Top Ten Gigs of 2014

The live music scene is in spectacular health, especially at grass roots level - and our team went to some stonkingly good shows in 2014. We saw plenty of newer bands who are more than ready to headline music festivals, and should be doing great things in 2015. Here are our favourites.

Sleaford Mods

1. Sleaford Mods at The 100 Club, London

Sleaford Mods played two dynamite shows at The 100 Club. When you combine the best lyricist around, Jason Williamson, and his brutal delivery, with the stark beats and bass soundtrack from Andrew Fearn, you end up with a pogo rave frenzy. The raw power from this duo has set the world on fire this year, and even Iggy Pop is a fan.

Check out our Sleaford Mods interview, and more Sleafords pics from their gig at The 100 Club.

Myriam Bleau by Andrew Dubber

2. Myriam Bleau at Ircam, Music Tech Fest, Paris

Canada’s Myriam Bleau gave a stunning performance at Music Tech Fest Paris, in quadrophonic sound at the famous IRCAM. Her beats and sample-laden Soft Revolvers set is great electronic music but also incites wonder at how she makes the sounds. The sleek and beautiful technology Myriam uses consists of four light-up spinning tops that she designed and built. This very physical as well as audio and visual spectacular made our jaws drop and with its performance meets DJ feel, would be equally at home in a venue, nightclub or theatre.


3. Slaves at The Old Blue Last, London

Garage punk duo Slaves built up a huge buzz in 2014 and got signed to a major label too. This end of tour gig at The Old Blue Last, saw them let off steam and thank friends and supporters with a gargantuan blast of their instant classics like Where’s Your Car Debbie, White Knuckle Ride, and She Grew Old But She Never Grew Up. The biscuit banter was brilliant. Someone give them their own TV show.

More live pics, this time from The Victoria, in our Slaves blog.

Gazelle Twin

4. Gazelle Twin at Red Gallery, London

Translating a complex, brilliant, experimental electronic album into a live show is never an easy task but Gazelle Twin (Elizabeth Bernholz) made it look like a walk in the park. Her captivating voice, layered and startling music, and unsettling but simple stage wear with a mask, stunned the audience. The set twisted and turned from spellbinding beauty to compelling scariness to more danceable beats. The warehouse-like Red Gallery was a great setting.

Deux Furieuses (at Alleycat, London)

5. Deux Furieuses at The Macbeth, London

Deux Furieuses are a blistering guitar and drums duo who’ve been described as making Royal Blood look like pussycats. We’ve seen them quite a few times and their shows always leave you wanting more. The launch of their single Can We Talk About This, at The Macbeth, saw them take things to a new level. Mind-blowingly fast, furious, and tight, with incredible guitar riffs. They should be headlining festivals soon.

There’s more on Deux Furieuses in our interview.


6. Wrangler at Red Gallery, London

Headlining the same bill that featured Gazelle Twin, Wrangler, at Red Gallery turned in an equally memorable set - stark, heavy, industrial-tinged danceable electronica with sparse effected vocals. It’s a bit of a dream team - Stephen Mallinder from Cabaret Voltaire, Benge from John Foxx and The Maths, and Phil Winter from Tunng - and a lesson in how to make electronic music deliver live. Thrillingly layered projections and lasers gave it a real edge.

East India Youth

7. East India Youth at Heaven, London

East India Youth’s amazing show at Heaven was another end of tour triumph, centred around his Total Strife Forever album. The frenetic multi-instrumentalist cantered through his techno-tinged synth pop songs like Heaven, How Long, and Dripping Down - pretty appropriate as he worked up such a sweat that he flooded his laptop. (We only found that out afterwards). At the end he came to the front of the stage to debut a more intimate new tune, Carousel. He’s retiring the Total Strife set for his new songs next year, which made it extra special.

8. Future Islands at Field Day, London

Well it’s no secret that Future Islands ‘won’ Field Day Festival. It was pretty obvious as they came on, that the crowd was a mix of genuine fans, and people who had come to gawp at the bloke they had seen on YouTube, and cheer the dance moves. If ever there was a lesson in the power of heartfelt performance, this was it - and of course great songs. Future Islands transformed the tent into a sea of hand-waving, dancing bodies, with an equal number outside, desperate to get in.

Saint Agnes

9. Saint Agnes at Sebright Arms, London

On paper ‘cinematic psych’ band Saint Agnes pique the curiosity, when you hear their recordings they’re great, when you see them live they look unstoppable. Their fuzz-laden, Morricone-tinged dirty rock and roll is a scorcher, and Kitty and Jon have the most exciting onstage chemistry we have ever seen. Their sold out Old Bone Rattle single launch at Sebright Arms was a ‘you should have been there’ moment. Take a look at our Saint Agnes interview.


10. Vodun at Clit Rock, Zigfrid von Underbelly, London

When we pitched up at a Clit Rock fundraiser - always a fantastically-programmed night and a way to discover new talent - we had never heard of Vodun. By the end, we were disciples. Vodun’s potent mix of afro, metal, soul and doom melds a voice that batters down doors, screaming guitar, and unbelievable drumming. They took us prisoner at Zigfrid and didn’t even set fire to the place (fire features at many of their gigs)!

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