Tuesday, December 23, 2014

London City Nights Best of 2014: Gigs

As shiny new 2015 hoves into view, I've got to admit I'm going to miss the ol' scuffed up, 2014.  I squeezed in an awful lot into 365 days, so with New Year approaching here's a few traditional 'Best of' lists. Today: gigs!  To come: albums, films, plays, art and maybe videogames.

Honourable Mentions: 

Eels at Royal Albert Hall, 30th June 2014

After a physically and mentally exhausting Glastonbury Festival the last thing I wanted to do was troop across London to see yet more live music.  But then Beautiful Freak was one of the first albums I ever owned and for many years Eels were my favourite band.  A couple of years of middling albums haven taken the shine off them, so I was there out of duty more than genuine passion.  But Mark Oliver Everett and company knocked me for six, reminding me precisely why younger me was so doolally over him.  The perfect way to get through the post festival blues.

'Miley Cyrus: Bangerz' at the o2 Arena, 6th May 2014

They laughed - laughed - at me for splashing out £50 on a Miley Cyrus ticket!  Joke's on them, she was one of the funnest/weirdest/bonkers things I saw all year.  Admittedly, a 30 year old man turning up alone to a Miley Cyrus gig isn't the greatest look, but I don't regret a single moment. Even leaving aside the bonkers cartoons and psychedelic cat projections, Bangerz is a goddamn excellent pop album, and hearing songs like Adore You, SMS Bangerz and 4x4 played at ear-splitting volume made me grin like an idiot.  Pop concert as sensory overload.

St Vincent at The Cambridge Junction, 19th August 2014

Well I didn't manage to score Kate Bush tickets (not for want of trying mind you), but Annie Clarke was probably the better gig. 2014 was the year St Vincent blossomed from 'merely' great into spectacular.  After knocking me dead at a festival gig over the summer I immediately got gig tickets to see her in Cambridge (her Roundhouse gigclashed with an ultimately disappointing Lady Gaga gig).  It was amazing, the kind of artist that turns her fans into evangelists and blows your mind clean out.  While she plays there may as well not be any other musicians in the world.  Annie Clarke is a class apart, a woman so talented you feel privileged to be spending time in the same room as her.


Dolly Parton at Glastonbury Festival, 29th June 2014

After 4 days and nights of non-stop partying, torrential rain and glue-like mud I thought I'd exhausted my brain's serotonin reserves.  Running on just a couple of hours sleep, Sunday afternoon at Glastonbury found me a numb zombie, barely able to lift a paper cup of beer to my mouth.  I am no real fan of Dolly Parton; but like most people I like 9 to 5, Jolene and so on, and figured as everyone was going I may as well go along too.

The very second she took to the stage it was like I learned how to experience emotion for the first time.  She sent waves of good vibes careening around the 100,000 strong crowd, sending us into a worshipful fervous.  It was powerfully amazing, leaving me astonished that, of all genres, country and western gave me a bigger buzz than all the mad-mental-crazy dance music that's my festival.  From then until the day I die, Dolly Parton will hold a very special place in my heart.  

Glastonbury was amazing, but she was the cherry on top of the cake.

24th December: Art
26th December: Theatre
27th December: Shittiest films.
29th December: Best films

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