Something You Said’s best gigs of 2014

Courtney Barnett live in Sydney

At, we’ve got reviewers all across the globe. From the United States to Australia via the UK, Spain, Switzerland, France, Austria and a bunch of places in between. Between us, we’ve spent countless hours in dark rooms watching bands this year. Here are our contributors’ personal favourite gigs of 2014, in no particular order:

Courtney Barnett – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
The powerful three-song encore included two new songs, including Depreston. Then came a song which the audience had clearly been waiting for – History Eraser. The slacker-stream-of-consciousness jam raised the roof with the stage invaders returning with a number of followers. Once they were pulled off stage, and after Barnett (pictured, top) remembered which lyric she was up to, the crowd shouted along in unison: “…and in the taxi home, I’ll sing you a Triffids song!” Matt Lengren

Foxgen – Frannz Club, Berlin
I attended an absurd amount of gigs in 2014 and many great ones – it’s difficult to spread them out and begin the process of detanglement. The one that’s probably going to stick with me after the others, however, was Foxygen at Frannz Club. It’s a small, packed-in venue and the show blew out the walls. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from these guys, as they’d set themselves a pretty twisted and ambitious soundtrack to rebreathe this year with ‘…And Star Power’, but they surpassed my wildest dreams. Nine people crammed the stage, including three back-up dancers, and Sam France was nothing short of mesmerising – a synthesis of Jagger, Iggy, Bowie and Byrne all rolled up in one deliciously lanky, pink-haired piece of Californian chaos. Perhaps the tie here is Connan Mockasin at Haldern Pop Festival; a mindblowingly warped wonderland of satin pyjamas and special friends (including Kirin J Callinan and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti bassist Tim Koh), topped off by Connan’s wobbly red-wine stagger. Mockasin’s a magician, there’s no doubt about it. Chloe Mayne

GOAT – Concorde 2, Brighton
Quite possibly the best gig I have ever been to in my life, and I say that as a 40-year-old veteran of many, many wonderful gigs. If you haven’t seen GOAT then go do it now, you will be destroyed. A wonderfully hedonistic experience of costume, dance, krautrock, afrobeat and psychedelia that will have you dancing round your jaw as it drops to the dancefloor. Neil Martin

Beyonce in Sydney
Because of outfits and voice and production and pure Godessness. Harriet Cheney

Neutral Milk Hotel – The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill 
I was a late comer to NMH’s classic album In the Aeroplane Over The Sea, by which time such a huge cult status had built up around the band and album. Well, the original band decided to tour in 2014 so I purchased a ticket not knowing what to expect. What I witnessed was a beautiful night of song, phenomenal musicianship and spent the gig with one big grin across my face. Gary Page

Anberlin – Farewell Tour, Singapore
Farewell tours are always hard, watching a band play for the very last time. It was especially tender because Anberlin were such a big part of my teenage years, and obviously hearing them live once again and for the very last time was immensely depressing. But being at the concert brought back so many memories and well, all the feels. Desmond Chan

MØ – The Great Escape, Brighton
I was lucky enough to see Karen Marie Ørsted (pictured, below) fill the room at The Great Escape, not just with people but with sound and incredible energy. Long of leg, she bounced across the stage, whipping her trademark high-plaited ponytail from side-to-side, all the while holding the audience in the palm of her hand with a perfect mixture of popstar glamour and indie credibility. Her set blended a patchwork of DIY beats, electro-R&B and pop sensibilities with a punk edge. She punched her chest defiantly, raised her arms to the sky and delivered a powerful vocal howl that left no-one in any doubt that they were watching a truly special artist. The highlight of The Great Escape 2014? You bet. Bobby Townsend

MO at The Great Escape 2014

The Rolling Stones – Allphones Arena, Sydney
I felt very fortunate to be able to attend the show. It was great to experience a band I have loved and admired for such a long time, as well as with such an inspiring and interesting history. Hearing Keith Richards sing “You’ve got the silver” in the flesh was magic. There have also been many smaller shows from both international and local bands this year that have blown me away. It has been a stand-out year for live music. Heather Vousden

KATE BUSH IN LONDON!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jack Colwell

Mac Demarco – Zürich
It was the final show of the tour and his first time headlining in Switzerland so things were a bit loose. The fellas provided lovely banter amongst each other including, ‘fuck you, I’ll see you after the show’. The encore included a lovely cover of Metallica and the crowd, who seemed somewhat mellow and feelgood, were apparently all closet metalheads because things perked up, bodies were lifted, throats were coarsened. Kaya Strehler

Alvvays – Birthdays, London
It wasn’t visually spectacular. In fact, I couldn’t really see the stage for most of it, (being short and stuck in a square, flat claustrophobic room doesn’t help) but the songs are just gorgeous ditties full of melodic charm and optimism, simple and infectious. Her vocals are syrupy and country tinged and the bass player was pretty rad! Everyone left with a big Canadian smile on their faces. Golden Lady

Glass Towers – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle
I went and saw Glass Towers my first weekend after getting back from living in Paris and travelling Europe in 2013 at the Small Ballroom in Newy, and everyone good to me was there and the floor was sticky and afterwards there were the band and six of us dancing around on the empty dance floor with laser beams and a smoke machine and it was marvellous. Ruth Hodge

Kitty Flanagan’s comedy gig ‘Seriously?’
Because she is beyond hilarious and many a belly laughs were had. Everything she says is accurate, from her commentary on the elderly to her thoughts on pregnant women. She succeeded in orchestrating roaring laughter from the audience the entire night. I’m pretty sure I was wheezing afterwards. Also it was a full-house and I had a great seat for prime viewing. This was the second time I’d seen Kitty live and she never fails to deliver. Tammy Potakh

Beardyman with JFB – Concorde 2, Brighton
There are a lot of beatboxers around now trying to emulate Beardyman’s success. He keeps evolving his art and the latest incarnation of his Beardytron 5000 iPad, synth, sampling system allows him to produce an hours worth of improvised fresh material on each leg of his tour. JFB warned up with some amazing scratch routines and then returned at the end to battle Beardyman and sample his sounds and scratch them all in real time. Both artists are ugly talented. Catch them live when you can. 25ThC

Gang of Youths – Newtown Social, Sydney was pretty good (photo below). Joel Anderson

Gang of Youths live in Sydney

The Gooch Palms – The Lansdowne, Sydney OR The Nirvana tribute gig – Frankies, Sydney
Oh, a very close tie between the Gooch Palms at the Lansdowne and the recent Frankies Nirvana tribute gig. Mainly because they were both gigs where I could get wild, sweaty and moshy. I love that freedom of not caring, throwing your body around to music. It’s a very spiritual thing for me, it’s about letting go and such, blah blah blah. Melissa Barrass

Flight Facilities 
Because I got to see my friends perform and entertain a crowd that lapped up every second of their musical talent. Very proud. Rose Ashton

Dean Wareham – Théâtre Garonne, Toulouse.
I was a bit sad not to be able to dance (as it was a theatre), but therefore one could concentrate more on the details. They played a bunch of my favourite Galaxie 500 songs as well and even played Indian Summer. The concert was far from being sold-out, therefore it was a very intimate gig. I was really stressed before I went there and it blew away all my worries. Living the moment with Dean and Britta is pretty amazing. Lisa Says

Erasure – The Forum, London
I had been waiting ALL YEAR for this show – and Andy and Vince did not disappoint. The show was a blazing 90 minutes of hits, lights, spandex and sparkles. The sound was incredible, the bass blasted through my chest and the crowd were electric. Andy’s vocal was on top form and the set list was better than I could have ever dreamed of. This is how to do a live show! Joe Haddow

Afghan Whigs – The Electric Ballroom, London
Greg Dulli and friends at their lascivious best. Peter Watts

Slowdive – Way Out West Sweden, Gothenburg  
Ahh Slowdive. Their set was probably my favourite of the festival. So much love an appreciation for the band from the crowd. I mean we were all standing but after the magnificent ‘Catch The Breeze’ (My first time hearing that song so I had no clue of the climax at the end. The strobe lights, glistening guitars and wall of sounds was just perfect. Honestly one of those moments were just glad to be there, to exist. I always find the best moments of a concert are when you feel your fully in the present moment just enjoying it) I honestly think the audience gave the band a standing ovation (granted everyone was already standing but still…). It was to the point where bandmember Rachel Goswell walked up to the microphone and tried to say something but the audience just kept clapping. Forcing her to turn away from the mic with a smile and launched into the next song. So much love during that show. Felix Englund Örn

MIA forever and always. Her concerts are like the greatest party you’ve ever been to. Tenley Nordstrom

What was your favourite gig of 2014? Tell us in the comments section.

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