As the editor of a music outlet, spending your nights in a warm and sweaty venue has become second nature and something which I found myself doing at least three times per week, if not more. With so many performances and new experiences yet again under my belt in 2019, I thought it would be nice to add a personal touch (something which isn’t all too commonplace on these kinds of media outlet sites) to the end of the year and introduce you to my three favourite shows of the year, in no particular order. Instead of explaining why this show stood out, I’ve added an excerpt from my review at the time, as these were the freshest thoughts rattling my mind in that particular moment (in the absence of a review: one song).
KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD @ TIVOLIVREDENBURG, UTRECHT (OCTOBER, Night One)
“There’s a lot to be said for the rapid growth in popularity King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have experienced over the last seven years. Back in 2014, the band’s first Dutch show saw them play to just over 200 people in Paradiso’s small upstairs room. Fast forward to October 2019, and they’ve shifted 4,000 tickets over two nights for their biggest shows in the region to date. Pair that with another set of sold out shows in Brussels tonight and tomorrow, and you’d have to admit that they’re the biggest band no one has ever heard of. They’re like a cult, only the kind you want to become a member of. There’s no telling what these Aussies have up their sleeves next, but come winter 2020 we’ll be sure to find out exactly what they have planned for album number sixteen and beyond.”
DRUGDEALER @ DE NIEUWE ANITA, AMSTERDAM (MAY)
FOALS @ ROCK EN SEINE FESTIVAL, PARIS (AUGUST)
“Foals had the tough task of taking on the Cascade stage right before dream headliner Aphex Twin appeared on the main stage, and this begged one main question: could they have been a better headliner? Well, of course, the answer is a resounding yes. Without discrediting Aphex Twin, it was safe to say that nearly everyone in Paris was packed into the field for Foals. Frontman Yannis Philippakis is a seasoned veteran, commandeering the crowd at the click of a finer. New album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Pt. 1 served as the focal point of the show (Pt. 2 is due in October), with popular singles Black Bull and In Degrees both proving to be highlights during the show. They’re a lot more refined and raucous than Foals’ earlier output, ditching youthful intensity for a sense of wonderful dance and mosh-ability which earlier cuts either lacked or just fell short of. The show’s peak came on finale Two Steps, Twice, which marked one of Philippakis’ many trips over the barrier and into the crowd. He also did this during earlier tracks Inhaler and What Went Down (preceded by a “fuck Boris” speech), ending the absolutely mental night in and amongst a happy crowd.”