I normally review my top 5 best live acts of the year around this time… but thanks to 2020 I’ve not actually got that many to choose from. So I thought I’d review everyone I did manage to see, before the world stopped, so you know which acts are worth setting ticket sales alarms for when we can FINALLY go to live events again…
1. The first live act I saw this year was actually The Jonas Brothers (please don’t leave yet) even worse, I travelled to Birmingham to do so. They were my favourite band as a child and I needed to see them for 10 year old me and tbf their new album is pretty good, if you like catchy pop bangers. They didn’t disappoint my inner child as their arena set involved giant balloons, confetti and even those weird inflatable men you see outside car sales (do they have a name?!). They sung everything from Camp Rock to their solo songs, such as Nick Jonas’s Jealous and DNCE’s Cake By The Ocean . I can confirm they were worth the trip to Birmingham.
2. The second act I saw this year was actually someone from just down the road from me and someone I have seen many times before, but again I travelled for this gig, this time to Amsterdam to see Manchester boy Aitch. Considering we were in a completely different country 90% of the crowd were from Manchester, which I quite liked. Aitch had brought out a ridiculous amount of successful songs in 2019, so every track was a sing along for the mancs in the tiny venue. Again an amazing performance which felt like home in a foreign country.
3. I was lucky enough to attend the NME awards this year and if you weren’t living under a rock in February you will know a lot of drama went down… everyone from KSI to Courtney Love to Taylor Swift to The Cure were at these awards, but it was Slowthai who stole the show. I have a massive soft spot for Slowthai and I do think the events of the night were massively blown out of proportion and he and Mura Masa ‘s performance was perfectly chaotic. I love Aj Tracey but his, FKA Twigs and Beebadoobee’s performances all seemed to fade into the background of the night and really weren’t that memorable compared to the rest of craziness. One act that did shock me was YungBlud, I had heard a few songs of his but presumed he was more an act for the younger generation of music fans. But he well and truly blew me away at the NME Awards with his performance of Braindead! And Original Me, his visuals, energy, costume and performance were all breathtaking and I have been obsessed every since. The 1975 ended the night with 4 classic songs and as always their performance was amazing, the only downfall was the 5 minute environmental message narrated by Greta Thunburg. Which is all good and well, but you’ve got to think the audience at NME was people such as Micheal and Emily Eavis so I do believe they could have skipped the informational message on this occasion.
4. Inhaler was my penultimate live band of 2020, I have talked about this band on many occasions and I was excited to see whether they lived up to expectations. I saw these at Manchester Academy 2, an incredibly intimate venue to see a band I believe will be headlining festival stages one day (if we ever get one again rip). Their energy and performance lived up to expectations but to be honest it was their fashion that stuck with me, it’s like lead singer Elijah had hijaked his dad’s (his dad is Bono btw, yes THE Bono) clothing and hair right from the eighties and it was surprisingly refreshing to see.
5. The 1975 headlining Manchester Arena was my final gig of the year. And you’d think Matty Healy breaking his leg would dampen the bands performance. It did not. They are one of the best live bands of our generation, if you managed to catch their set at Reading And Leeds on the BBC last year you will completely agree. Every song at this point is a Karaoke classic. Their lighting is mesmerising and they have so many amazing staple features of their performance which fans know to look forward to, including the backing dancer’s routine for It’s not living (if it’s not with you) and the moving sidewalk for ‘sincerity is scary’. (I also knew when the enviromental broadcast was coming, conveniently right on queue for me to go to the bar)
Unfortunately the world stopped after this and although we have had a lot of great virtual events, it’s just not the same. I hope to see you all on a festival field at some point next year…
Happy New Year everyone, stay safe x