Artists/bands you have to see live

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The no. 1 on my list of musicians I absolutely had to see in concert was Neil Young.

I saw him with Lukas Nelson's (Willie Nelson's son) "Promise of the Real" this week in the Waldbühne in Berlin. It was the most expensive ticket I have ever purchased but I do not regret anything. They were amazing. His voice had hardly changed, he played several songs from "Harvest" (a acoustic versions of "Old Man" and "Heart of Gold", "Words") and finished with teh rockers "Hey, hey, My, My", "Love and Only Love" which was followed by a more than twenty minute long jam session of "Rockin" in the Free World". I was surprised how inspired Neil was, he was obviously still the anchor of the show, his guitar sound was superb.

The next band on my list to see live is The Cure.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 5 July 2019 13:55 (four months ago) link

Most currently active touring bands I like I've already seen at least once, although in some cases not for many years and I'd love to see them again (Okkervil River and Cowboy Junkies spring to mind). As for bands I've never seen and would like to, The Hold Steady fit the bill. I had a ticket to see them in Vienna but they cancelled the whole tour and never rescheduled it.

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Friday, 5 July 2019 14:01 (four months ago) link

I still haven't managed to see Peter Gabriel in about 30 years of ambivalent fandom. I could made the effort on one of the last couple of tours (the So anniversary one, the one with Sting), but in principle I don't really like shows where you have to pay for a specific seat — I've found if I'm not relatively close to the stage the experience isn't really worth it. So if another opportunity comes maybe I'll just pony up the $200 or whatever, though it's hard to say what concert is worth that. I actually expect to be disappointed. But that more or less is the story of those 30 years of fandom. It's all about building a narrative!

Others: John Cale, Joanna Wang

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Friday, 5 July 2019 14:55 (four months ago) link

in terms of 'only able to enjoy live', dirty projectors and animal collective

most 'noise' artists

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Friday, 5 July 2019 14:55 (four months ago) link

bluegrass bands come to mind. i have pretty much zero interest in sitting down and listening to bluegrass by myself, but it can be really fun to watch and listen in a live setting.

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Friday, 5 July 2019 14:59 (four months ago) link


brimstead, Friday, 5 July 2019 15:04 (four months ago) link

I never had any real interest in Willie Nelson until I was taken to see a “Willie & Family” concert at Red Rocks. His playing was incredible; these dissonant, almost “experimental” bursts of guitar. I loved it, and went to see essentially the same show a year or so later in L.A. (his playing was somewhat more conventional at that one). I still wouldn’t really listen to his albums, but definitely want to see him live again if I have the chance.

stan by me (morrisp), Friday, 5 July 2019 15:21 (four months ago) link

John Cale is great live and in Germany he still plays not so huge venues and the prices are ok, i think. last time i saw him was maybe ten years ago in a club in frankfurt and he was great.

after the cure i'd like to see david byrne, i think.

the one thing that really pissed me off was when miles davis came to the wiltz outdoor theater (luxembourg) in july 1991. i wanted to buy a ticket but somehow didn't find anyone to join me so i didn't go. two months later he was dead.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 5 July 2019 15:35 (four months ago) link

Richard Thompson is a strong example. His records can sometimes be a bit dull but live he is astounding. The best guitarist and a very charismatic performer.

kornrulez6969, Friday, 5 July 2019 15:37 (four months ago) link

Never saw Radiohead and fear I've missed my chance. Been a fan for 16 years and they've only played in my area (90 minutes away) twice in that time. One of those shows was in 2008 and it was raining so hard everyone I knew that tried to go couldn't make it past gridlock. Second time was in 2012 or so, and I wasn't paying attention or knew anyone that could/would drive. Seems like since the accident in Toronto has made them tour a lot less, I was shocked when they only played in NYC + LA for A Moon Shaped Pool.

flappy bird, Friday, 5 July 2019 16:08 (four months ago) link

though they've done a decent amount of non-USA touring since then

flappy bird, Friday, 5 July 2019 16:09 (four months ago) link

Radiohead, that's another one, you are right.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 5 July 2019 16:11 (four months ago) link

I'd really love to see Underworld some day, they've been one of my favorite groups since I was 12

The Chemical Brothers would also be amazing

frogbs, Friday, 5 July 2019 16:12 (four months ago) link

Sunn O))) are great on record but you don't get the full rib-shaking, bass alien, DOOM PANTO experience until you see them live.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Friday, 5 July 2019 16:30 (four months ago) link

that reminds me, imo Earth is a good example, I like their records but they fucking floored me live

flappy bird, Friday, 5 July 2019 16:31 (four months ago) link


Also, a minor example but Six by Seven were extraordinary live.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Friday, 5 July 2019 16:32 (four months ago) link

yeah Sunn is tops on my list

global tetrahedron, Friday, 5 July 2019 16:33 (four months ago) link

in terms of bands I've actually seen:

Kraftwerk - not terribly different than just listening to the recent live stuff, but feeling the bass of "Autobahn" reverberate in your chest is really something else

Cornelius - their entire show is synced to a video screen in a way that I find super impressive, since as far as I could tell it really was live

Ween - their music changes a lot live and their set list is always different. More than that, it's just being in that crowd of hippies and weird people, knowing half of 'em won't be able to recall a damn thing about the show tomorrow morning. it's pretty fun.

They Might be Giants - they always seem to bring it live, and I think their personality comes through a lot stronger live than on the records. they were a lot funnier than I expected them to be.

Andrew W.K. - I mean, yeah. even playing to 200 people in a basement he's still larger than life.

frogbs, Friday, 5 July 2019 16:35 (four months ago) link

Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam.

Fucked Up.

Also second Dirty Projectors and The Hold Steady.

Having tickets for Kraftwerk, Sunn, and Earth this year this thread excites me

Iron Maiden are amazing live. Their albums are good, but the concerts are the business. I saw them five times between 2003-2010, and was blown away every time.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Friday, 5 July 2019 17:24 (four months ago) link

need to see:


budo jeru, Saturday, 6 July 2019 05:54 (four months ago) link

SunnO))) really is an ideal answer for this. Total audio/visual/physical/atmospheric/psychoactive experience that their records only hint at.

circa1916, Saturday, 6 July 2019 06:14 (four months ago) link


willem, Saturday, 6 July 2019 08:19 (four months ago) link

I have not seen Byrne/Heads or New Order and probably should.

Saw Dylan once almost as an eat-your-vegetables duty. Like, so as to be able to say I had? Dunno. He seemed to resent the presence of the audience, which I guess is part of his schtick.

Velcromancer (Ye Mad Puffin), Saturday, 6 July 2019 10:52 (four months ago) link

I have somehow ended up with free tickets to see the Who tonight.

Orpheus Knutt (Tom D.), Saturday, 6 July 2019 10:55 (four months ago) link

Believe it or not, I did see them live when I was on holiday with my parents in Blackpool. I was but a nipper, I should add.

Orpheus Knutt (Tom D.), Saturday, 6 July 2019 11:00 (four months ago) link

most cred post on ILM

Polly Toynbee OK (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 6 July 2019 11:02 (four months ago) link

Low is amazing live.

that's not my post, Saturday, 6 July 2019 13:05 (four months ago) link

Saw Dylan once almost as an eat-your-vegetables duty. Like, so as to be able to say I had? Dunno. He seemed to resent the presence of the audience, which I guess is part of his schtick.

very much otm. when i saw him about 15 years ago i had the impression he neither gave a shit about the audience nor about his songs. he massacrated them in a way that you couldn't identify half of them. like you said i felt it as a duty to go and see him but it was one of the most superfluous concerts i have ever been to.

and yes, low are the incarnation of the band you have to see live.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 6 July 2019 14:17 (four months ago) link

I’ve seen Dylan three times, around 20 yrs. apart each time. The middle concert (in ‘97) was lots of fun. The others, well...

stan by me (morrisp), Saturday, 6 July 2019 16:05 (four months ago) link

Wait — each was around 10 yrs. apart (I’m not that old yet, lol).

stan by me (morrisp), Saturday, 6 July 2019 16:06 (four months ago) link

I have somehow ended up with free tickets to see the Who tonight.

... at Wembley Stadium. First time I've ever been at a stadium gig and I can't imagine what the attraction is. Nothing to do with the band, they were good, but what is the point of being three miles from the stage and having to watch everything on screens? And having to listen to exactly the sort of boomy reverby sound that you'd expect from trying to play music in a giant fishbowl? Daltrey struggled at times but went off for a while, during an instrumental, and came back and managed "Love Reign O'er Me" without actually keeling over and dying. Eddie Vedder came on and bellowed his way through some Quadrophenia track. There was an medium sized orchestra, which worked pretty well but tended to overpower the band at times. Townshend fucked up the beginnings of two songs and had to restart them and then played "The Seeker" when he should have been playing "Won't Get Fooled Again" and Daltrey started singing before he realized. Once he got started, Townshend's playing was awesome, he is a truly a brilliant guitarist and his singing was a lot more powerful and assured than Daltrey's. Stadium gigs, not for me though.

Orpheus Knutt (Tom D.), Sunday, 7 July 2019 15:22 (four months ago) link

Ha, I was gonna ask how it was; thanks for the recap! I watched a clip of the new song they debuted, and while I was impressed with Daltrey's voice, the song itself does not bode well for the new record.

Not-particularly-fun-fact: Zak Starkey is playing an all-electronic kit on this tour, made to look like a regular acoustic set. Townshend insisted on as little volume on stage as possible, and that was apparently the only way to achieve it.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 7 July 2019 16:57 (four months ago) link

I'm gonna say (as I often do) Southern Culture on the Skids. Their mix of Roger Miller, Link Wray, CCR, and the B-52s really has to be experienced live to "get it." One of the best party bands on the planet.

confusementalism (Dan Peterson), Monday, 8 July 2019 15:12 (four months ago) link

isn't there also a bit of zz top in southern culture on the skids? they definitely sound like a band that delivers the goods live and not on record.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Monday, 8 July 2019 19:27 (four months ago) link


― brimstead, Friday, July 5, 2019 10:04 AM (three days ago) bookmarkflaglink

Dude, yes. Are they even still a thing? It's been like almost 20 years since I saw them in several wildly disparate venues and it was quite an experience every time. But I somehow never actually listened to their recorded music.

I love recorded Melt Banana but the energy of their live show was W I L D. Like an air of danger and menace held firmly in check by super-posi vibes? If that makes sense?

I Ate Those Food (Old Lunch), Monday, 8 July 2019 19:52 (four months ago) link

Maybe a few vague similarities in their trio lineups, penchant for humor, and amazing guitar. Rick Miller from SCOTS gets wicked tone out of a beat-to-shit old Danelectro. I really like their records too, but I've seen them numerous times. xp

confusementalism (Dan Peterson), Monday, 8 July 2019 19:57 (four months ago) link

Yeah Southern Culture albums can feel like novelty records, though there's a lot going on musically. It all works in a different way live, especially the guitar work, but the gags too. Their fellow Cackalacky weirdo Dex Robweber is on another level live too, though some of the Flat Duo Jets records are back-to-front great. Huge sounds out of lipstick pickups.

bendy, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 13:50 (four months ago) link

I've been waiting close to a decade for Wussy to come to Toronto. (In view of how often I actually check live listings, there's a chance they've been and gone six times in that span.)

clemenza, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 13:57 (four months ago) link

Bands that are way better live than on their recordings:

  • Man Man
  • Gogol Bordello
  • Dan Deacon
  • Fucked Up
  • Courtney Barnett
  • The Lucksmiths

enochroot, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 18:36 (four months ago) link

yeah I saw Man Man open for Modest Mouse and they were incredible, just non-stop energy which their studio album didn't reflect at all. as for Dan Deacon, I don't think his music sounds a whole lot different live (though the 11-piece band was awesome) - but yeah it's just a whole different experience live

frogbs, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 18:47 (four months ago) link

I also saw Dylan live in 2012 as an obligatory duty. It was terrible for all the reasons known and previously stated BUT I did get a chill throughout my body when his voice first croaked thru the arena PA. Worth it

flappy bird, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 16:39 (four months ago) link

I saw Dylan in, I think, 2005. It was a shit venue (Bournemouth BIC, ffs) and it was mostly going through the motions, in front of some red velvet curtains. Then he played a straight version of I Want You and I could have happily given it all up for him there and then.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Wednesday, 10 July 2019 20:14 (four months ago) link

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