- Drivin n Cryin, 22nd April, Boston Music Room. It was the sheer weight of expectation before this gig that gave it that edge. The hard core group who had waited for many many years to see this band finally had their wishes granted. Poor promotion I think led to a sparse audience but it didnt matter. We were treated to a rock n roll master class. Kinney and the band were on top form and considering the small crowd could have dialled it in. They didn't, were generous with requests from the audience and Kevn even came back on for a solo acoustic second encore. Pure joy expressed by all and lets hope this does not stop them from venturing across the pond again real soon.
- Gary Clark Jr. 14th November, Electric Ballroom. A poignant night coming just 24 hours after the horrific Paris shootings. After respectful acknowledgement we were treated to ninety minutes of a full on blues masterclass. This is a man at the top of his game, a fine player and underrated singer. The future of the Blues is safe, his albums don't do him justice, go see him, end of.
- Ryan Bingham, 2nd February and 22nd October. I have grouped the two Ryan Bingham gigs together as I cant separate them. We started the year with a solo acoustic offering at The Borderline, still one of my favourite venues and as I have said many times music doesn't get any better than one man, an acoustic guitar and some bloody good songs. We end the year with full band at Koko. Its the mark of the man that he can be superb in either setting in much the same way Isbell is.
- Sturgill Simpson, 20th August, Islington Assembly Hall. Quite simply, the tightest band I have seen for years. Expectations of an mellow country show were soon extinguished by Simpson and his band. Put simply stunning musicianship.
- Dawes, 27th August, Oslo Hackney. A pretty much full turnout for our gig going crowd and everyone is on top form. Much drinking and much singing to complement one of the best country rock bands around. Great songs, great friends, great times.
- Sufjan Stevens, 3rd September, Royal Festival Hall. A game od tow halves with the first set the whole of the new album played in front of a cathedral backdrop adding to the haunting nature of the songs followed by a second half of 'hits'. A truly audio visual experience and he also had the super talented Dawn Landes in the band too.
- Fleetwood Mac, 22nd June, the O2. On the bucket list of bands never seen. Reformed with Christine McVie. It doesn't get better than this. Pure rock and pop perfection.
- Left Lane Cruiser, 25th October, Oslo Hackney. Pure down and dirty Southern blues. Hot sweaty rock n roll slide guitar mayhem. Pure joy.
- Glastonbury, June. I am treating this differently from those gigs above. This was the number one highlight of the year for me. My first experience of the behemoth that is Glasto. I loved every minute of this assault on the senses and we saw some flippin good music too. Lets do it all again next year.
2015 has been another epic year for gigs for me. 39 in total, ten five star reviews and no real duffers. Every gig had its moments and whilst some weren't that consistent all were worth spending the money. So here it is the top ten gigs of the year for me. Full reviews can be found elsewhere in the site for those that want to know more.
2016 is already shaping up to be another classic year for gigs with ten slated so far including Isbell, Lucero, Blitzen Trapper, Lake Street Dive, The Lone Bellow, Israel Nash, Nathaniel Rateliff and Cadillac Three to name a few. So people, keep buying the albums but get out there and see some live music. Its a truly rewarding experience. Keep on rockin' y'all.
A fifty something musing over the things that matter but mainly gig reviews