2016 is coming to a close so I wanted to take a moment and look back on a truly unique year.
I want to take a moment to thank all those people that follow us on our socials, read our articles, share our content across the web, and just anyone that is active in our little concert community. Without you, we would not exist. Your strange desire to pay attention to what we are doing grants us the privilege of continuing to do what we love. Every time you click on one of our links and read some of our words or look at some of our photographs or comment on something or send us an email, you are the reason we get to keep this little project going. So I want to send out a big thank you to all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Despite the many strange occurrences that have taken place in the last twelve months, from Trump being elected to the plethora of celebrities and musicians that have left us, this year had been pretty amazing. The live music scene is pulsing and growing. We are seeing huge artists continue to take the stage year after year and put on massive tours around the world. 2017 is already stacking up with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns ‘N Roses, and Radiohead continuing their 2016 tours. Rumours have Radiohead, U2, and Metallica ready to dump more tour dates very soon as well. The scenes at the clubs and other smaller venues are alive with rising talent and unsung heroes delivering killer sets, night in and night out. Take the time to attend the smaller shows, you will very rarely by let down.
Now, let’s take a look at the year in concerts.
I was lucky enough to see a little over a hundred concerts this year. A number of heavy-hitters, up-and-comers, and consistent-killers delivered epic shows during that time. After weeding through the events and narrowing it down, I have come up with my top ten favourites from the last twelve months.
Top 10 Concerts of 2016
Gary Clark Jr. @ Commodore Ballroom
Mr. Clark played a two-night stint in Vancouver back in April. The sets were concise, impassioned, and completely consuming. Watching a master at work was a humbling experience. I managed to walk away with a setlist and a guitar pick on night two.
Paul McCartney @ Rogers Arena
McCartney brought his One On One tour through our humble little city for two nights. Both shows were engaging and intensely packed with material from throughout the former Beatles half-century spanning career. Night one featured a guest appearance by Dianna Krall, while night two saw Jimmy Fallon invited to the stage. Macca proved why he is a legend by putting himself out there and surrounding himself with masterful musicians. Both nights left me in awe.
Låpsley @ Fortune Sound Club
Låpsley is an English singer, songwriter, musician and producer. I jumped at the chance to see her at such an intimate venue. Her entire set was heartfelt and enticingly romantic. At several points throughout the show, her haunting vocals sent goosebumps rippling over my skin. Her vocal range is astonishing.
Years & Years @ Commodore Ballroom
This British electronica trio was original supposed to visit the area at Squamish Valley Music Festival in 2015 but was knocked from the lineup at the last minute. I was disappointed. When I was finally able to see them perform at the Commodore Ballroom this year, it made the worth so worthwhile. Their music and performance style is fun and dancy and contagious. The entire group works themselves sweaty delivering fast paced, good times music with a carefully sculpted deep underlying message. Lead singer, Olly Alexander, never seemed to stop smiling, a truly humble and happy person that you can’t help falling in love with.
Juliette Lewis @ Venue Nightclub
I have been trying to catch a Juliette Lewis performance for a few years. Her shows were something of a legend to me, passed down by those that had bared witness, sounding too good to be true. Her entire delivery at Venue Nightclub was captivating and agressive. Like only a handfull of other musicians she is able to let the music possess her and take complete control. She is part Iggy Pop, part Mick Jagger, but still organically her own creation. Those that were there with me can attest, she is General Badass.
Ghost @ Vogue Theatre
This Swedish metal have been riding high for the past few years after a number of awards and accolades. From beginning to end their performance is polished and served up perfectly. Dark and mysterious meets theatrics and stunning visuals. They are the next big thing in the metal circuit and proved that when they brought their current Popestar tour to town.
M83 @ Vogue Theatre
Anthony Gonzalez and team have eluded me. I was never able to catch them during their rise to stardom. Their Vancouver date was originally scheduled for the PNE Forum, which is a much bigger venue but was moved over to the Vogue Theatre. Their set was beautiful and powerful and mesmerising. A couple of songs into the night and they had the entire venue rhythmic bouncing like one giant dance troupe. Fantastic.
Vince Staples @ Vogue Theatre
I was humbled by Vince Staples set at the Vogue. He brought a raucous energy and used it to quickly build this symbiotic relationship with the crowd. Firing back and forth, pushing each other further and faster and harder. At one moment I looked out to the audience and saw more than a dozen crowd surfers rolling about. For such a small venue the visuals of this are hard to convey. I was worried his hype would be just that, but it wasn’t/ He has earned his name and proved it in Vancouver.
July Talk @ Commodore Ballroom
I don’t think July Talk are capable of putting on a bad performance. They come out to the stage and become completely consumed in their music and delivery. While intense and powerful, nothing seems forced or pre-planned, it all just occurs organically. In the number of times I have seen them they still manage to get better. The show at the Commodore Ballroom was enthralling. Musically they were on point and worked as solid, cohesive unit. The performance was legendary. Watching Peter and Leah, the lead singers, fuck with each other on stage just ends up being icing on the cake.
Savages @ Imperial
I missed Savages when they played the Biltmore Cabaret a few years ago, I regretted it ever since. When I walked into the Imperial I could feel this nervous, anticipatory energy in the air. The band came out under a veil of darkness and slowly built this explosive set that had everyone by the balls. Their setup was minimalist and their music has all the fat cut off. They are direct and to the point with everything. Lead singer, Jehnny Beth, is the cherry on top. She walks across the crowd and presses her face into the audience, blasting vocal harmonies out with them. She is as much the central point no the stage as she is a part of the horde before her. Savages are on a whole other level and they deserve your attention.
Just for shits and giggles, I have also compiled my favourite 5 albums of the year. It was easy to pick my favourite. Childish Gambino’s late-in-the-year entry in Awaken, My Love! was a stunning poetry of 70s galactic funk that came out of nowhere. It was like I was standing calmly on a street corner and it rode by on a bike and slapped me upside the head. The other 4 albums I chose were consistently turned up loud and played on repeat through my headphones. Some really solid compilations were released this year.
Top 5 Albums of 2016
Teens Of Denial by Car Seat Headrest
Puberty 2 by Mitsky
Changes by Charles Bradley
Midwest Farmer’s Daughter by Margo Price
Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino
I also spent some time combing through all the photos I took and gathered together my 30 favourites. You can head over to our Instagram feed (@concertaddicts) to see how they ranked. Below is the compilation of those 30 photographs in no particular order.
So that’s it, folks. We are out of here until next year. Thank you once again for your support.