We haven’t been to as many concerts this year as in previous times, but still managed to get out to at least one a week. We’ve been entertained by many bands, both on major labels and unsigned, and without further ado, here’s our Top 5 favourite gigs of 2013!
Three Trapped Tigers, Tall Ships, The Physics House Band, Mutiny on the Bounty – Brighton Concorde 2, 18 May
Read that line up. Now read it again. This is the kind of gig that should be the heartbeat of the industry. Part of The Great Escape, but also open to regular punters for a small entry fee, all four bands proved why they are amongst the most exciting around today and the crossover between each was seamless. Mutiny on the Bounty’s aggressive nature was followed by the post-prog tendencies of The Physics House Band, before Tall Ships played one of their first gigs as a four-piece to a packed crowd in their adopted hometown. Three Trapped Tigers pile-driving and ruthless noise-rock ended the night (and festival) in style!
Dutch Uncles, Kingston New Slang, 17 January
January feels such a long time ago now, but Manchester’s Dutch Uncles came down to Kingston to play an album launch show and the enthusiastic crowd really got into the band’s instantly danceable yet intricate and complex sound. Frontman Duncan danced the entire set and also had ample opportunity to show off his xylophone skills, including an amazing duet on the humble instrument.
The Computers, Aldershot West End Centre, 1 June
The Computers unveiled a brand new sound and look in 2013, with album ‘Love Triangles Hate Squares’ embodying the rock & roll spirit of Chuck Berry, while also throwing in some Motown influences alongside the band’s well-established punk spirit. The live arena was where the band excelled. With every member bequiffed and dressed in their maroon suits, it’s doubtful there was a more stylish band on the circuit this year. Gospel-style orders were shouted out and resistance to dancing was futile.
Villagers, Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms, 18 February
Villagers’ second album ‘Nothing Arrived’ was a real feat, perfectly encapturing Conor O’Brien’s musical evolution from one-man-project into a full band. Now a reliable staple of festival season, there is a real confidence in the live set which finds Conor screaming his lungs out in one song and then tenderly soothing any worries in the next. All this while the band surround his fragile vocals with a tight and staggering attention to detail.
Duke Special, Aldershot West End Centre, 17 April
Duke Special shows are always rather extraordinary and in this gig, a welcome return to the Westy, he didn’t disappoint. With a mixture of heartfelt emotion and some almost-show tunes, the intimate settings helped add an extra personal intensity as he sang his heart out, encouraged communal singing and clapping and finished the night playing the piano in the venue’s bar.