I’ve been super fortunate this year in my concert escapades. If you didn’t already know from my constant whining about not having any local shows, I have to drive at least 5 hours each way, take time off of work, and spend the night when I want to attend a concert. This makes it extremely challenging to see very many in a single year. If I lived in Portland or LA, I would be at a show every night. Some of my concert friends who live in those areas see 2-3 a week! A week! So jelly. However, since I do not have those same opportunities, I have to be selective about which ones will fill my concert dance card.
Usually my concerting revolves around The Airborne Toxic Event. Sadly, they were one band I didn’t see this year. I mentioned last year the Seattle show might be my last and so far, it has been. This did leave more time and dollars to diversify my concert viewing portfolio. In true 2015 year-end wrap up fashion, I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights and the disappointments from this year’s shows.
Best Visual Performance — OK GO
My picture doesn’t do this amazing image justice.
No question about it. OK GO rocked my world. I was a little worried because their videos are so creative that their live show might be a letdown. Uh, they schooled me. I’d never seen anything like what they put on. They had a floor to ceiling transparent screen which allowed them to project giant images at times or see through it for their live show at others. And don’t even get me started about that confetti cannon. Oh my God, it was a thing of beauty. To this day, I can hardly talk about the experience without dying a little on the inside for being in the balcony and not in that pit. Ugh.
Would I go again? In a heartbeat
Do you see the confetti love being showered over the pit?
Best Party — Matt & Kim
It should no surprise the two of them can put on a show that will fucking blow your mind. They perform the same way you see them during interviews, in videos, even their Snap Chat stories. They look like they LOVE life. And damn if their show doesn’t make you love it too.
The Crystal Ballroom bounced the entire time. People were singing every word, crowd surfing, and even flashing Matt their boobs. Everyone knows this because Kim said Matt messed up the words because of it and then said he’s been looking at her same ones for thirteen years. Aren’t they adorable? I love them extra because they liked the cookies I made for them, Snap Chatted them, and even gave a personal thank you. <swoon>
Would I Go Again? Abso-fucking-lutely
Best Overall Night — Dreamers
You may have already read here, here, here, and here about how much I adored my Dreamers’ concert night and fell deeply in love with them. In contrast to the two above, this show was very small. The kind where you don’t have to throw elbows for a 12 inch standing square. In fact, you can get so close you could reach out and touch them while on stage, although I wouldn’t recommend that. This doesn’t mean they bring any less heart. They evoke a great live energy with their genuine excitement and crowd interaction.
Their smaller stature makes them very accessible. Many attendees gush about getting to talk to them after the show. They pose for photographs, sign gear, and chat up each person who approaches. A constant theme is they are nice people. They mirror this on their social media presence as well, if you like to tweet. I will vouch for both.
I recommend if you’re thinking about seeing them, you get on it quick. I doubt those small, intimate shows are going to be available for much longer (if you can even find one now). They recently announced big things in 2016 including lots of touring, a new album, and celebrating a place on Alt Nation’s top 36 songs for 2015.
(And yes, I did notice Oregon is not on the tour list…yet! I promise Oregonians, I didn’t ruin it for you with my tom-foolery. They say they’ll come back even with the knowledge I will be there.)
Would I Go Again? I’m trying, dammit!
Biggest Disappointment — Of Monsters and Men, Modest Mouse (Tie)
Even this photo is boring.
Maybe it was the 25,000 person venue or the fact I’d roasted in the sun for 8 hours. Or it could have been the couple of terrible Budweiser Margarita tall boys I’d choked down throughout the day. Whatever the reason, these bands were terrible. Slow, boring, and all around sounded like shit. A stark contrast to Panic at the Disco who performed on the same stage only an hour before. We left halfway through Modest Mouse.
Would I Go Again? Nope, not a chance for either of them.
Best Surprise — The Vaccines
I hadn’t even planned to go to their show. I was in Portland for a writing conference and discovered they were playing in a smaller club down the street. A concert friend from England said I should go because they were terrific live. So after a day of learning about writing and a night of drinking with writers, I stumbled over to the Wonder Ballroom to catch their set. They were terrific!
It was a completely different experience for me to be standing in the back of the room and only know a few songs. Seeing the others geek out and getting sweaty in the pit gave me a giant case of FOMO. I came home, bought more albums, and have been enjoying them ever since.
Would I Go Again? Likely
Most Sought After — The Limousines
They’re the whole reason I went to Live 105’s BFD in San Jose. I love them. I pressed against the barrier and finally got to hear the live versions of songs from Get Sharp. It made my heart smile. I wish they toured more. I’ll say it again — I love them. This terrible picture captures the exact moment before that big white ball in the corner hit me in the face.
Would I Go Again? I will travel far and wide for The Limousines.
Just Okay — Twenty One Pilots
I looked forward to Twenty One Pilots for six months. Hubs bought the tickets as an anniversary gift from Stub Hub so you know we got royally screwed on price. I wanted them to be more than awesome. And they ended up being “just okay.”
I’m not sure if I was still coming down from my epic Dreamers’ night the week before or if Twenty One Pilot’s odd concert style with song montages instead of the complete versions were to blame. I will say their high energy stage presence with back flips and crowd surfing the drum kit are amazing.
I could go on with what I loved or hated about each show. Live music is like nothing else in this world. I’m still trying to find a way where all I do is travel around, listen to bands, and talk to all the fans. Hopefully in 2016 I’ll continue to get around and have a chance to meet you.
Here’s my complete list of bands seen in 2015:
- OK GO
- Elle King
- Panic at the Disco*
- Meg Meyers*
- The Orwells*
- Atlas Genius*
- Cold War Kids*
- The Limousines*
- Of Monsters and Men*
- Modest Mouse*
- Toad the Wet Sprocket**
- Smash Mouth**
- Twenty One Pilots (2x)
- Saint Motel
- Matt & Kim
*Live 105’s BFD
**Jacksonville’s Britt Festival
Can’t wait for 2016!