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Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live
To the left is an actual pile of tickets I found in my drawer.
Click it for the fuckoff big grainy version.


Intro
My birth in the country of South Africa was quite a curse when you love music as much as I do. Granted, things have got drastically better for those living in that nation during my five year London absence (thanks a lot guys), but it still has a long way to go, the area feeling lucky if a mere two decent acts play there a year.
With that in mind (and as you can imagine), moving to the UK came with some serious musical perks. I immersed myself in the gig culture, and recently calculated that I have been to over 130 shows since my time here. Which isn’t as much as some of the cooler kids I know, but still enough to pick apart my favourite 50 and write this little bloggy for you lot. Half because I hope people find it as interesting as I do, and half because I am boasting, obviously.
But as anyone will tell you, sometimes it’s the most unlikely acts which will stick out in your mind the most. I’ve seen some big names but the experience was dampened by a bad mood or a hangover, and I’ve seen some fairly unknown dudes who really got me hard. It isn’t always necessarily about the band, is what I’m saying, but more about the overall experience. And that’s what this list was compiled on: the shows which stood out most highly in my ever-failing memory. The gigs which, unlikely or not, meant more to me in the long run, not necessarily who was blessing the stage at the time. Even though that does help.
And so here is that very list. Please keep in mind that all venues are London/UK based, unless otherwise stated. Also keep in mind that a few of these artists aren't exactly "bands", but words are hard. And finally, I hope you get jealous and are fooled into thinking my life is better than yours, because it probably is.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 50. Pete Doherty (with Where’s Strutter)

50. Pete Doherty (with Where’s Strutter)

Venue: The Social
Date: 06/04/10
Partners in Crime: Ash; Kris; The Freewheelin’ Troubadour; Loose

What I Remember:
It's debatable whether one could consider this a real show or not, but the story is so good, I granted it the honourary opening position. After all, we were only going to watch our friend The Freewheelin’ Troubadour bust some poetry and then announce the band Where's Strutter, which he did by informing the audience that said group had just come off a tour supporting Pete Doherty, “or PeDo, as we like to call him”. Seconds later, Ash tapped me on the shoulder and excitedly informed me “dude, no jokes, Pete Doherty is behind me”. I turn around, and sure enough he was, and he's really tall. I shook his hand and that was quite a moment, and then he jumped on stage to join Where's Strutter perform a cover of Babyshambles' Fuck Forever (which you can watch here). You have to understand, this is in front of less than 50 people, no security, our own little Doherty show where he walked around freely afterwards. You can't buy this kind of experience.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 49. Marilyn Manson

49. Marilyn Manson

Venue: Brixton O2 Academy
Date: 05/07/12
Partners in Crime: Chris; David; Eleanor

What I Remember:
As anyone will tell you (especially in recent times), a Manson show sucks. I'd seen him before at Download 2009, and he was so drunk/coked up that he practically played the whole show lying down, drooling on himself and forgetting lyrics. It was so terrible, in fact, that this show could only be an improvement - and it was. Marginally. But what you need to understand is that growing up, Marilyn was my superhero, and despite the lackluster performance, I still felt a nostalgic pang in my groin every time he spoke about God or drugs, no matter how old or chubby he has become. In my life, he has meant the world to me, and I wasn't alone. Point proven by how many androgynous freaks in the audience looked just like him, and that the queue to get into the venue was by far the longest I've ever been a part of.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 48. MGMT

48. MGMT

Venue: Brixton O2 Academy
Date: 30/09/10
Partners in Crime: Lauren; Mark; Monique

What I Remember:
As much as I don't want to offend anyone, this was one of those rare and unfortunate shows which got ruined by the company I held. It's not their fault really, as the whole crowd was pathetic, waiting for nothing more than Kids or Electric Feel, instead receiving the majority of the more progressive Congratulations album. Now, Congratulations just so happens to be my favourite MGMT album, but when the entire audience bewilderedly asks each other "why is it so mellow?" it does damage the vibe. I tried my best to ignore them, succeeded somewhat, but couldn't escape the tragic feeling that it would have been a better experience if I'd done it alone. Which is why I squeezed them onto this list, but also why they are so low. Sorry guys, you deserve better.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 47. Fantômas

47. Fantômas

Venue: London Astoria
Date: 08/12/08
Partners in Crime: Lonnie

What I Remember:
Seven reasons why I would have not been comfortable excluding this performance: (1) I arrived without a ticket, but managed to hook one up, cost price. (2) I met a girl named Lonnie in the queue, and now we are super good friends, having since gone to various other shows together. (3) The Locust were opening, and that was hilariously intense. (4) The singer of Fantômas is Mike Patton, arguably my favourite singer of all history, and this was the first time I saw him with my very own eyes. (5) The rest of the band consists of members from Mr Bungle, The Melvins and Slayer, which is a fucking supergroup line-up if I ever saw one. (6) Fantômas played their album The Director's Cut in its entirety. This concept album is a collection of cover songs, each one a theme from a horror movie = so rad. (7) Finally, the gig was at the legendary Astoria venue. It wasn't the first outfit I'd seen there (having witnessed In Flames and Rancid on that same stage only months previous), but they were the best. And less than a year later, the Astoria had been sold and demolished, making it all that more special for those who were a part of it. I will never forget this.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 46. Little Dragon

46. Little Dragon

Venue: O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Date: 04/12/11
Partners in Crime: Adam; Andy; Lizzie

What I Remember:
This show was riddled with problems from the get-go. Somehow between the four of us, we had two tickets for the main area, and two tickets for the upstairs seating. Furthermore, I had a killer hangover, which is why I surrendered and ended sitting at the back, resulting in a much more relaxed gig rather than the spastic dance area I am used to (and Little Dragon deserved). Beyond that, nothing the band did was particularly memorable if I'm honest, the only thing I can really recall is singer Yukimi Nagano randomly hitting some synth pad out of time and kind of fucking up the songs. So why did I put them here? Well, it's because Yukimi is extremely sexually attractive, all quirky and barefoot, total stage presence and then some. Immediately after the show, I put her on my future sex list, and that's important. They also released my second favourite album of 2011, so my bias fandom may or may not have played a role.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 45. Yeasayer

45. Yeasayer

Venue: Victoria Park, Lovebox Festival 2010
Date: 17/07/10
Partners in Crime: Ammr; Ash; Darren; Little Ash; Katt; Kris; Maryke; Reiko; Ronnie

What I Remember:
The whole hook of this entry could be summed up by the word friends. If the above list of Partners in Crime wasn't enough of an indication, you must realise that I was never meant to go to this festival as I couldn't afford a ticket. However, on the day, my mates put their money together and bought me one, truly putting the Love into Lovebox. Still so grateful for this, and it made the show all that more special, especially because Yeasayer are one of the few rare acts we all agree on. And they delivered, every member singing and nobody outshining eachother while I got more and more fucked up, to the point that I remember very little except for having some conversation with a guy at a urinal. Regardless, Yeasayer opened for Empire of the Sun, but we all knew that they would be an impossible act to follow. Pure talent.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 44. AlunaGeorge

44. AlunaGeorge

Venue: Little John's Farm, Reading Festival 2013
Date: 25/08/13
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
I don't want to sound pervy, but Aluna turns me on. Her sexy dance moves and cute little voice is a big reason as to why Body Music is one of my favourite dancepop records of the year, and also one of the reasons why I felt no shame at abandoning my friends to watch this group all by myself. It was worth it, because even if their setlist wasn't necessarily my main choices, I was dancing so hard that people were taking photos of me. And then a few hours later, I went to the Signing Tent and met them, resulting in a highly memorable show all in all.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 43. Infected Mushroom

43. Infected Mushroom

Venue: Earthdance 2005, Cape Town
Date: 17/09/05
Partners in Crime: Fuck Knows

What I Remember:
Make no mistake, I am not a psytrance nor an Infected Mushroom junkie by any means. But I cannot deny that the level of fuckness I was experiencing whilst dancing in the baking sun was hitting biblical levels of spirituality. At points I'd sit on the stage and look down upon the thousands and thousands of people spanning as far as my eyes could see, and I developed a god complex right there and then. Even when the one guy made a mistake and the other guy shouted at him, it didn't bother me, because misguided and artificial or not, I will never forget this day. Which is to say, I don't actually remember any of it at all, but the small snippets like a cut up reel-to-reel in my brain looks pretty cool. It is fairly impossible for a trance outfit to make any list I write, so that's gotta count for something.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 42. The Big Pink

42. The Big Pink

Venue: The Diesel:U:Music World Tour, University of Westminster
Date: 01/10/09
Partners in Crime: Kris; Loose; Mark

What I Remember:
The Big Pink mean fuckall to me, but after you read this entry, you will understand why they are here. Somehow, Kris hooked up VIP tickets, which meant we all got to sit in the very exclusive upstairs area, where mojitos were given to us for free by sexy waitresses and even Lily Allen was there. I got so drunk yet hyper on sugar that I kept playing this game where I would leave the VIP area and then try to sneak back in. Each time a bouncer aggressively stopped me, I'd flash my VIP wristband as if to say "don't you know who I am?" and his expression would quickly change to apologetic and embarrassed. Which was funny. I remember The Big Pink playing Dominos, and I went straight to the front and screamed the lyrics louder than the singer could, to which I distinctly recall him looking a little bit scared. It was a school night, so I felt like death the next day, but it was the kind of service I could get used to.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 41. Korn

41. Korn

Venue: My Coke Fest, Kenilworth Racecourse, Cape Town
Date: 24/03/08
Partners in Crime: Holly

What I Remember:
The only thing you need to understand about this entry, is that between the ages of 13 and 17, I was obsessed with this band. I devoted so much of my time researching and listening to Korn that the concept of ever seeing them live was far too overwhelming for me to even contemplate. So it's probably a good thing that a few years later, I had completely lost interest in the dudes, rendering this show more as an ode to my younger self rather than something to masturbate to. I got right to the front, was completely trashed, shouted along to every lyric, and left the show remembering all the reasons I had loved them in the first place. I have seen them since at Download Festival 2009, and they owned it once again, which is kind of what everyone says about each show they play anyway. But you never forget your first time, and fuck you if you don't like Korn. Because I don't really like Korn either. But they know how to put on a great show, and nothing can take that away from them.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 40. Limp Bizkit

40. Limp Bizkit

Venue: Donington Park, Download Festival 2009
Date: 14/06/09
Partners in Crime: Adam; Fran; Frank; Mark; Paul; Tiana

What I Remember:
There are three reasons why I am embarrassed of this entry: (1) I find it a bit tasteless, placing two of the main "pioneers" of Nu Metal right next to each other. (2) Even with that said, Korn are a much superior band, in my opinion. (3) I don't actually like Limp Bizkit. However, that third point is the point, as upon attending Download 2009, I laughed at the festival's mistake for booking them. Inevitably (as is tradition) the band would get bottled off the stage, and I looked forward to that by collecting up my own plastic bottles and racing towards the stage to give this group a piece of my mind. I was under the impression everyone felt this way, ready to annihilate them with our trash. But I was wrong. So very wrong. Instead, the tables turned, and they annihilated us. High energy blasted out the speakers, instant party just add water, mosh pits breaking out all the way to the back, fans climbing on the stage, the kitchen sink. And to enter a show with the weird mindset of wanting to hate every minute, yet coming away with the shared adrenaline of the crowd, is a feat very few bands could achieve. Hence why I reluctantly had to surrender and be honest with myself: Limp Bizkit, at least live, fucking rock.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 39. Lily Allen

39. Lily Allen

Venue: Brixton O2 Academy
Date: 17/12/09
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
This bittersweet gig is a tough one for me to talk about, with plenty of factors to enjoy, and plenty to be embarrassed about. Lily organised cupcakes to be handed out to the people queuing, which was nice. I was wearing a Help Jared Woods Meet Lily Allen shirt, and people laughed at me. I pushed to the front, knocking over little girls as I did so, and I felt terrible about that, I really did. When Lily played Fuck You, she told a young kid in the audience to block his ears, which was funny. I threw a piece of paper onto the stage which said Help Jared Woods Meet Lily Allen on it. Shortly after, a million little glittery bits of paper fell from the sky and covered everything, including my message. It ended soon afterwards, and I swear to God whether you believe me or not, my contact lenses were playing up and my eyes started watering. I can only imagine how it looked: this super fan wearing shirts and throwing messages onto her stage, crying after the show was done. Make no mistake, it was a wonderful gig, but I did leave feeling pathetic, and decided I needed to change my approach in order to meet her. Which I did and I did.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 38. The National

38. The National

Venue: Roundhouse
Date: 26/06/13
Partners in Crime: Corrado; Sara

What I Remember:
I went to this gig completely broke and alone, so it was really nice to bump into my friends Sara and Corrado, who bought me loads of Old Speckled Hen English ale, which may be the foulest (foalest?) drink on the planet, but at least it got me pissed, thanks guys! The National's set was very mellow and chilled out, but what did you expect? It was quite emotional, my only complaint being how far away from the front we were. Which turned out not to be much of a problem when singer Matt Berninger decided to walk through the whole crowd right to the back, and I patted him on the shoulder. Near the end I got a bit bored until their second encore, where they played Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks completely acoustic and unplugged, the entire crowd singing every word. I could have cried, was the best closer I've ever seen to any show, ever. And The National are one of the greatest bands in the world right now, so a huge tick on my list regardless.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 37. Empire Of The Sun

37. Empire Of The Sun

Venue: Victoria Park, Lovebox Festival 2010
Date: 17/07/10
Partners in Crime: Ammr; Ash; Darren; Little Ash; Katt; Kris; Maryke; Reiko; Ronnie

What I Remember:
Do you recall earlier on when I told you how Yeasayer opened up for Empire of the Sun, but the former were so good that there was no way the latter could even follow? Evidently not so, because here we are. To tell the truth I remember very little about this show except elaborate costumes and dancers and exaggerated theatrics, but man, were we entertained! Second member Nick Littlemore wasn't there, so a fan held up a sign which read “where is Littlemore?”, to which other member Luke Steele grabbed it and angrily tore it in two. Which was weird, because Littlemore is still in the band. Then, he pretended to die, but when the crew ran over to make sure he was ok, he tried to discreetly shoo them away without losing the illusion of his death. Was hilarious. The entire performance, all of our mouths were fixed open into a smile, and by the end we all agreed they were the band of the day.
See Yeasayer entry #45 for more information as to why this show was so special.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 36. FIDLAR

36. FIDLAR

Venue: Little John's Farm, Reading Festival 2013
Date: 23/08/13
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
As the first band I saw at Reading 2013, I walked into the area and found myself in the middle of a moshpit and got pummelled for it. I had bought a festival program 10 seconds earlier, and it got torn off my neck, scattered everywhere. I frantically attempted to pick up the pieces of my £10 purchase, only to get knocked the fuck down over and over again. All the while FIDLAR were screaming about how much they loved cocaine and skating, proving to me that they are one of the last true remaining I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck-Punk bands on the planet. After the show I tried to put my program back together, only to find I had at least three separate torn up programs in my hands. Seems like I wasn't the only one to get beaten up in that audience. Rad.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 35. Grimes

35. Grimes

Venue: Heaven
Date: 05/09/12
Partners in Crime: Lizzie

What I Remember:
Before the show at the merch store, they were selling rings that looked like vaginas, which Grimes designed herself. I told the guy I would buy one of it was modeled on Grimes' vagina. He said he wasn't sure if they were. The show itself was plagued with problems, as the band had their equipment stolen the night before and were playing on unfamiliar technology which only brings difficulties. She couldn't sing all that well and missed some notes. But none of this detracted from the pure stage presence and fun we all had, the crowd instantly forgiving any misstep by dancing and smiling our troubles away. Balloons shot everywhere. A pole dancer pole danced in the background. Grimes is the cutest elf ever. Near the end another dancer came on, and it was the same guy who I'd asked about Grimes' vagina. Oops! I hope he didn't tell her that some fan was talking about her pussy. Actually, no wait, I hope he did. Grimes also released my second favourite album of 2012, so my bias fandom may or may not have played a role.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 34. Nico Tribute

34. Nico Tribute

Venue: Royal Festival Hall
Date: 11/10/08
Partners in Crime: Holly

What I Remember:
To celebrate the life and death of the legendary Nico, a bunch of musicians got together to pay homage to the lady herself, including such prestigious acts as John Cale from The Velvet Underground, Fyfe Dangerfield from The Guillemots, Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse (RIP), Peter Murphy from Bauhaus, Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance, and Mark Lanegan from Queens of the Stone Age. As a seated affair with very minimal attendance, it was quite relaxing as musicians walked on and off the stage, performing different Nico songs. The crowd became rude at one point, shouting at performers “who are you?” to which I think Mark Lanegan responded “I’m Boo Radley”. All the acts came on stage together at the end, with Peter Murphy reminding us that it was “all for Nico, fuck everyone else". And I love Nico, so much, which I why I had to include this very different but memorable show here. It has a special home in my heart tubes.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 33. Janelle Monáe

33. Janelle Monáe

Venue: Alexandra Palace
Date: 03/12/10
Partners in Crime: Ammr; Ash; Kris; Reiko

What I Remember:
It was snowing that night, so the walk to the venue was incredibly beautiful, me and my mates throwing snowballs at each other in this otherwise untouched part of London. Alexandra Palace is one jacked up venue itself, complete with festival-like food stalls and dudes walking about with beer taps on their backs. Janelle performed between Ratatat and Vampire Weekend (both of which were really good), but they had nothing on her. We pushed to the front, and the crowd were weird, complete with a guy trying to punch me in the face while a girl screamed, and another lady telling us to "shhh!" when we were talking about how amazing Janelle is. But she is amazing, her voice and dance moves are smooth like no other. But what really made this show a success was during Vampire Weekend's performance, when we were chilling next to the elevated VIP area and noticed Janelle was STANDING RIGHT THERE. I reached up and shook her hand, and she smiled, symbolically looking down on me as if to say “I am the Queen, who are you?” Didn’t care though, I touched her, the cherry on top of an already delicious gig.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 32. TV on the Radio

32. TV on the Radio

Venue: The O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
Date: 19/11/08
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
After arriving without a ticket and literally scraping every bit of change I had to buy one from a tout, I was disappointed to find my overpriced purchase only granted me the undesirable upstairs access. Still, it was worth it when TV on the Radio EXPLODED (there is no better term) onto stage, members swapping instruments and sharing vocal duties, talent unlike most I've ever seen. I may have been sitting upstairs with a bunch of grannies, but I was busting so many moves that people were watching me instead of the band. During the encore, main singer Tunde Adebimpe announced that his voice was fucked and things would have to get a little more "punk rock". And they did. After the show, I realised I had no money for the train, and stuck in this dodgy area of London with no means of getting home was a bad position to be in. It was then that I noticed a smoker and offered her my full pack of cigarettes for a mere £2, which she gladly paid, and I got back to my house in one piece. So fuck anyone who says smoking is bad for you, that shit saved my life.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 31. Biffy Clyro

31. Biffy Clyro

Venue: Little John's Farm, Reading Festival 2013
Date: 25/08/13
Partners in Crime: Anne; Dale; Fyl; Sam

What I Remember:
As not the biggest Biffy fan, I wasn't really looking forward to this show until huge flames of fire shot into the sky with so much heat that everyone could feel it. That kinda set the pace. And the band didn't miss a note, hitting such levels of emotion that all the little girls in the crowd dropped their yogurt for the very first time that night. Nothing about Clyro's performance felt "rockstar" or egotistical, rather coming across as genuine and appreciative, which was refreshing. The accompanying lights and fireworks were huge, and they even shot long streams of paper all over the place, essentially connecting everyone in the crowd to one another, which was at least the symbolism I read into it. I even kept a piece. They were the closing act of the whole festival and did a perfect job of it, I like them a lot more now because of it, and yet if I even liked them whatsoever, I would have happily put them higher on this list.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 30. Live

30. Live

Venue: Bellville Velodrome, Cape Town
Date: 19/06/00
Partners in Crime: Adam

What I Remember:
This was my first proper show ever! Furthermore, this was on Live's The Distance to Here tour, which was before they started to suck. But despite the fact that I really loved them at the time and it was such a momentous occasion in my life, I don't really remember all that much of it. This is either because it took place over a decade ago, or because I smoked two chronic spliffs before they came on and was so stoned I couldn't remember which direction the stage was in. Oh well, sure it was a laugh. I do recall the encore though, because Ed Kowalczyk stripped down to his underwear, and that was pretty cool. And anyway, it was a landmark moment in my future of music appreciation, as well as the first show me and Adam did as a team, paving the way for so many years to come.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 29. Beardyman

29. Beardyman

Venue: Electric Ballroom
Date: 09/03/11
Partners in Crime: Emile; Kris

What I Remember:
Before the show, some hot girl interviewed me and then made me beatbox (badly) for her, which made me feel cool. The show itself was improv heaven, Beardyman taking requests as people shouted out ridiculous suggestions such as "Phil Collins Dubstep!" or "Superhero theme music about a dog!", and he'd totally nail it on the spot, just by using his voice. Incredible. The loose nature of the show extended to the visuals too, whoever was in charge obviously quick to find relative Google images per request and then mixing them together in a psychedelic way. At some point they took footage they'd filmed from the queue outside, and scratched the film like a DJ, making a song out of people's faces from the audience. Impossible to properly describe, but it was insane. I left feeling like it may have gone on for a bit too long, but still, some of the most talent I've ever witnessed from one man. Best beatboxer ever?


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 28. Braids

28. Braids

Venue: The Lexington
Date: 24/05/11
Partners in Crime: Kris

What I Remember:
Props to The Lexington: we somehow lost our tickets hours before the show, so we called them up, and they told us not to worry about it, we'd get in. We arrived only to find one of the smallest but most intimate venues in London; no security, the stage hardly elevated, and barely a crowd—which surprised me because Braids are so fucking good, but still, all the better for us. The band themselves were arguably the most flawless outfit I've ever heard live, sounding almost note for note like their album, layers upon layers of instrumentation while Taylor Smith's vocals smothered us all like angel syrup. It felt almost religious and the time flew by, after which we went and shook each of their hands and told them how their album was the best of the year (which at the time, was true), and they seemed stoked. I left feeling lighter, it was a special magical kind of show, above most others on this list, and no one can really explain that shit.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 27. Sleigh Bells

27. Sleigh Bells

Venue: Heaven
Date: 14/02/11
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
As far as attending a gig all by myself on Valentine's Day goes, this was one helluva success. Supported by Teeth (who were crap) and MEN, I was happy to bump into the latter's singer JD Samson at the merch section. I shook her hand, completely convinced she was a man and completely unaware that she was actually quite famous as the singer for Le Tigre. Sleigh Bells themselves nailed the sound they invented, and Alexis Krauss is so fucking hot that I got all excited when I managed to high-five her. They threw their setlist into the crowd, and I caught it. When it was all over, NME approached me with a camera and interviewed me, asking if I thought Sleigh Bells and Beyoncé would make a good collaborative pair. I said they would. Never found out if that made it to print, but very few nights have had so many good stories associated with them.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 26. Nine Inch Nails

26. Nine Inch Nails

Venue: Little John's Farm, Reading Festival 2013
Date: 25/08/13
Partners in Crime: Anne; Dale; Fyl; Sam (initially)/All By Myself (remainder)

What I Remember:
Apparently Trent had some argument with the Reading organisers before this gig because he didn't want to open for Biffy Clyro (fair enough), and for this reason, his performance was a little lazy. He didn't say a word to the audience and played quite a mellow set to a tragically unresponsive crowd. But nothing can beat the fact that Reznor is a Jesus-figure to me, and as he occasionally emerged from the excessive smoke and lasers only to disappear out of view seconds later, he lived up to this prophetic image completely. And slowly but surely, the songs did get louder and heavier, but I was still one of the few people jumping around like a mad man. In fact, I could only see one other guy dancing far in the distance, and I connected to the dude without him ever knowing. But regardless of these small downfalls, Nine Inch Nails had literally only announced their reformation a few months previous, and I had been worried I would never see them live, so it was a relief and important in that regard. Plus, their new album leaked a few days later, and it was lovely.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 25. At the Drive-In

25. At the Drive-In

Venue: Brixton O2 Academy
Date: 28/08/12
Partners in Crime: Adam; Lizzie; Lonnie

What I Remember:
In our blind excitement, somehow all of us had purchased the wrong upstairs tickets. Adam did some scam with £20 and managed to get into the main space, but the rest of us had to reluctantly surrender to the seated area. Except we never sat down once. Aggressively blasting through a majority Relationship of Command setlist, At the Drive-In stuffed the entire venue with so much ape-shit energy I can't even explain it, granting us all an experience we had long since given up on. And witnessing the chemistry of a band who obviously missed playing together gave me hope: maybe this would turn into a proper reunion? Maybe a new At the Drive-In album would be coming? Quite the opposite actually, as four months later, they announced that the 20 year key relationship between Omar and Cedric had reached boiling point, not only meaning the end of any ATDI possibilities, but also those of Mars Volta. Which, in a depressing sorta way, made this show all that more special.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 24. Green Day

24. Green Day

Venue: Little John's Farm, Reading Festival 2013
Date: 24/08/13
Partners in Crime: Fyl; Sam

What I Remember:
Green Day don't mean that much to me anymore, and as they came on playing five new songs I'd never heard of, I felt sick and turned around to leave. Just as I did that, the backdrop behind them fell away to reveal the Dookie album cover, announcing that the album would be 20 years old in 2014, and to celebrate, they would play the whole thing, start to finish. And they did just that. The younger kids were upset, but the older kids lost their minds, because this album changed our lives back in the day, man. And besides a sneaky Highway To Hell cover shoved into the middle of it all, their performance was true to the album and so much fucking fun. Everyone enjoyed themselves, even the band looked entertained. They ended by shooting t-shirts miles into the crowd with a fuck-off big gun for good measure but we left shortly after. We got what we'd come for. We had been part of something. And then we went and watched Skrillex.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 23. Slipknot

23. Slipknot

Venue: Brisbane Convention Center, Australia
Date: 24/01/05
Partners in Crime: Canny

What I Remember:
The thing about a Slipknot show is that it can get fucking intimidating. Surrounded by little kids with goth make-up and cut-up arms, only to be faced with nine full grown men with masks on, was fairly intense and I am all about that shit. Hatebreed opened, but the insanity of Slipknot themselves created such a surge forward from the crowd that the security barrier physically broke! I've never seen that happen before or since. Slipknot had to stop the show, while Corey told the crowd to "calm down", which I thought was rude after he'd been telling me I needed to kill everything my whole life. He then told jokes until they fixed the barrier, and then the pain continued. They did that thing where everyone sat down during Spit it Out and then jumped up at the same time, such a great touch. Afterwards, I met some guy in the bathroom who had caught one of Joey's drumsticks and he let me touch it. This is only a summary of how mad this show was, and having seen them on two other separate occasions, I can only recommend them highly.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 22. Eminem

22. Eminem

Venue: Little John's Farm, Reading Festival 2013
Date: 24/08/13
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
Even if my days of Eminem worship were at least 10 years dead at this point, I knew this was my chance to witness a motherfucking legend who is generally impossible to witness. Everyone had the same idea though, as the area was packed out more than any other point of the festival. Needless to say, Eminem came out swinging with a full band, mixing a great dose of his new shit with his old shit, each song interrupted halfway by another song, ensuring optimal coverage of his entire catalogue. Everyone was desperately trying to rap along, tripping up on our own tongues, but all of us bouncing. Dido came on stage to sing Stan. Royce da 5'9" came on stage to rap some tracks from Bad Meets Evil. And it all ended with Lose Yourself, resulting in one of the best performances from the whole weekend. Miming accusations aside, it was huge, and a big deal for all of us who were there. I still can't believe it happened, and people ask me about it all the time.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 21. The Smashing Pumpkins

21. The Smashing Pumpkins

Venue: Big Arena, Cape Town
Date: 14/11/00
Partners in Crime: Adam; Canny; Jaclyn; Nic

What I Remember:
A HUGE event in Cape Town, complete with underage drinking in the queue and screaming at Billy when we noticed him standing in the distance before the show. Got right to the front, and as the Machina incarnation of the band (i.e: before the group was Billy's sex toy) it was really special. And while we were disappointed that D'arcy wasn't playing, Melissa Auf der Maur nailed her role perfectly. Nobody believes me, but I waved at her and she waved back, I swear to God this happened. Then she threw her plectrum into the crowd and my sister caught it, which pissed me off. After the show, a security man was handing plectrums out. I begged him for one, he asked what it meant to me, I told him Billy was my God, he told me I obviously didn't go to church and refused to give me one. I went home sulking, and phoned every hotel in Cape Town trying to find them in retaliation, and failed. A bit pathetic, I know, but I've calmed down now, and remember this as an important show, as only the second international band I'd ever seen live, setting the bar nice and high.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 20. The Streets

20. The Streets

Venue: Roundhouse
Date: 23/10/08
Partners in Crime: Mark

What I Remember:
My first experience at my now favourite London venue nearly didn't happen, as we literally found out The Streets were playing down our road that very day, and decided to go on a whim. Santigold opened, only caught her last song, biggest regret of my whole life. Mike Skinner played all the classics, mate, none of the bad songs (and he has a lot of them, make no mistake). He kept asking us “Can you hear me? Can you see me?” and it’s like, yes Mike, that’s why we are here. At some point he made everyone sit on the ground to jump up at the right moment, and I used this opportunity to run over everyone's heads and got to the front. Then Mike jumped into the crowd and I grabbed onto his arm for an uncomfortable length of time, turned me on. Afterwards (and despite it being a school night) me and Mark went to our local pub and got drunk, coming up with a brilliant plan to start a company to take photos of girls' boobs. Then Mark tried to eat his Streets ticket whole, and nearly succeeded too. Woke up so hungover with an email from Mark telling me he had bought the domain for our boob project. It never happened. Good night, goodnight


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 19. Tame Impala

19. Tame Impala

Venue: Little John's Farm, Reading Festival 2013
Date: 24/08/13
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
As the second time I was seeing these modern-day Australian heroes, I was expecting a good show, but not one of the best show of the festival—which it was. What makes this even more unlikely, is that main member Kevin Parker was very sick, coming onto the stage late and leaving early. However, this may have made it even better, a quick performance, much more direct and potent. The music was so cd quality and accurate, you could almost accuse them of using a backtrack except for the extended jams which broke out in the middle of each song. Kevin's voice was heavenly, betraying no signs of illness. The visuals consisted of, like, a heart monitor attached to the guitar, reacting each time a string was plucked. And when it was all over, I walked away elevated and in awe. How these young dudes own the scene like they do is incomprehensible.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 18. Crystal Castles

18. Crystal Castles

Venue: Roundhouse
Date: 15/10/10
Partners in Crime: Ammr; Isabel; Kris; Sophie

What I Remember:
It was the night before my birthday and God knows how I got a ticket, because it was sold out and I didn't have one that morning. Thanks to whoever. I guess because of this, I was in a great mood, and so while my mates weren't really feeling the vibe, complaining about the sound and hanging back and whatnot, I loved it and marched onwards until I was right at the front. There, I fell deeper and deeper in love with Alice Glass. The sound was album quality from where I was standing. She jumped into the crowd and people were grabbing her ass and she was loving it, so I grabbed her ass too, whatever. Near the end she took a bottle of Jack Daniels and poured it into people's mouths, so I opened my mouth like a hungry infant bird, and she filled it to the brim. Was a special moment, don't remember much after that, happy fucking birthday to me.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 17. PJ Harvey

17. PJ Harvey

Venue: Royal Albert Hall
Date: 30/01/11
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
As my first and (as of yet) only show at the Royal Albert Hall, anyone will tell you it's a different sort of experience. The entire venue sits with glasses of wine. Nobody moves. PJ Harvey comes on. Everyone claps politely. Everything falls dead silent and we wait. Nobody moves. She plays an amazing song. Nobody dances. Nobody even stands up. She finishes. Everyone claps politely. Everything falls dead silent and we wait. Repeat. I yearned to shout "I LOVE YOU POLLY" between songs because it would have been the only sound at time, but I felt that would've been embarrassingly unsophisticated of me. Regardless, she pretty much only played songs from Let England Shake, which was fine by me. After the show, I had to pee so badly but due to the crowded bathrooms and my fear of urinals, I couldn't do it and had to walk around the streets bursting for half an hour until I found a secluded spot. Was a nightmare, but as soon as the distracting urine had left me, the memory of the show flooded back and I knew that PJ Harvey was one of the best female artists in the world, by fucking far. God, I love her.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 16. System of a Down

16. System of a Down

Venue: Little John's Farm, Reading Festival 2013
Date: 23/08/13
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
Having seen SOAD before, I was pretty amped, so I pushed to the front and waited. And they did not fail, playing all their classics with all their quirks, never once doing anything I didn't like. Except I was getting pummelled! People kept diving over me and their sneakers were smashing into my face. Every time a security guard handed out water, some douche would throw it into the air, getting everyone around them wet. So after a while of being smashed up and soaking to my boxers, I figured it would probably be much more enjoyable to back up a bit. I took a few steps and BAM, into the middle of a moshpit. I got knocked around like OMFG WHAT'S HAPPENING, so I tried to back up some more and BAM, straight into another moshpit. Repeat this about four times until I finally found safety, miles away from where I started. Still, the feeling like I had been in a washing machine coupled with such a quality performance was so brilliantly exhausting that I doubted I could even enjoy the rest of the festival. That's when you know you've seen a good band. When you get beaten up.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 15. Glassjaw

15. Glassjaw

Venue: HMV Forum
Date: 30/03/11
Partners in Crime: Adam

What I Remember:
As historically one of the most influential artists on my own musical journey, I was distraught when we arrived late, the band jumping onto the stage while we were still at the cloakroom. So I developed a plan. A moshpit had broken out near the front, and I tapped people on the shoulder to ask them nicely "sorry, do you mind if I push passed you? I need to join the madness over there." Surprisingly, everyone was super friendly, letting me all the way through, reaching the pit in two minutes. Then I casually strolled across the middle of the chaos unharmed, and I was at the very front in record time. Glassjaw themselves were indescribable, playing all my favourite songs, but it was their encore which was the most special. Instead of performing anything recognisable, they played their Coloring Book EP in its entirety, and when they finished, they announced that every single one of us would be receiving a copy of that very EP for free, and we did. I had been waiting just under a decade to see these guys live, and it was better than I could have ever hoped.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 14. Dillinger Escape Plan

14. Dillinger Escape Plan

Venue: Brixton O2 Academy
Date: 11/02/12
Partners in Crime: Adam; Diego; Sam

What I Remember:
I managed to get right to the front, and my whole life turned upside down. The standard was set when Ben Weinman smashed his guitar into his forehead within the first few seconds of the gig, blood pouring down his face, each song looking closer and closer to passing out without ever lifting his foot off the acceleration. Absolute chaos everywhere as we tried to dance to math beats and failed miserably. Singer Greg jumped into the crowd right next to me and I grabbed his arm. He retaliated by shoving the mic deep into my face and I scream as loud as I could, chuffed to know that for a second, I performed at the O2, stoked. I can't really describe the whirlwind of this show, except that Mastodon played next but I was so tired I couldn't even enjoy them. Dillinger ruined Mastodon. That says a lot. Mad respect to this band for destroying me in that way.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 13. Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All

13. Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All

Venue: Electric Ballroom
Date: 06/07/11
Partners in Crime: Adam; Trish

What I Remember:
Despite being surrounded by various gangster-looking-types, me and Adam pushed right to the front of the barrier, because we're the true gangsters. Although this may have been a mistake, as the pressure from the crowd behind us was unlike anything I've ever felt before or since. Shit got crazy, so many songs, so many rappers, so much jealousy that these little kids command a crowd like they do. Tyler had a broken ankle, but that didn't stop him from stage diving right on top of my head, and I enjoyed it, no homo. The group kept playing and playing and playing until the venue was forced to cut the power to the stage. After the show, both me and Adam had huge bruises all down our sides, I couldn't sit up properly for a week, and for a while we were both convinced we had broken a rib. Somehow, the skin from all my knuckles had been torn off and they bled profusely. One of the most injured I've ever left a show, and for that reason, I hold onto the memory dearly.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 12. Deftones

12. Deftones

Venue: HMV Forum
Date: 27/08/09
Partners in Crime: Adam

What I Remember:
Less than a year after former bassist Chi's tragic car accident, it was interesting for me to see that Deftones seemed so incredibly happy. Chino danced around, jumping on and off this table thing he had set up, whilst calling British people miserable and laughing at us. It was nice to see, but despite the fun in amongst the roaring riffs and screams, the crowd had not forgotten, as we chanted CHI CHI CHI on a regular basis. I felt sorry for Sergio (Chi's replacement), but even this vibe came from the right place. At the end Chino jumped near the front of the crowd and started high-fiving people, one of which was me, and I promptly licked my hand, never to wash it again. I have seen them twice since then, but I feel this was the best show I have witnessed of theirs, and as they are pretty much the most consistent band in modern times (remaining one of my favourites since 2000), it meant a lot.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 11. Die Antwoord

11. Die Antwoord

Venue: Brixton O2 Academy
Date: 22/06/13
Partners in Crime: Adam; Di-Di; Jenny; Lizzie; Mark; Paul

What I Remember:
A tough one for me, as it was the third time I'd seen this outfit, and each occasion was crazy special. For example, the first time at LED Festival 2010 is where I met my girlfriend. Or the second time, at Scala the same year is when Ninja jumped onto my head and smashed my glasses. But while each performance was memorable for its own reasons, I remember leaving this particular show thinking it was the best. Why? I have no fucking idea! I was so drunk! I hardly remember anything at all! So, yeah, cool story, bro. They played a new song called Pitbul though, so that was nice, I think. Anyways, I adore this band more than anyone, and Yolandi does something deep inside of me that alone deserves them this spot. Fuck you, it's my list.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 10. Noisia

10. Noisia

Venue: mau5trap Warehouse Party, The Sidings
Date: 07/07/12
Partners in Crime: Cleo; Lizzie; Loose; Mark; Narinda; Paul

What I Remember:
Not much! Loose was on a love mission, hugging everyone and everything, including a dude taking a pee in the urinal. He didn't like that. The venue was incredible, a proper warehouse, sweat dripping off the ceiling, everyone taking more and more clothes off, looking more and more wet and sexy—a total music video scene. Two stages, Noisia on the one side, Foreign Beggars on the other, the whole thing lasting until after sunrise. Pretty fucking rad if you ask me. But despite the holes in my memory, and despite the guy overdosing near the end surrounded by medics, it was probably the most fun I have ever had in London. I was sick for weeks afterwards, which should be some sort of an indication as to what I'm talking about.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 09. Bob Dylan

09. Bob Dylan

Venue: O2 Arena
Date: 25/04/09
Partners in Crime: Adam

What I Remember:
I accidentally ate a potent weed brownie ten minutes before I left the house, and so by the time we reached the building, I was all kinds of stoned. We were right at the back of the biggest venue in London, and I was so messed up I could hardly see my hands in front of me let alone the stage, which definitely put an interesting twist on the whole experience. The funniest thing about modern day Dylan is that his voice is so worn out and he has changed each of his songs so drastically, that you don't recognise a single tune until he mumbles the line "like a rolling stone..." or whatever, and you go "oh yeah, I know this one." But more than anything, it was that we were in the same room as Bob Fucking Dylan, one of the greatest songwriters in history, and thankfully some friendly people lent me their binoculars for a while so I could get a good look at the man himself. I remember very little other than that, except getting home only to find everyone else who had ingested the magic brownies passed out on the floor, claiming they fell asleep the moment I left, in awe that I managed to go to a show while they couldn't even move. They didn't understand. I had seen a god that night.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 08. Muse

08. Muse

Venue: My Coke Fest, Kenilworth Racecourse, Cape Town
Date: 24/03/08
Partners in Crime: Holly

What I Remember:
After what can only be described as a wet-dream line-up for South Africa (including Good Charlotte, Kaiser Chiefs, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Chris Cornell), I bumped into an ex-girlfriend who I'd broken up with a week previous. Luckily, we were both super drunk, so that little fact didn't bother us. Instead, she stood in front of me while I put my arms around her, and then for some reason, another girl I didn't know put her arms around me, and we stayed that way for the whole performance. Sandwiched between two pretty girls was a great way to start the show, but wasn't even the main reason as to why it was such a good experience. What really mattered was Muse themselves, and as a band who have been named the Best British Live Act twice by the Brit Awards, they fully lived up to the hype with huge lights, impeccable musicianship, and such epic emotions in my gut that I sang using the loudest falsetto I could muster until my throat took a shit and died. I remember very little, except for at least a year following, I told everyone it was the greatest show I'd ever seen. And I'd kill to see them again.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 07. Jay-Z

07. Jay-Z

Venue: Hyde Park, Wireless Festival 2010
Date: 04/07/10
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
Having already seen Slash, Friendly Fires and Lily Allen, as well as eating random food I found on the ground, it goes without saying that I was super drunk by this point. So drunk, in fact, that I pissed in a bottle and shamefully threw it backwards into the crowd, because I'm an asshole when I'm trashed. So it was already an amazing day, but Jay-Z was the definite highlight. He kept doing this thing where the music would stop and he'd rap a capella faster and faster until he'd fuck it up, as if sabotaging himself. Incredible. But the best aspect for me was how many white boys felt completely comfortable with shouting the n-word along with the music as loud as possible, one of the very few situations you could get away with such behaviour. Even if my memory is hazy, I do recall thinking "Jay-Z is the best rapper alive". I mean, maybe he's not, but I really did think that anyway.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 06. Pixies

06. Pixies

Venue: Troxy
Date: 04/06/10
Partners in Crime: Ammr; The Freewheelin’ Troubadour; Mike

What I Remember:
Some shows are more about the band over the experience, and as I only discovered the Pixies after their original dissolution (fast becoming one of my all time favourites), the concept of seeing these legends live seemed unattainable. And yet there I was, drinking an unhealthy concoction of beer and the (then) legal plant food drug. Because of this, I don't have much memory except that they played all the hits (lol, as if they have anything else) managing to cover an epic 29 song setlist in front of my melting face. Especially now that Kim Deal has left, it meant the world that I saw them as the group they were always meant to be, and I was quick to tell my friends that Pixies were "the best band I've ever seen live". Perhaps this list may suggest otherwise, but I also went to the Bizarre Ball the very next day, resulting in one of the best weekends of my life, really.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 05. Amanda Palmer

05. Amanda Palmer

Venue: Roundhouse
Date: 12/07/13
Partners in Crime: All By Myself

What I Remember:
I could write an essay (and nearly did) about why this show was so fucking incredible, but for your sake, here are 10 quick reasons why Amanda is the greatest: (1) I tweeted Palmer letting her know that I was coming without a ticket or any friends. She answered with “it’ll happen”, so I made it happen. (2) She played Theatre is Evil songs with her band, but also some solo stuff, even sometimes alone on a ukelele. (3) She shared the stage with other artists, including a circus act and a girl named Kate Miller-Heidke, who played her hilarious song Are You Fucking Kidding Me?, check it out. (4) They covered Common People. (5) Every lyric she ever sings feels genuine and clever. (6) Amanda is a force as a woman artist without being a preachy feminist. She leads as a joyful example and is what I consider the epitome of a strong female, free with her body and sexual expression. (7) Despite being the star of the show, she shares the spotlight with her band generously. (8) She uses her music as a weapon, either to get out of her contract with Roadrunner, or to attack the Daily Mail, which was the highlight of the whole fucking show by far. Watch it. She gets naked. (9) She has a huge connection with her fans, managing to raise over a $million on Kickstarter for a reason, and communicating with hundreds of us via Twitter on a daily basis. (10) Never before have I been to a show where I was the only person in the room, and I know everyone else felt the same way. She had us all in the palm(er) of her hand, I actually felt depressed when I left the venue, and yet I reckon the best from this artist is still to come.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 04. Red Hot Chili Peppers

04. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Venue: O2 Arena
Date: 10/11/11
Partners in Crime: Adam; Alan; Carike; Mark; Paul

What I Remember:
Paul got the wrong ticket, so he was forced into the seated area, while I couldn't find the cloakroom, and had to wear my backpack the whole show. Regardless, we managed to push to the front, which in the Arena, is no easy task. If this doesn't seem impossible enough, Paul broke into the VIP area and then casually strolled onto the main floor to join us, which was so ninja. If you know the Arena, you'll understand how insane this is. At some point I realised I had been pick-pocketed and my iPhone was gone, but none of this could detract from the point: Chili Peppers were on fire. They played all the hits, and trust me, I know every single one (as does everyone, I suppose). Flea was doing handstands and there were extended jams, while Anthony busted moves way past his age should allow. Even when Josh fucked up and Flea got angry, the whole thing left me so far beyond satisfied, especially coming from a band who doesn't exactly have the best live reputation. I am a super fan, and they even played They’re Red Hot in the encore which made me pee a little with excitement. I can barely even think about it now.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 03. Faith No More

03. Faith No More

Venue: Donington Park, Download Festival 2009
Date: 12/06/09
Partners in Crime: All By Myself (mostly)

What I Remember:
When my friends opted to watch Mötley Crüe instead, I couldn't believe how fucking stupid they were. This is because Faith No More had been broken up for over 10 years, so the chance to see them live seemed like one of those "I'll never get to do that" type deals. Whatever. Armed with my excitement, I pushed to the front and awaited to see one of my favourite bands ever, alone. The moment Mike Patton hobbled out wearing a red suit and leaning on a walking-stick, mocking themselves as an old band, I knew this was going to be a different sort of show. And it was, as they blasted through an energetic set including their own rendition of Lady Gaga's Poker Face. Mid-gig, my friends somehow pushed through the huge crowd right up behind me, which I still don't completely understand. Even when it was over, everyone kept singing their tunes throughout the night with smiles on their faces, because we all knew we'd just witnessed legends; one of the main pioneers of alternative metal, who inspired more bands than people realise. That is to say (and as I've already said in entry #47) I am in love with Mike Patton, and this was all way too much for my poor little heart and kidneys.


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 02. Rage Against The Machine

02. Rage Against The Machine

Venue: Little John's Farm, Reading Festival 2008
Date: 22/08/08
Partners in Crime: Paul

What I Remember:
As one of my first weekends in London, this story extends further than just this legendary band. My mate got us into Reading for free, which is a rad but long story. Caught the end of Queens of the Stone Age, and then Rage came out in prisoner uniforms with bags over the heads. The crowd lost their fucking shit. Every song was like a bomb, complete with political preachiness thrown in for good measure. Their aggression leaked into the crowd, and people moshed into each other, pressure from all sides, some guy pushed me around and Paul even got into a fist-fight. It was by no means a friendly show, which matched the mood perfectly. And despite drummer Brad fucking up a few times (much to Zack's dismay), nothing could ruin the experience of a band who had only recently got back together after a seven year hiatus. The rest of the weekend was filled with trance parties, Notting Hill carnival, and other such things I don't care to mention here, but the whole time all I could think was "is this what London is like? I don't think I can handle it..."


The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live: 01. Radiohead

01. Radiohead

Venue: Bramham Park, Leeds Festival 2009
Date: 29/08/09
Partners in Crime: Adam

What I Remember:
I was so broke that Adam paid for everything, which should give you some idea as to why he is my number 1 gig buddy ever (just look how many times his name appears on this list). We left in a panic, nearly missing our bus, cutting time very fine as it's a long trip. As soon as we arrived we ran around until we found the main stage, literally seconds to spare as Radiohead started. Yet we still got the front, which is one of my proudest gig achievements to date. At the time, Radiohead were my favourite band, so it was orgasmic, the crowd sang Every Single Word so loud that there were songs when you couldn't even hear Thom. The vibe of crowd-unity for this band was so thick you could keep warm with it. During You And Whose Army?, Thom had a camera zoomed in on his eye. He then simply raised one eyebrow, and the crowd went mental. Only Thom Yorke could make 50,000 people shit their pants with his eyebrow. It ended with a girl telling me I stank, but I didn’t care—how could I? Because me and Adam both agreed that this was the best thing we’d ever seen, and still is, to this day, unchallenged. I get choked up when I watch videos from the show, despite the fact that I have since lost a lot of interest in this band, but such is life.


Outro
People in London love to complain, because they don’t get enough vitamin D in their lives, and that makes humans miserable. Yeah, sure, the weather sucks, the tube is overcrowded, and nobody ever says hello ... but these are small prices to pay in exchange for the events and opportunities we are granted here on a yearly basis. Pretty much every band in the world stops here on tour, there is at least one good show every week, and that makes us spoilt for choice. There have been times where a band I adore will come and play in this city, but I'll miss it because I'm tired and I’d rather stay in bed. Which is as sad as it is awesome. I guess my point is: stop your bitching, London. Go to more gigs and then write blogs about them because the internet is really fast here and it doesn’t take very long to upload.
Next 50, here I come!


Hidden Track (20 near misses)
Beastie Boys (not full set) (Big Day Out; 23/01/05)
The Hives (Big Day Out; 23/01/05)
Hatebreed (Brisbane Convention Center; 24/01/05)
30 Seconds To Mars (My Coke Fest, Kenilworth Racecourse; 24/03/08)
Chris Cornell (My Coke Fest, Kenilworth Racecourse; 24/03/08)
In Flames (Astoria; 01/10/08)
Rancid (Astoria; 16/11/08)
Neon Indian (Camp Basement; 20/05/10)
Bloody Beetroots (LED Festival, Victoria Park; 27/08/10)
Aphex Twin (LED Festival, Victoria Park; 28/08/10)
Vampire Weekend (Alexandra Palace; 03/12/10)
The Chemical Brothers (Hyde Park, Wireless Festival; 02/07/11)
James Blake (Field Day; 06/08/11)
Jamie Woon (Field Day; 06/08/11)
Mastodon (Brixton O2; 11/02/12)
Robag Wruhme (Electwickskirt Studio Space; 30/03/13)
Modeselektor (Roundhouse; 17/05/13)
Frank Turner (Reading; 23/08/13)
Earlwolf (Reading; 24/08/13)
Charli XCX (Reading; 25/08/13)