The Best Gigs of 2014 – Part 2

Kate Bush’s Hammersmith Apollo residency… Prince’s small, almost-secret shows… Metallica’s controversial headlining slot at Glastonbury… To say 2014 has been a memorable one for big gigs by huge names would be an understatement, but at Gigslutz our reviewers prefer shows that are a little more understated, including one in a pub and one in the back of the van…

Let us know your favourites by tweeting us a 140 character review, using the hashtag #Gigslutz2014

Click here for Part 1 of The Best Gigs of 2014

Slowdive @ Latitude Festival, Suffolk 18.07.14
Although the crowd gathered below the impeccable kings of shoegaze was modest to say the least, Slowdive’s only UK festival appearance was one for the history books and easily one of the best gigs I saw this year. The newly-reformed Slowdive ran through a short but extremely sweet set of tracks, featuring both Soulvaki Spaceship‘s ‘When The Sun Hits’ and Pygmilion’s ‘Crazy For You’. Although the setlist didn’t mention Slowdive’s defining hit, ‘Alison’, the band managed to bring tears to eyes of the older generation in the BBC 6 Music Tent at Latitude Festival, while proving that they’re still on top of their game. Ella Scott

Trampolene @ The Back Of Their Tour Van, Strawberry Fields Festival 10.08.14
Yes, you read that title correctly. After finding out the news that the boys would not be popping their British festival cherry at Strawberry Fields back in August due to weather conditions, the lads invited me to their tour van. Lead Singer/guitarist Jack Jones played a beautifully elegant acoustic version of ‘Alcohol Kiss’, as well as a sublime cover of The Beatles ‘I’ll Be Back’ that would have done Lennon himself proud. Afterwards I got to play a few tunes on Jack’s acoustic and we ate French cake – safe to say it was surreal. An experience and memory I will never ever forget and one that no one else in the world can say they’ve had. It just goes to show the lads have all the time in the world for their friends and fans – a beautiful thing in the world of modern music. James Cummins

The Gene Clark No Other Band @ End Of The Road festival, Dorset 29.08.14
Although familiar with bits and bobs of Byrds legend Gene Clark’s music, I admit I had been ignorant of his lost treasure of an album, No Other. Released in 1974, it was unloved and under-promoted by his label – regarded as a folly of studio indulgence and over-production. Yay, then, for dream pop duo Beach House, who hit the novel idea of bringing this object of their long held admiration back to life. Gathering a supergroup of fellow No Other devotees – including members of Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear and Fairport Convention – they set out to perform the album in full, live, with no funny business. The UK exclusive performance at EOTR was the first I had ever heard of it, yet so classic and beautiful were the tunes that I found myself singing along to every chorus, as if I had grown up with them. The show itself was mesmerising; the different singers each brought out the best in their songs while highlighting what a mad genius Clark must have been to envision and perform them all himself first time around. Rosie James

La Roux @ Bestival 05.09.14
I stumbled over to Bestival’s Big Top expecting to dance to La Roux’s now five-year-old hits in an almost reminiscent fashion, as though she was already destined for a not too distant series of The Big Reunion, alongside The Ting Tings and Klaxons. I left knowing that it would take something special to top the gig I’d just witnessed. Elly Jackson and her new backing band delivered a set that blended past electro-pop hits and current classic-pop influenced numbers to create a colourful cocktail of pure, unashamed pop, transforming the big top into a lush, trouble – and reminiscing – free paradise. Dan Bull

Darlia @ Thekla, Bristol 26.09.14
As one of the breakout bands of 2014, Blackpool trio Darlia have made quite the racket all around the country. Having seen them a few times this year, their September performance at Thekla in Bristol was the stand out gig for me (with their Hyde Park performance supporting The Libertines also warranting an honourable mention). After only a handful of releases there was something special about the atmosphere at this gig. Frontman Nathan Day performed as if they’d never perform again, sitting on his knees while the crowd tried to pull him off the stage to join the mania in the pit. With a wall of headbangers pressed up against the stage, it was the kind of gig that a few years from now I’ll look back on and brag to my friends about. Harry Beaton

Frank Turner @ McClusky’s, London 20.11.14
Seeing one of your favourite artists play a number of their b-sides and rarities is a chance you’ll very rarely get, and, as I discovered, certainly one that shouldn’t be missed. It’s one thing seeing your favourite band or artists play their ‘hits’, but there’s a certain degree of emotion that seems to only come with playing songs they’re not used to playing live. Frank Turner was a little shaky at this gig – two months since he’d last played live and playing without his band – but powered through an incredibly emotional 27-song set of b-sides and rarities, before finishing rather triumphantly with a cover of ‘Somebody to Love’Melissa Svensen

Manic Street Preachers @ The Roundhouse 16.12.14
The Manics’ decision to play their most revered work, The Holy Bible, live in full to commemorate its 20th anniversary was an act of bravery. While the album’s legacy was never at risk, the band were placing their reputation on the line: fail to deliver and even their most loyal fans would be devastated, while those who cynically derided the event merely an act of nostalgia might seem justified. We needn’t have worried. Songs like ‘Yes’, ‘Mausoleum’ and ‘Faster’ sounded as urgent and relevant in 2014 as they did in 1994, while the melancholic ‘This is Yesterday’ had extra poignancy given Richey’s absence. The shows on this tour were a fitting tribute to their former bandmate and the final album they made together. A triumph. Paul Sng

The Cure @ Hammersmith Eventim Apollo, London 22.12.14
Aside from the rather obvious fact that it’s The Cure, what arguably made this one of my favourite gigs of the year was how close to home it was. As I said: It’s The Cure – a band that could effortlessly sell out the O2 – playing just 10 minutes from my house. While the 40-song set left everyone both physically and emotionally drained, it finished (surprisingly only 15 minutes past curfew) on a high with ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and ‘Hey You’. No one should go through life without seeing The Cure. Melissa Svensen

Paul Sng

Paul Sng

Editor-at-large, Brighton. Likes: Lee Hazlewood, Lee Hazlewood songs and Lee Hazlewood's moustache Dislikes: Celery, crap nostalgia and people who raise their voice when speaking as if they're asking a question?