After yesterday’s Top Ten Albums of 2014, it’s now time for my Top Ten Gigs of 2014. This is a somewhat harder list to compile as I can just play an album to remind myself how good it is, whereas with a gig I’m reliant on my memory, never a good idea!
Apart from the first ten days of the year, all of 2014 has been spent in the USA. I’ve managed to see gigs in five states and went to my first festival in America. For both of the top two gigs on my list I traveled in excess of 300 miles, and yes both were well worth the journey!
So here’s my Top Ten Gigs of 2014, numbers 10 to 6:
10 – Gaslight Anthem at the Shaky Knees Festival in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The Shaky Knees Festival was my first festival in America and was also the first festival I’d been to which was held on concrete and throughout which I stayed in a hotel, as there was no camping! But after my initial misgivings it proved to be a great weekend. I’ve seen Gaslight Anthem a few times now, but their one hour slot on the Friday night at the Shaky Knees Festival was one of the best. My particular highlight being a wicked version on The Animals‘ classic, House of the Rising Sun.
9 – Darius Rucker at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, North Carolina. We took our niece, Alexandra, to see Darius Rucker for her Christmas present. I’ve been a fan of Darius Rucker since hearing his Charleston, SC, 1966 album, which was the soundtrack of my summer of 2013, when I spent three months in Georgia, with my then fiance. Southern State of Mind being one of my all time favorite songs. He played this, along with many other songs from the Charleston album, together with songs from his latest album, True Believers. All of which went down a storm, but the high spot for me was when he performed a couple of Hootie and the Blowfish songs, awesome!
8. – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero at the Shaky Knees Festival. This is a set I won’t forget in a long time. I’ve been to loads of gigs in my lifetime, but haven’t seen a lead singer as frenzied as Alex Ebert. The whole set had the air of a religious experience, with the Alex Ebert, aka Edward Sharpe being the Messiah! Added surrealism came in the form of an onstage proposal from one of the members of the crowd, which needless to say was accepted. One word – Amazing!
7. The Tillers at the CincyGroove Festival in the Southgate House Revival, Newport, Kentucky. This was the second time I’d seen The Tillers and this time they were headliners for the night. You can read more about this gig in my earlier post on the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.
6. Dawes at the Shaky Knees Festival. I’ve been a fan of Dawes since hearing them on Bob Harris‘s Sunday morning show on BBC Radio 2, so I was really looking forward to seeing them on the Sunday afternoon of the Shaky Knees Festival, and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. They were, by far and way, my highlight of the festival. And as an added bonus, they sang my favorite Dawes song, A Little Piece of Everything. Pure class!