Something You Said’s best gigs of 2013

Crowd at Carriageworks

Here at, we’ve got boots on the ground all over the world, from USA to Australia via the UK, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and a bunch of places in between. Between us, we’ve seen heaps of gigs in 2013 in all manner of places – from grand arenas to sticky-carpeted toilet venues. Here are our contributors’ personal favourites, in no particular order:

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Brighton Dome/Sydney Opera House
– I tried to write a full review of this Brighton show but all that came out when I attempted it was ‘OMG IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER’. Nick Cave – with his pipe-cleaner body – is the one of the greatest frontmen of all time. Bobby Townsend
– Hands down, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at the Sydney Opera house was the best gig of the year. Every time I see Nick Cave perform I am never disappointed. The way he tells stories through his lyrics is like no other, he should be on everyone’s bucket list. He is a true Australian talent. Sara Potter

Bjork – The Berlin Festival
The biggest mindfuck of a gig I’ve ever attended. Such WOW. Carol Bowditch

hewitt_m_bridezilla-10-002Bridezilla’s farewell show – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
As the instruments were laid to rest and the wide-eyed members stepped forward to front of stage, the members of Bridezilla linked arms and took their final step of the waltz in what had been a truly memorable first, and final dance. Goodnight Bridezilla, and thank you for the music. Jack Colwell. Live shot by Meg Hewitt.

A Tribe Called Quest – Wireless Festival, London
I had seen Phife Dawg live on his own a couple of times but had never seen the full line up of one of my favourite hip hop crews of all time. This was in fact their first gig in the UK for almost 20 years so I had to go despite the rather pricey ticket. They did not disappoint, rattling through their classic back catalogue with vast swathes of the crowd rapping along. I feel privileged to have seen them as there may well not be another opportunity. 25ThC

London Grammar in Portland
They’re relatively unknown here, but luckily I have super hip friends who know and love them, so we headed to this very cool bar/music venue and swayed along with, like, twenty other bearded hipsters, swooning at how beautiful their lead singer was. They were very cute, clearly new to success and fame, and put on an absolutely incredible show (I DID NOT CRY). Elaina Ransford

Cloud Control – FBi Radio’s 10th Birthday, Carriageworks, Sydney
Cloud Control’s new album, Dream Cave, is really impressive and such a pleasure to listen to. Add in the gratitude that they felt for FBi Radio giving them so much support over the years and the raw corrugated iron shed venue at Carriageworks and you have everything that’s great about Australian music. A real tear of joy moment. Harriet Cheney

Mudhoney – Concorde 2, Brighton
Because it reintroduced me to the joys of the mosh pit for the first time in many years and because Touch Me I’m Sick is still the greatest song ever for singing along and hurling yourself around to with a bunch of sweaty men. Neil Martin

First Aid Kit – Sydney Opera House
Being at the Opera House is always an awe-inspiring experience, but to see two incredibly talented musicians, Johanna and Klara Soderberg, who make up Swedish band First Aid Kit, play there, was out of this world. Their set was filled with emotional lyrics, energetic bursts and soulful solos. To say that they belie their young ages is an understatement. They have something that is old-worldly and timeless. Kate Holcombe

Solange – Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona
I had the absolute pleasure of not only seeing Solange at the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, but being front and centre and having her gloriousness radiating over me. Her entire team on stage was dripping in sex. Not in a cheap nasty way but in the most awe-inspiring way. From Dev Hynes gyrating with his guitar, to the sassy backing ladies, the queen herself taking us all the motherland of inner ear pleasure. I’ve never anticipated an album like am with ‘True’. And to make things better before her last song she made everyone put their phones and cameras away so that we could totally lose our shit. Lose our shit we did. Kaya Stehler

caitlinCaitlin Park – The Great Escape, Brighton
Accompanied on stage by UK singer/songwriter David Ford on drums and Ben Fletcher on guitar, Caitlin Park’s show was one of the absolute standouts of the festival. Her cleverly-structured folktronica utilised a sample pad, loops and Ford/Fletcher’s backing vocals as she played a set of songs from her debut album and her – as yet unreleased – follow-up. Old songs like Baby Teeth and Jack, Where You At? sounded as great as ever while her newies showed impressive extra dimensions to her songwriting. Most notable was her next single, The Sleeper; a groovy-as-hell number built to make hips shake and feet stomp. Absolutely irresistible. Anyone who was elsewhere during this eclectic set was simply in the wrong place. Bobby Townsend

Bruce Springsteen – Allphones Arena, Sydney
Rick Ross ain’t got nothing on the real Boss. He’s back in March for fans who missed him the first time around. Colin Delaney

Chk Chk Chk/Belle and Sebastian on the beach of San Sebastian in Spain
I was meeting up in Spain with a dear friend and we were only going to visit San Sebastian for the day. She was heading back to Pamplona and I was making my way to Portugal, so we were going to have a very wholesome and lovely day on the coast and then go our separate ways. We were asking people around the bus station for places to store my luggage when we ran into an Australian who told us about this wonderful beach shack hostel, run completely by Aussies, not too far from where we were. One thing led to another and before long we were being coerced into staying the night at the shack and joining them for some live music on the beach that night. Turns out it was actually a weekend-long festival, for free, with the likes of Chk Chk Chk and Belle and Sebastian gracing the stage. Chk Chk Chk were always clashing with someone or another whenever they were playing downunder, so for anyone who has seen them live before, I will attest that it is the one of the most wonderful, invasive and exploding live experiences you can have with your pants on. For it also to be free? On a beach? I could not help but think “This would never fly in Aus”. Sophie Metcalfe

The xx, Sydney
Great, great, great band live. Sexy British accents during between-song banter made all the ladies cream their jeans and I got a passive high so everything was sublime. Memorable night. Tammy Potakh

Chairlift – The Scala, London
I felt they honoured their sound beautifully, not trying to do or be anything they’re not. Haunting, melodic and genuinely odd. Golden Lady

Jill Scott – The Enmore, Sydney
I was lucky enough to go to Jill Scott’s first ever concert on Australian soil, at The Enmore last month. The woman is, quite simply, a goddess. The perfect voice, the perfect band, and the presence of a near-hysterical crowd means I think I can safely say every single person who went had a brilliant time. Sonia Clarke

neon 1Neon Neon – Village Underground, London
More of a stage-show than a regular gig. Chief Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys continued to push the boundaries of indie/pop music with his Neon Neon collaborator Boom Bip and the National Theatre of Wales. They presented their Praxis Makes Perfect concept album about Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, a rebel publisher in Cold War Italy who smuggled Dr Zhivago out of Soviet Russia. Complemented by a stunning cast of actors and innovative set design, the production was a fascinating assault on the senses. Gary Page

M.I.A. – The Belasco, LA
M.I.A. was epic. It was an unrelenting dance party at the beautiful Art Deco downtown LA theatre, The Belasco. Tenley Nordstrom

Houndmouth – The Seabright Arms, London
A small intimate show, but such intensity and wonderful playing. The band were on top form and played a flawless set. The sound was perfect – and I was edging my way to the front of the gig throughout which can only be a good sign. Joe Haddow

Queens of the Stone Age – Wembley Arena, London
The gigs this year were EPIC. I’ve seen Polysics in a grimy Camden basement, Deerhoof at The Haunt in Brighton, countless bands in rain and shine at Download including the filth that is Rammstein, William Drake, a zillion talented Brighton bands – okay stop showing off. The winner is Queens of the Stone Age at Wembley. My life peaked. Alice Parsons

Between The Buried And Me – The Metro, Sydney
Playing their ambitious release The Parallax II: Future Sequence in it’s entirety. And then ending with ‘White Walls’ was just immense! Adam Davis-Powell

The Vermons – The Loft, Chevron Island, Australia
To celebrate the release of their sultry single ‘White Wine’, Gold Coast band The Vernons recently held a quaint little gig at Chevron Island’s The Loft. In a city known for its shitty crowds, and despite the fact that this gig was held smack damn in the middle of schoolies week, the crowd was pretty excellent. From what I can gather, a few of the bands close friends and family were there, so the vibes were about as intimate as you can get. Though there were a few technical difficulties, The Vernons played beautifully as per usual. Lead singer Jonny Nyst’s beautiful vocals were strong, and filled the tiny venue with a soulful, bluesy sound. The band members were all about getting the audience involved, and even played a cover version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ which had everyone up grooving away, bopping their heads about and what not. The supporting act The Upskirts, were exciting in a grungy kinda way, and their cover of Kavinksy’s ‘Nightcall’ was a highlight. Plus, any band that dedicates a song to Ryan Gosling gets a thumbs up from me regardless. So yeah, all in all, ’twas a pretty dandy gig. Liana Gow-Killingbeck

Reggie Watts – Royal Festival Hall, London
Reggie Watts is so unique and original that I actually saw him live twice this year a few months apart. He is still relatively underground but is critically respected and deservedly so. His highly intelligent mix of voices, beat looping, singing, rapping and comedy makes for one of the most interesting nights you will ever experience. The fact that each of the two shows I saw were totally unique means that I would happily go and see him again and again. Check him out live if you can or if not he has plenty of videos on YouTube. 25ThC

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – The Fleece, Bristol
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble were so good they made me forget everything and just dance: hard and sweaty and without conscience. Damn funky. Tom Spooner

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