We like concerts here at Rukkus; there’s just something about the kinetic energy of seeing an artist go onstage and just kill it. Obviously, the special occasions when that does indeed occur are rare, and thus, worth recounting, yet there are many other things to consider when compiling a list of memorable concerts. Sometimes, concerts are played in strange locations, or they’re a complete surprise, or perhaps they’re so terrible that you’ll never forget them.
10 Unforgettable Live Music Moments of 2013
Here are our unforgettable live music moments of the past year:
10. When Washed Out Played the Electric Factory:
You know those concerts when everything just feels right?—when the atmosphere is perfectly suited to the artist, and there’s this uncanny report with the audience? That’s what happened when we saw Washed Out play in Philadelphia a few weeks back.
9. When the Pantera Frontman Invited a Terminally Ill Teen to Play Along
Phil Anselmo, formerly of Pantera, showed great class by inviting 13 year old Peyton Arens to join his current band on stage. Arnes, who suffers from a rare tissue cancer, displayed some impressive ax-wielding skills, as he shredded through a rendition of the Pantera song “Walk.” Check out Peyton’s bragging rights in YouTube form above.
8. When Foxygen Played Williamsburg in Halloween Costumes
Foxygen is a band that tries not to take themselves too seriously; ironically, music critics made their year a little more tumultuous by doing the complete opposite. To shrug off the media frenzy in spectacular fashion, Foxygen played the final show of their tour dressed in Halloween costumes at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Have a look at our write-up.
7. The CBGB Festival – Times Square
The storied New York underground is no longer; instead, 2013 offered a festival in the hallowed name of CBGB in Times Square, and they did it for free. Even if you don’t agree with the corporate-friendly reiteration of punk’s breeding ground, the festival was a sight worth seeing purely for it’s unique location. It also didn’t hurt that My Morning Jacket absolutely brought the roof…er, 50-foot adverts down. Here’s our review.
6. The National Played Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Perhaps the only setting that fits The National’s haunting sound, Hollywood Forever Cemetery in L.A. served as the backdrop for one of the most memorable shows of the year. As it happens, the only thing that makes “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” even more unsettling is listening to it in a graveyard.
5. When Death Grips Didn’t Play a Lollapalooza After-Party
Death Grips are known for their abrasive music and unorthodox approach, but they never bothered anyone (aside from Epic Records) as much as when they failed to show up at a planned Lollapalooza after-party. Instead of playing the gig, the group apparently never even made the trip, and decided to just play background music while displaying a strange letter. Needless to say, fans were pissed, and completely trashed their gear onstage. A live music first.
4. When Kanye West Became ‘Yeezus’
If the egomania of West didn’t quench your thirst, just wait, there’s more. Kanye planned to take to the stage this year to make his Yeezus album a reality; the only question was, how? Well, the answer turned out to be by implanting a giant mountain into his stage display, wearing strange masks, and being carried around by strange dancers in bodysuits. If that spectacle didn’t satisfy, there’s always the infamous “rants.” Just recently, Kanye lectured Chicago on how they never show have let Michael Jordan play for another team. It’s hard to argue with that.
3. When Metallica Renamed Themselves to Surprise Fans
At this year’s Orion festival, Metallica took the stage under the made-up name Deehan to surprise fans. The band couldn’t completely throw-off their wily fans, though the stunt showed a group that’s still having fun with their fame after all these years.
2. When Paul McCartney Was Paul McCartney
It’s hard to argue with the fact that McCartney is still very much relevant as we approach 2014, and that’s fine by us. The former Beatle had himself quite a year, most notably by headlining the all-mighty Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee, but Paul also pulled a few tricks out of his sleeve. The legend played a unadvertised concert in Times Square last summer by simply tweeting about it and showing up.
1. When Arcade Fire Played an Empty Warehouse
Around Halloween, Arcade Fire kept up with this year’s tradition of completely surprising fans by playing a concert in a deserted warehouse in Bushwick, NYC. Fans had to sell their soul to the devil to even get tickets, but for those who did, the surprises weren’t over. As fans gathered around a nearly-empty stage, Arcade Fire suddenly opened a curtain in the far corner of the room and began playing. Fans sprinted to the other location, as the act played songs from their latest record, Reflektor. It’s going to be a tough year to top.