STYLUS
The best band to emerge from 2016. Having seen the Australians support Courteeners in 2014, I have been thirsty for more ever since. Leeds Uni Stylus hosted the sold out show that consisted of the heartfelt anthems Delete and Step Up The Morphine. The future is bright for DMA’s – just ask anyone who has seen them.
YOU ME AT SIX – MIDDLESBROUGH EMPIRE
Pop-punk veterans You Me At Six stripped everything back and played some old-school hits to intimate venues. The band have an incredible energy surrounding them and the massive arena-filling hits speak for themselves. It was amazing to see You Me At Six up close rather than from the back of a 9000 capacity arena.
PLAZA – MIDDLESBROUGH WESTGARTH
Plaza just get better and better. New music has gradually been added into their setlists over 2016 – Totem, Blood Orange and Youth are all massive hits that stem from an ambient, mathy core. The band know how to have a good time on stage – just ask those who caught the set at Albert Hall, Manchester, before Rat Boy.
HINDS – LEEDS BRUDENELL
Cheery feel-good tracks are what Hinds are all about and playing them at Leeds Brudenell was one of the best gigs of the year. On stage craic, jokes back and forth with the crowd and more than happy to chat to fans afterwards; Hinds are just happy to do what they do. They don’t do being over-serious, which made the gig even more enjoyable.
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