It feels like an absolute lifetime ago that live music was a thing. We’ve witnessed so many great performers since starting Beats To The Bar nearly three years ago. So, who are we looking forward to seeing live again when we’re all allowed (if they’re still going)? We could have picked so many more, but for want of relative brevity, here’s 10 bands and artists you must see live:
One of the last live bands we saw before the world went to sh*t was Michael at the Shacklewell Arms. It was also one of the most riotously fun gigs we’ve ever been to. All old enough to know better, the show saw several members of the band diving into an incredibly enthusiastic crowd who were only too happy to reciprocate. They’re an absolutely electric live band an, in Milo Brennan, have one of the most charismatic frontmen we’ve seen since Tim Harrington. An absolute must for any punk or hardcore fan.
They are not a secret anymore, to anyone. With a number 4 album(!) to boot this lot have it all. Florence Shaw’s glorious, laugh out loud non-sequiturs and nonchalant/nervous stage persona are what grabs the headlines. However, the band around her are just as vital. Lewis Maynard is an intense spectacle, as he gets fully consumed by the groove. Nick Buxton, in contrast has as cool as ice expression that belies his slick drumming. Then there’s Tom Dowse’s enthusiastic guitar chops that carry the main melodies. Everyone’s new favourite post-punk band.
An artist in every sense of the word. Merlin Nova moves seamlessly between grandiose electronic pop, avant grade drone and bizarre, often comical skits. And then, there’s her voice. An otherworldly bellow that will absolutely floor you.
Front man and songwriter Max Levy is, without doubt, a natural born entertainer. His nervous energy and affable stage banter are infectious. His unique vocal style may shock some on first hearing it while the brilliance of the melodies make Garden Centre an essential band to see.
The Glasgow juggernaut are just the party band their debut album ‘Carnage Hall’ suggested. Their technicolour Talking Heads post punk, and wandering saxophone combine to glorious effect. Incredibly uplifting, they always look like they’re having so much fun on stage.
Unique in their drums, bass and violin setup. With the simplicity of the bass hooks, the wild, rangy violin and tight punchy drums Pozi are taut, and melodically gifted. Politically switched on, their lyrics charge their music with intensity. When all three members combine on vocals, something magical happens. Their TVPs meets Trans Am post punk is spellbinding. We’re always “Engaged” (sorry).
This lot are like nothing else. Kate Mahony is one of the most brilliantly bizarre performers going. At one moment screaming her head off, the next she might be curled up in a ball on the floor, or making a tent out of confused audience members. The band provide the perfect balance, with repetitious grooves, wobbly synth hooks and sudden atonal bursts. Super fun.
Handle are a phenomenon. The busy, elasticated rhythms concocted by Giulio Erasmus and Nirvana Heire are fascinating. Leo Hermitt’s vocals and woozy keys contort the shapes created into something entirely unique. While they’re not especially animated performers, the music is all we’re there for, and it’s great.
The result of three fantastic musicians and artists coming together. Featuring members of Shopping, Halo Halo and Bamboo, Trash Kit takes the best of these bands to create something tight yet expansive, playful and extremely creative. Rachel Aggs’ live energy will make any band great live. When teamed with Rachel Horwood’s blooming drum flourishes and Gill Partington’s driving bass, they create something really special.
Everyone should see Richard Dawson play at least once. His command of the stage is quite extraordinary. You get the impression that were he not belting out his devastating folk music he would be just as comfortable on the stand up circuit. His voice alone is something to behold. It leaves many rooted to the spot in awe. The combination of this with his gloriously messy yet virtuoso guitar playing makes Dawson unmissable.
As we said at the start, there are so many fantastic live bands and artists in the UK so, while their only option may be to play on these shores please go out and support them. We love every band and artist we review, so why not check out some more through those, or take a look at our Youtube channel for more live footage.