Monday, February 3, 2014

15 Bands I (And You) Need To See

Music has always been a big part of my life, although I can't play anything besides a couple of chord's of Deep Purple's 'Smoke on the Water' (thanks Dad!) and a few notes of Weezer's timeless classic 'Undone (The Sweater Song)' on guitar.  I may have given up on my dream to headline a show at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in the fine city of Providence, R.I., but I will always be one to find new bands and check out much beloved acts whenever they are in a town close by me.  This being said, over the past few years I have seen a lot of awesome shows, and I've been fortunate enough to see some of my all-time favorite bands live and in person.  This past month I found myself making the wise decision to purchase 3 days passes for both the Boston Calling Music Festival and the Governors Ball Music Festival, and I got to thinking about which bands I'll be seeing for the first time.  That thinking then got me to thinking about what bands I haven't seen yet, so I have made up my list of 15 (it was originally going to be 10, but it was too hard to narrow it down, so 15 it is).  Last September I knocked off some big names on my list at Riotfest (Pixies, X) and I hope to knock some more off in the very near future with two awesome festivals coming up.  These are all bands that I have been a big fan of, but just haven't been able to go to a show of theirs, and it's gotta be realistic, so bands like  Nirvana, The Beastie Boys, and The Jonas Brothers are all off of this list.

15. You Blew It!- I'm starting things off with a new band who is starting to turn some heads.  A bit punk, a bit emo revival, these guys are starting to take off.  From their live videos on youtube, it seems like their shows can get a bit crazy, which always makes for an interesting night.  It may sound somewhat hipster, but when you discover a band at the beginning it can make for some awesome shows you can look back on, especially when they get big and overtake the world.

14. Van Halen- These guys are just legends.  Honestly, I don't even know if these guys are currently together or not, but let's be honest here, if they aren't then you can bet your bottom dollar that one of many reunion shows will be taking place in the near future.  I just want to experience Van Halen with a bunch of older people reliving their glory days, and also so I can dance the night away.

13. Dave Matthews Band- I hate Dave Matthews with such a passion that I'm blanking on words to type to describe it.  I have always hated him, I think he's extremely bland and boring and he just sucks as a person.  Why do I need to see him in concert, you ask?  Easy.  So I can sneak in a bag of rocks to the show and try hitting him in the face.  Realistically, I'm never going to see him because I don't want to give Dave Matthews any of my hard earned money, even if I hit him in the face with a bag of rocks, so therefore I am actually going to put Phoenix in this slot.  Phoenix is pretty awesome.  Dave Matthews sucks.

12. The Offspring- I have liked The Offspring since the 3rd grade when 'Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)' and 'Why Don't You Get a Job?' became big hits.  I really don't know how I haven't seen these guys yet.  The Offspring is one of those bands who you kind of forget just how many awesome songs they have had over the years, and I feel like it would just be one of those fun summertime shows where every one is singing along with every word to every song.

11. AWOLnation-  A newer band who came out with a tremendous debut album in 2011 and gained instant popularity with 'Sail'.  My buddy Tyler likes to always inform me every time he hears 'Sail' that the lead singer has some real soul in his voice, which I guess is true.  They also came out with a second single 'Not Your Fault' which is one of my favorite songs to come out recently.  Here they are playing it live:

10. The Smiths-  This is the biggest stretch on my list, so I had to put it kinda low at #10.  If The Smiths would actually get back together for the first time in almost 30 years, people who enjoy good music would lose their collective shit.   One of the most influential bands from the 80's, who only had a handful of albums, called it quits while still in their prime.  Johnny Marr and Morrisey went on to have successful careers elsewhere, but there is a certain mystique about The Smiths that leaves the rest of us wanting a chance to see them live.  They have all basically sworn off any possibility of getting back together, but I'm banking on the old adage "never say never" for this.  I don't have my hopes up, but please, please, please, let me get what I want.  Sidenote: check out these people dancing.  The 80's were great.

9. The Killers- Like The Offspring, The Killers are one of those bands that have so many good songs you kind of forget about them.  These guys are talented, and although their last album kind of sucked (I'm blaming that for a loss of momentum from taking time off at the peak of their popularity), I still think they would put on a hell of a show.  A dear friend of mine has seen them a few times in Chicago and always gave rave reviews about them, so I'm kinda trusting his judgment and putting them in my top 10.

8. Modest Mouse- 'Float On' got me into these guys, and I always kind of considered them a one hit wonder type until I really gave them a chance in college.  I'm really glad I did.  Modest Mouse makes music that can tug at the heartstrings at times, but they can also have the ability to rock out whenever they want to.  Along with Brand New, Modest Mouse is a personal highlight for May's Boston Calling Festival.  They've turned into a favorite band of mine, and it doesn't hurt that they have a song about my favorite writer entitled 'Bukowski'.

7. Blur- In the battle of bands between Blur and Oasis, I always sided with Blur.  That's probably for the best because Oasis looks to be dead as Dillinger because those two jerkoff brothers can't get along together.  Most people know Blur from 'Song 2' which is played at all major sporting events, but there is so much more to them which gets them on my list.  They don't play too frequently, but they've been on my list for a while.  I'll be lucky enough to see frontman Damon Albarn (who is also the mastermind behind the Gorillaz) play a solo set at Governor's Ball, so I'll take that for the time being.

6. Rage Against the Machine-  Like The Smiths, it may be a stretch to see them live.  I don't even know why they broke up, maybe too much time protesting stuff?  Who knows.  I want to see them live.  One of the greatest live albums I've ever listened to was Rage at the Grand Olympic Auditorium.  They put on a loud and intense show, and it's pretty powerful just to listen to, never mind witnessing in person.  I don't think it would be the type of show to have your mom chaperone you to.  Not that I still need that. I swear.  Seriously though, I don't go to shows with my mom anymore.  That happened this past summer but c'mon it was the Rolling Stones who else would I go see them with?

5. Radiohead-  I don't care if they never play 'Creep'.  I don't care if their frontman has a lazy eye.  I need to see Radiohead.  Thom Yorke is a genius and I honestly think Radiohead is a band we will look back on and compare with the Led Zeppelin's and Rolling Stone's for this generation.  Sure, some of their songs can get kind of weird and out there, but I'm sure it's an experience worth being present for.  Witnessing 'Paranoid Android', 'Karma Police' or 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)' would be a life-changing experience for lil ol' me.

4. Cage the Elephant-  I'm imagining that there is one word to sum up a Cage the Elephant show: party.  There are some bands who are just guaranteed to put on a kickass show involving a bunch of drunk people rocking out to awesome music, and they are one of them.  I'd give anything to go out with some friends for a few barley-pops and then enjoy a nice evening with Bowling Green's best band.  I am a firm believer that Cage the Elephant would provide a lot of crowd surfing, moshing, and probably a rough morning afterward.  They make shows look like a lot of fun, and I want in.

3. Jack White/The White Stripes-  Jack White is a genius.  Plain and simple.  The man has a successful solo career along with 3 bands who are all awesome in their own right.  The White Stripes are untouchable.  The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather are also amazing.  Jack White is special because he just can't seem to write boring music.  If I had a choice, I'd love to see The White Stripes get back together, but that doesn't seem to be happening, so I'll gladly settle for solo Jack White.  I love how he plays songs from all 3 bands and his solo stuff at shows, giving his crowds a bit of everything.  I cannot wait to see him at Governor's Ball.  I'll have my fingers crossed that he plays 'Seven Nation Army' and/or 'Hardest Button to Button', but just being in his presence will be good enough for me.

2. Japandroids-  I've only known about Japandroids for less than 2 years, but this is one band who has quickly grown into one of my all time favorites.  I have a legitimate hatred for two of my "friends" who saw these guys at last year's Governor's Ball and for an after party show in some hipster club in Brooklyn.  Japandroids may be the best thing out of Canada since Pam Anderson.  Their music is meaningful, it can hit home at times, and it's true rock music in a time where we need it.  This duo deserves to be the next big thing, and it pains me that I haven't had the opportunity to see them yet.  Some day, you guys, some day.

1. The Strokes- One of my favorite bands of all time.  The scary part is that I'm not sure if these 5 guys all hate each other or not.  Their situation has been somewhat mysterious over the past few years:  on one hand they've managed to release two albums since 2011, on the other hand they've only played a handful of shows, none of which since November of 2011.  These guys are extremely talented and have put out some of the best songs to ever be recorded, so it's a damn shame they tour so little these days.  After years of following them, my prayers were answered and the opportunity has arrived to see them live: at this years Governors Ball.  Sure, I'm excited for the whole festival, but The Strokes really make up for the majority of my excitement.  Barring any band members fighting and/or drug problems, the weekend of June 6th-8th is shaping up to be one of the finer weekends of my life.

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