In the build-up to Christmas you’ll find videos selected by our award winning founder Paul Bachmann, tracks picked out by editor Dave Smith, and favourite albums personally selected by our staff as Live4ever’s Essential Listening 2014 series gets underway today. To start, our writers and photographers have put their collective heads together to help shape our Essential Gigs of the year, showcasing live reviews, galleries and interviews from a year of Live4ever featured shows in both the US and UK.
Amongst those making the cut is the ‘intimacy and skeletal delivery’ of Jake Bugg live in New York, The Jim Jones Revue saying farewell by ‘grabbing the lapels and screaming directly into the crowd’ at the Leeds Brudenell Social Club, and Embrace performing on an ’emotionally-charged night’ upon their return to Manchester. You can discover the features in all their glorious entireties by clicking on each individual link.
Live4ever’s Essential Listening series is here to share, not preach! An interactive celebration of rock and roll where your favourites can contribute. Make sure your stand-out gigs of the year get a clearly deserved mention by leaving a comment below.
“Addressing his audience for the first time, Mount professed to being humbled by the packed Brooklyn venue before him, and proceeded into the mellow pop-rock of ‘Everything Goes My Way‘, Prior taking on lead vocals and synths dropped for the more textural roles of shaker and acoustic guitar, while Mount himself pulled out a beautiful semi-hollow guitar.”
“With Jay Bentley of Bad Religion more than holding his own out front in the absence of the iconic Fat Mike, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes performed a raucous celebration of punk from the 1960s right through to the present day – with a couple of their own tracks thrown in for good measure. Live4ever’s Gary Mather was part of a spellbound Liverpool crowd.”
“In front of Live4ever’s Gary Mather, Lonely The Brave put on an intimate but powerful performance in the small setting of Nottingham’s Rock City, as frontman David Jakes shunned the usual centre spotlight for a less in-your-face style at the back of the stage.”
“The O2 Academy in Liverpool played host to Reverend & The Makers on March 1st, a band who had an entire audience from back to front bouncing in unison – and were joined by The Farm at one stage. Our full gallery of the show was provided by Live4ever’s Gary Mather.”
“The after-curtain quartet are not so much an encore as a victory lap, although Noel Gallagher is absent during a romp through Iggy Pop‘s ‘Lust For Life‘. The finale neatly illustrates how almost anything is possible: ‘How Soon Is Now‘ was vilified at the time by the straight world as a tuneless dirge that defined both Morrissey’s gauche inability to express complex emotions and the band’s contrarian view on what constituted pop.”
“Live4ever’s Gary Mather was down front on an emotionally-charged night as Embrace‘s return brought them to the Manchester Academy. Embrace were out on the road having released their new, self-titled album at the end of April – the first studio record from the band since 2006.”
“In sending out heartfelt love letters to the early blues and rock and roll of the fifties and sixties, the young band have won an army of famous friends this past year or so, and brought their impressive live show together on the debut album ‘Snapshot‘ last September. Live4ever’s Andy Crossland presents The Strypes live at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London.”
“This is how Parquet Courts stun live; it’s all in their dramatic shifts in tone and pace. On record this skill impresses, live it is only magnified. They move almost instantaneously between these sides of their personality, bringing the noise scapes and guitar destruction of ‘Evol‘-era Sonic Youth to the playfulness and lyricism of Dinosaur Jr.”
“To round off a hugely successful twelve months, Alex Turner, Matt Helders, Jamie Cook and Nick O’Malley were back in North America for several more headline and festival gigs before embarking on a South American leg in November. Catching a band on the other side of the touring trail for Live4ever was Todd Howe – check out the brilliantly atmospheric gallery from the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona.”
“In those few minutes Edward Bagshaw seems to halo, evoking the kittenish aura of Marc Bolan and singing like Crosby, Stills and Steve Marriott. Perhaps this amalgam is precisely what he’s aiming for, but it’s also the piece of the jigsaw which, once found, allows Temples to wrap up the rest of the show with the crowd eating out of their chakras.”
“Anyone out there already familiar with Fat White Family will not be surprised to learn a band member of a very different kind took centre stage during the show in New York last weekend, and that therefore some NSFW caution should be heeded before you proceed.”
“After all these years, the Dandy Warhols seem even more at home in their sound than ever. For a long time they were written off as being merely derivative of those that influenced them. But surely, as tonight proved time and time again, many bands have influences, many bands sound like those influences, but few manage to emulate those influences with the kind of intensity and success that the Dandy Warhols do.”
“Arguably the biggest breakthrough band of 2013 wasted no time in getting back on stage for the new year as The 1975‘s winter 2014 tour of the UK arrived in London for three nights at the Brixton Academy. Live4ever’s Andy Crossland was down front on January 10th to capture all the highlights.”
“This is how they say goodbye, by grabbing the lapels and screaming directly into the crowd’s faces. But it is a scream that will be missed by so many. No other band takes what once was and makes it so relevant. JJR give rock ‘n’ roll back the passion that it was robbed of so many decades ago. Any anodyne sheen has been peeled back, and the band take music to its rawest and most primal beginnings.”
“Slash‘s UK tour brought him to the Manchester Phones 4U Arena on November 28th, a venue lit up with a fantastic night of rock n roll led by new material and Guns N Roses classics – ‘Sweet Child o Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’ being true stand-outs.”
“The rootsy anti-glamour of ‘Trouble Town‘ for instance now feels like a signature anthem, while the more simple sing-a-long invitations of ‘Seen It All‘ and especially ‘Two Fingers‘ are a joy to behold. ‘Country Song‘, which sparks a compelling, no frills acoustic section with an intimacy and skeletal delivery few would dare venture into, couldn’t be more simple or brief, but is unlikely to ever lose its sentient fragility for that very reason.”
“There is a moment this evening – several, in fact – during which Tim Booth seems to be a man as at one with the world as anyone else in the Leeds Arena; a modern, purpose built entertainment aircraft hangar, but an aircraft hanger all the same. Exuding serenity amongst the noise and sometime chaos, his Zen like calm and warm good humour aren’t always as infectious to the crowd as they should be, but his lack of ego is startling for someone immersed for thirty years in the career aesthetics of rock n’ roll.”
“The performance is on a grand and colourful scale, it’s as if Manchester has thrown an opening ceremony for the summer. The Flaming Lips seem to have captured a rainbow in a box. Regardless of what it’s like outside, it is only ever the brightest summers day at their shows.”
“As they proved with a monstrous career-spanning set, they did own the place, every bone-crushed inch of it. If there was any letdown playing a show to an audience considerably smaller in numbers than they’ve grown accustomed to in their native land, they showed no outward signs. Indeed, the United States are here to be conquered, inch by brutal inch; the people only need to turn up.”
“Amongst all this undertow and empathy there’s still the spectacle of men old enough to know better bouncing from foot to foot awkwardly at the front. Awkward certainly, but West Yorkshire’s politest mosh pit is broken up when Nicholson leads an impromptu acapella version of ‘Lean On Me‘ with the crowd before the thudding psychedelic heft of ‘Watermelon‘ manages to sound every bit as majestic as Richard Ashcroft in his pomp, Hewitt hitting the drums as if they were incoming snakes.”