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8 Of The Best Concerts We Saw In 2014

Joyce Jude Lee |
January 14, 2015 | 1:07 p.m. PST

Music Editor

 Joyce Lee/Neon Tommy)
Joyce Lee/Neon Tommy)

Touring is often a means for artists to promote their material nowadays. While listening to CDs as you drive along the Pacific highway might feel liberating and relaxing, there's nothing like a good concert. From the build up to the crowd chatter to the moment when the artist steps onto the stage, the atmosphere is unlike any other. 

In this past year, I've seen more than 100 acts perform at festivals, bars and headline their own shows. While none of them were duds, these eight shows were the ones that blew my mind. 

Vampire Weekend at The Governors Ball in New York City 

Hands down, Vampire Weekend's festival-closing headline slot at Gov Ball was one of the best shows of the year. The New York natives properly rocked out to a fun loving home crowd, playing tunes like "A-Punk," "Step" and "Unbelievers." Oh, and at the end, lead singer/Twitter extraordinare Ezra Koenig lept into the crowd and threw two dollar bills at fans for "good luck." 

Bombay Bicycle Club at The Wiltern Theater

It's no surprise lead singer Jack Steadman mentioned how much of a headache he and the band have trouble translating their inventive electronic music to a live audience.Once you've been to a Bombay Bicycle Club show, you would've questioned 1. Why have I never seen them before? 2. All other shows I've been to/will go to may not live up to this. A combination of stellar light engineering, funky indie electronic pop and stunning animation sequences make Bombay Bicycle Club one of the best live bands on the planet.

 Joyce Lee/Neon Tommy)
Joyce Lee/Neon Tommy)
The 1975 at The 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. 

The Manchester quartet was mathematically calculated to be the hardest working band in the past year-they played over 195 shows in 29 countries and traveled more than 249,724 km. As grueling as this schedule sounds, the band still manages to put one hell of a show. As Matty, George, Adam and Ross stroll onto the stage amid a backdrop of fluorescent white rectangles (the band's signature) and fog, screams kick in as the band launches into an 90 minute energetic, electronic-guitar rock show. 

FKA Twigs at The Regent Theater in Los Angeles

No one has kicked more ass in the indie circle this year than FKA Twigs (aka Tahlia Barnett) did in 2014. Her live shows are a testament to Twigs' artistry and talent--through the entire set, she maintains stellar vocals while sensually slithering around the stage with her sultry dance moves.

 Joyce Lee/Neon Tommy)
Joyce Lee/Neon Tommy)
The Black Keys at The Forum in Los Angeles

They've been around forever, but they're still better than ever. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney keep blues rock alive with their amazing arena rock shows, filled with old jams, new favorites, and plenty of those Auerbach guitar riffs are no one else can replicate.

Jungle at The Fonda Theater in Los Angeles

Jungle has had a busy year touring around the world. I saw them at The Fonda last fall and they completely transformed the theater into an 80's disco. Slated to run the festival circuit this year, the seven piece English band transforms soul music with their live shows, making the genre palatable for people of all ages. 

 Joyce Lee/Neon Tommy)
Joyce Lee/Neon Tommy)
Catfish And The Bottlemen at The Constellation Room in Santa Ana

Fresh off winning the BBC Award, Van McCann and co. are one of the best live bands today. Forget the fact that their new album hasn't even hit US shelves yet--go to a show and you'll have a hell of a good time. Sweat, grime, fun, guitars, drums and sweet vocals makes Catfish and The Bottlemen's shows unforgettable. 

Foster The People at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles

"Pumped Up Kicks" is not the only FTP song that will pump you up throughout their set. Chalk full of beachy California rock tunes and indie electro-pop jams, Mark Foster and the band put on a psychedelic rock show that is the definition of Caliornia cool. 

Reach Music Editor Joyce Jude Lee here.



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