2015: A Year in Live Music

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*I forgot I had this post in my drafts. So here it is. 2015’s concerts…published on July 2016…whoops.

Another year of doing what I love – seeing live music. Although this year wasn’t heavy on concerts, the ones I did manage to see where amazing. A few in particular have comments below. Who did you see in 2015? I’d love to know!

April 18 – X Ambassadors @ Mothers, RPI in Troy

One of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. First off, the venue was a tiny rec room in a college campus center. Second, I was about an arm’s length from the stage. This band has soul and energy and every second there was exhilarating.

X Ambassadors. Photo by Era B.

X Ambassadors. Photo by Era B.

April 24 – 26 – Titanics and New Beat Fund at Move Music Festival

May 9 – The Kooks, Joywave @ Tulip Fest

I’ve been a fan of The Kooks since high school so seeing them live was a long time coming!

July 16 – Atlas Genius @ Alive at Five

July 24 – Cold Ward Kids @ Upstate Concert Hall

Sept. 10 – BORNS @ The Hollow

This was a short set but it still left a satisfying impression. His voice is beautiful.

Sept. 12 – Until the Ribbon Breaks @ Pearl Palooza

Sept. 23 – Purity Ring, HANA @ Upstate Concert Hall

Purity Ring was ok…but they’re opening act HANA was AMAZING. What a voice on that girl. I highly recommend checking out her songs.

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On Repeat #18 – Kings of Leon cover Robyn

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I love this cover song so so much. The original by Robyn is excellent but this version is so slow and dreamy. It’s a devastating heart breaker of a song and the lead singer’s rough voice and the sharp instrumentals just make it even more sorrowful yet still touching. I love when cover songs turn out just as good a version as the original. Enjoy!

On Repeat #17 – Lovelife

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Moody, electronic pop. This band has some edgy sounds. Definitely a little emo but grown-up emo which is not a “thing” but it could be. Just listen to the first song below if you want something easier to digest.

I discovered Lovelife last summer but they’ve been MIA for a while now so I hope they’ll have some new tunes soon.

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2014: A Year in Live Music

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I saw some exceptionally excellent bands this year. I always feel lucky when my favorite musicians make a stop in Albany.

February 28 – Band of Horses @ The Egg

Hearing this band (and lead singer Ben Bridwell’s voice) live was an incredible experience. I’ve loved this band since my high school days. I was a bit hesitant to attend an acoustic show but it was great. They are talented through and through.

April 9 – Dirty Heads @ Upstate Concert Hall

April 26 – goodbyemotel, Magic Man, Titanics @ The Hollow

June 22 – Snowmine, Titanics @ The Low Beat

This show happened in a small bar with less than 30 people but it felt like a full house. My friend and I met the bands afterward and talked to some of the Snowmine members. These dudes were so chill and very, very friendly. Titanics is a personal favorite because they are a local band and actually amazingly good. And Snowmine just gave us everything they got. So glad they made a stop in Albany.

June 24 – Paramore, Fall Out Boy, New Politics @ SPAC

Man, they can draw a crowd. Paramore and Fall Out Boy put on such fun shows. I was singing and dancing the whole time.

July 8 – Grizfolk @ The Low Beat

It was so cool to finally hear them live after randomly discovering them a year ago on Noisetrade.

Grizfolk. Photo by Era B.

Grizfolk. Photo by Era B.

July 9 – Broods @ The Hollow

Gorgeous music, gorgeous people.

August 12 – Drake vs Lil Wayne @ SPAC

September 9 – twenty one pilots @ Upstate Concert Hall

twenty one pilots. Photo by Era B.

twenty one pilots. Photo by Era B.

twenty one pilots is one of my favorite bands and the story and fan base behind them is really touching. The moment the lights went out and the crowd started cheering…well, I was smiling and holding back tears as I realized where I was. It was an honor to be at that show. For a lot of people, this band is not just a band, it is life-changing music and lyrics. It’s therapy, a light in the dark, a breath of fresh air in a suffocating closet. It’s a life-saver for those going through dark times. I’ve never had to rely on them in that way but I can appreciate and value their purpose in making music.

Also, they crowd-surf! Or more accurately, play their drums on top of the audience. It’s pretty cool. Next time (because obviously I have to see them again) I want to be closer to the stage and not all the way in the back. Being closer would have made this show a lot more enjoyable.

September 11 – Sir Sly, Wolf Gang @ The Hollow

Sir Sly was so exciting! This was another band I heard about a few years ago and finally got to see live. I met Landon (the singer) afterwards and he was such a sweetheart. Great band, and being front row was pretty cool.

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Sir Sly. Photo by e.b.

November 15 – Vacationer, St. Lucia @ The Hollow

December 15 – Young the Giant, Cage the Elephant @ Mesa Amphitheatre

Funny story. I had tickets to see Young the Giant in Saratoga Springs, about 30 minutes outside of Albany but they had to cancel their show. And Cage the Elephant came for a show in Albany as well but I didn’t think they were that great at the time. It was a few months later that I realized they were actually really good and I regretted missing their show. But when I was planning my trip to Arizona I was looking for concerts and Young the Giant and Cage the Elephant were playing a show together! Can you say lucky??

Ugly Christmas Sweater Concert. Photo by Era B.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Concert. Photo by Era B.

On Repeat #16 – Years & Years

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This British trio is making one of the most solid musical debuts I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. Their EP Real has strong, yearning, soaring vocals courtesy of Olly Alexander’s falsetto and bass and synths from his band mates Mikey and Emre. The songs have this quiet undertone energy.

P.S. Their cover of Blu Catrell’s “Breathe” is amazing.

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On Repeat #15 – Beatenberg

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the hanging gardens of beatenberg

I recently stumbled upon the music website Hillydilly which helped me discover a really awesome band from South Africa called Beatenberg. I had to listen to their featured album on Hillydilly at least twice before I really fell for it but now I can’t stop listening.

Taken from their website, Beatenberg is “Matthew Field, who also has a beautiful voice and plays the guitar, Ross Dorkin, who has beautiful hands that play the bass, and Robin Brink, who has a beautiful life-force and plays the drums like a nutcase.”

The boys have been playing music together since 2008 but The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg is their first studio album. I like how South African online culture magazine, Platform calls their music “silky smooth and ultra cool pop.” That’s exactly right.

Their songs are sweet and a touch romantic. They’ve got groove but are still uplifting. My ears are perfectly content putting them on repeat. Their album hasn’t been internationally released yet but Hillydilly has seven songs of the album’s 16 and each one is awesome.

Listen here >