Who Reigns Supreme on The Live Scene? – Best Artists to See Live

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Amber Run

If you have not heard of Amber Run, they are a British indie rock band with three full studio albums under their belt. Their debut 5AM (2015) is most well-known for their most popular single ‘I Found’, but each and every song of theirs is just as potent as the others.

With their indie-rock sound, their live shows offer a variety. Whilst there are heavier tracks like ‘No Answers’ and ‘Neon Circus’ which get the crowd moving and singing along, there are also songs like ‘5 AM’ and ‘Amen’ which send the crowd into an emotional silence. The latter of these stands out as being one of the best songs I’ve ever seen performed live, due to its overwhelming potency. Written as a eulogy for lead singer Joe Keogh’s grandfather, the song sends crowds of all sizes into silence and darkness as Joe performs alone. Tears are shed, both on stage and in the crowd, and it produces a painfully gorgeous communal feel.

The range that Amber Run offer at their shows is what makes them stand out as being one of the best artists to see live. Whether you want to dance, cry, sing, or scream, all is welcome and completely respected by others. – Georgie Holmes

Bastille

Bastille have been a favourite of mine since I stumbled across their Laura Palmer EP in 2011, I still listen to their music but not on the daily like I used to. They’re somewhat a nostalgic and comfort band for me, just something about their music made me feel so secure, for a lack of a better word. And their live shows are almost an exact replica of their album. There’s no odd altering of the sound or dodgy flat notes being hit, frontman Daniel Smith sings to the GODS and is what I think a sorely underrated performer.

Singles ‘Pompeii’ ‘Good Grief’ and ‘Joy’ are the most varied of songs, they all have that indie-pop undertone with a jumping beat, but this doesn’t stop Smith from making every song unique, whether that be altering lyrics for the particular show or trying; and failing to dance along to the tracks he so humbly wrote in his bedroom. The genuine nature and gratitude from the band make them an incredibly likeable bunch, not to mention their reckless and wild approach to audience participation. Picking out members of the crowd to join them on stage and uniting the fans in a ‘Mexican Wave’ fashion shows that they care deeply about their supporters. I remember Smith, teary-eyed as he looked out to the crowd and claimed the next hour and a half as ‘Your Time’ (meaning fans) ‘This is your time.’ A Bastille gig isn’t just a gig it’s a whole experience that’ll stay with you. – Olivia Dellar

Panic! At The Disco

Panic! At The Disco are currently one of the hottest bands around… and by ‘band’, I really mean Brendan Urie, the one man show. From the original ‘trinity of emo’ Panic are by far the best all rounder. Although Urie has shed the emo label with Death of a Bachelor (2015) and Pray For The Wicked (2018), they know how to throw back to their origins with ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’, ‘Nine in The Afternoon’ and ‘This is Gospel’.

I had been a fan since 2004 as my elder sister introduced me to them as well as other emo bands of that time. I might have only been 5 at the time and not know what the songs meant, but they were catchy. I had the pleasure to see them headline at Slam Dunk 2016 and I will never forget. Although my then boyfriend hated them, I was able to see them and dance to my favourite song ‘Ready To Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)’ as well as see Urie shirtless and back flipping all over the stage. He was singing while doing that!

Since 2016, Panic have calmed down – no more shirtless flips for you. However, their stagecraft has majorly stepped up. I did not see them on their Pray For The Wicked tour due to the price, but one of my friends went. They immensely enjoyed their time seeing a band revel in their success. Panic are known for putting on a good show and whether you have seen them in their early emo days, to their suave appearance of today – you will not be disappointed. Urie has been around for a while now and has harnessed his craft… so make sure you see Panic once in your life. – Jo Lisney

Red Hot Chilli Peppers

The red asterisks, thick black font surrounding in a circular fashion is no one else than the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Coming from California they’re some of the best and were one of the first rock bands to incorporate rap into their rock-funk sound in their debut 1984 album Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

This makes for an incredibly varied show as they take on personas of 80s rap artists – that is before the Nile Rogers-esque funk basslines come swooping in altering the entire dynamic of the show that takes you by utter surprise. I’m sure you’ve heard classics such as ‘Under the Bridge’ ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘By The Way’. These classics are the most well-known tracks but you don’t experience their kaleidoscopic range of genres unless you’re present for an entire set. Their record ‘Scar Tissue’ is possibly one of the best songs I’ve seen live. The song was written about frontman Anthony Kiedis’ hardships with drug addiction, which cast the arena into a silence that was almost supportive of the hardships from Kiedis past. But as quickly as this silence settled it was soon shattered by the psychedelic indie twang of Flea’s bass guitar.

In terms of audience participation, they don’t let down on that front either. Despite Kiedis nearing 60 he still runs around like that of a child on multiple E numbers injecting more than enough enthusiasm for fans sending the standing section into bits as plastic cups were catapulted across the crowds. – Olivia Dellar

Green Day 

A great concert to me is made up of two factors, the music and the atmosphere. You can have the best songs in the world but if there’s a lack of stage presence or excitement running through the crowd you’re not great to see live in my opinion. Equally important is the music and catalogue of songs. This is what makes Green Day stand out live as of the many bands I’ve seen live very few can match their energy, with hit after hit being played and for nearly three hours.

Being in the mood for a sing along is the most important thing about a Green Day show, as immediately in the opening song ‘Know Your Enemy’ they call out someone from the audience to come on stage and sing with the band before giving them the opportunity to stage dive. This happens multiple times seeing Green Day, people are called upon so you better know the words.

When seeing Green Day at the o2 Arena in 2017, they asked for a fan to come and play guitar during their cover of Operation Ivy‘s song ‘Knowledge.’ A disabled woman was chosen, her carer and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong helped her onstage and sat her on the steps up towards the drums before Armstrong gave her his guitar to play. Within seconds she seamlessly fit into the band. The whole of the o2 Arena cheered her on as she became the star, and once the song was over Armstrong asked for her name before telling her ‘you get to keep the guitar.’ This was met with the loudest cheer of the night. A truly heartwarming moment.

People know about Green Day’s hits such as ‘American Idiot’, ‘Basket Case’ and ‘When I Come Around’, this combined with this sense of family in the Green Day fans is what makes them the best to see, these songs make a whole arena or stadium one single entity singing the same songs with the same passion. Once the show finishes after ‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’ the joyous and almost sad feeling that it’s over sweeps over that you really did just have the time of your life and this feeling won’t be recreated until the next time you see Green Day. – Josh Matthews

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Live Editor 2019/20 & second year English student. Can usually be found procrastinating my degree at a gig, or trying (and failing) to complete my Goodreads challenge

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classic culture editor 20/21. 3rd year english student with an unhealthy shakespeare, hannibal lecter and 70s nostalgia obsession.

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Buzzing like a busy bee as the live editor 2020/21. You will often find me asleep when I should be doing my English degree. Oops!

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