Year round I am the keeper of the KCRW Presents calendar, as well as manager of all things ticket giveaway related. So yeah, my job does not suck. Here are, in monthly order, my Top 10 live shows of 2015:
Foo Fighters – The Forum – 1/10
Why did I wait this long to see Foo Fighters in concert?! I have no answer, but dang did I pick an awesome show as my first one. Three word for you: in-the-round. Not a bad seat in the house and because it was Dave Grohl’s birthday show, there were like a zillion guests including Paul Stanley, Stevie Nicks, Haim, David Lee Roth and Slash. Sorry you missed it. P.S. this was before Dave broke his leg and hit the road with his mammoth rock throne.
Billy Idol – Wiltern – 2/19
Again, first timer here. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the ageless Idol besides a run through of his greatest hits. However it was clear from the start that he had the stamina to fist pump through “Rebel Yell,” snarl in between “White Wedding” lyrics and take off his shirt for “Flesh for Fantasy.” Pretty pretty good stuff.
Leon Bridges – Hotel Café- 2/24
This was one of Leon’s early shows before his full length album came out and before he went big time performing on SNL – http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/leon-bridges-river/2949250?onid=139546. The entire band crammed on the tiny stage and delivered an energetic set of throwback sounding tunes.
The Barr Brothers – Belasco – 5/20
Even though they were the openers that night, they stole the show in my opinion. Harp, guitars, drums it all works. And if you’re not familiar with them or their music, click here to check out their 2014 MBE session.
U2 -Roxy- 5/28
When you strip away the massive stage set up and arena sound system , U2 can still elicit a feeling of euphoria and awe. The guys played some oldies (“Sunday Bloody Sunday”) and newbies (“Song for Someone”) and when the hour and 10 minute set was over I left with the best concert high. Disclaimer: I am well aware of how lucky I am to have gotten into that show.
Foreverland – Outside Lands in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park – 8/8
A 14-piece Michael Jackson cover band? Yes! It’s true and it’s awesome. Party vibes, smiling faces and a huge dance party.Their set was one of my favorites of the festival. Here’s a taste of their live shows:
KCRW’s World Festival with Grace Jones – Bowl – 9/27
Grace Jones closed out our World Festival series with a fashionable and jaw dropping bang. There’s nothing I can write that will even come close to describe her outrageous performance that night. I hope you were there and if you weren’t, where were you?!
KCRW Presents Korey Dane – The Lyric – 10/8
And we keep funneling you to Korey Dane because he’s that good! Korey had performed just a few shows prior to this one and the Lyric was the perfect spot to showcase his musical talents in a welcoming room like the Lyric. Here’s some more words of praise by our DJ Aaron Byrd.
Lianne La Havas –The Independent in San Francisco– 10/15
Lianne can shred through guitar chords just as easily as she sings a break-up anthem. The show was packed with an array of fans and I really enjoyed the overall San Francisco concert vibe. Towards the end of her set she mentioned how much she loved San Francisco and that she was considering moving there. You lucky San Franciscans!
Raury – The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco– 11/25
He’s only 19 but he can command the stage and get the crowd going as well as any seasoned performer. The crowd went nuts when he stepped onstage and I saw all the people around me dancing, singing and following along to his every movement. I’d never seen anything like that at an LA show. The next time you have the opportunity to see him perform live, take it. This guy will end up playing giant venues and then we’ll have to say ‘I told you so.’
What were your favorites?