2018 In Live Music

Tuesday, 11 December 2018


As 2018 draws to a close, i'm doing the usual reflecting on the year and remembering all the great memories created. I'm ready for 2019 to be bigger and better, but there will be a lot to top, music especially.

This year saw me go to 17 shows. To some a few, but to others many, I got to see a massive handful of my favourite bands and artists this year, so here's my live music round-up.

I kicked off the year with my all-time number 1 Craig David, when he played an album release show at Kingston's Hippodrome on February 2nd. I always have the most fun at his shows and more so at this one being with 3 of my best friends and Craig putting songs back on the setlist I ask him to. What is my life?!

In February War Child put on their annual stream of events, and this year I attended Deaf Havana's gig at Union Chapel. I've been a fan of Deaf Havana for years and James Veck-Gilodi's vocals astound me every time I see them live. Supported by a choir, the sound in the chapel was beautiful and so complimentary of the Norfolk bands sound.

Things were quiet until April when Paige and I travelled to what felt like the ass end of nowhere in Watford to see Lower Than Atlantis. Despite Mike Duce throwing a hissy fit when the crowd wouldn't be quiet so didn't play one of my favourite songs, the show was good fun and a nice reminder of how many bangers the band have. Will definitely be sad to see them split after their final shows in 2019.

© Alma @ Heaven, London // JYDMRA
With a slow start to the year, May then started picking up with 2 shows in 2 days, both at London's iconic gay club Heaven. First up was Finnish popstar Alma who had the whole venue bouncing to her Heavy Rules EP. The next day Pale Waves took to the same stage, where we were treated to old and new tracks from their then upcoming album My Mind Makes Noises, and label mates Matty Healy and No Rome were sure to show their support in the crowd.

In June I went to the sweatiest gig I have ever attended, when Alexisonfire headlined Brixton Academy ahead of their Download appearance. I've been to many sold out shows at Brixton and i've never seen the venue so jam-packed and the pure wall of heat as you walked in was almost unbearable, but fortunately Dallas Green's vocals made it worth it. Three days later I was at the O2 Arena for a show on the complete opposite end of the spectrum - Katy Perry. I've been quite vocal about my on/off love for Miss Perry and I must admit if it wasn't for my girlfriend who is somewhat obsessed with the singer, I wouldn't have been at her Witness tour. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the show. The production, the set list, the general vibe, everything was exactly what you want a pop concert to be.

© Katy Perry @ O2 Arena, London // JYDMRA
When I was little my mum took me to see Steps on several occasions, so in July I returned the favour and took her to see them at Greenwich Music Time. We had such great fun on a nostalgia trip reliving the old days at the Thames bordering festival. Four days later it was then time for my birthday present, when Paige took me to see Justin Timberlake. Anyone that knows me will know how much i've adored Justin since I was a little girl, and I wasn't able to go to his last tour which I was so gutted about. When Paige surprised me with these tickets I was absolutely gobsmacked, and had the best time watching JT play all of his hits in the middle of the O2 Arena.

August is Pride, and this year Brighton Pride meant none other than Queen of Pop herself, Britney Spears taking to it's stage. I've always wanted to see Miss Spears live, but begrudged paying her usual hefty tour price when the woman hasn't sung live in about 20 years. At just £25, Pride was a must and Britney awkwardly mimed and robotically moved around the stage to all of her massive tunes including Womanizer, Toxic and Hit Me Baby One More Time.

September saw my first repeat of the year when I got to head down to Alma's Dr Marten's Boot Room set in Camden, which saw her play to a crowd of no more than 50 people. Alma ended up being my top artist of the year on Spotify Wrapped, and every time i've seen her live it makes sense as to how she ended up there. That following weekend we briefly caught her again when she supported Halsey at Eventim Apollo. I saw Halsey when she played her first ever London show a few years ago at the O2 Academy in Islington, and seeing the growth of the crowd and her musical production in general was somewhat emotional. Offering great vocals and impeccable stage presence, the New Jersey born singer was definitely one of the stand outs of my year.

© The 1975 @ Camden Assembly, London // JYDMRA
Just when I thought 2018 was going to be clear of The 1975, the Manchester quartet announced an intimate album release show at Banquet Record's New Slang night in Kingston. There was of course no way I was going to miss seeing my favourite band for the first time in a year and a half, but unfortunately the show itself ended up being nothing but disappointment for me. Fortunately it wasn't the bands wrongdoing, but the venue, staff and poor organisation made it impossible to see and enjoy the night. Luckily that was rectified when an extremely kind follower of mine offered me a ticket to their one off Camden Assembly show on 4th December. Previously known as the Barfly, The 1975 revisited where they played their first London headline show for 200 lucky Spotify listeners. I've been to intimate shows in the past, but nothing quite matched this. Playing new tracks and old favourites, Matty then ended the set with a completely acoustic version of Be My Mistake which stole all of our hearts (full live stream here).

I closed the year off with two shows at Brixton Academy, the first being an album in full show from You Me At Six. Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Take Off Your Colours, the band played the album in full to a sold out Brixton with fan favourites like Gossip, Save It For The Bedroom and The Rumour. While i'm not the biggest You Me At Six fan anymore, I am definitely always here for a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Later that week I finished the year with Deaf Havana, who have hands down released one of my favourite albums of the year. Playing tracks from Rituals and from their archives, James Veck-Gilodi's impeccable vocals filled the academy while 5,000 very proud fans looked on.

And that was my 2018! Next year is already shaping up nicely with five The 1975 shows and the Spice Girls booked, and an array of other shows i'm planning on...

What's been your favourite show this year? Did you go to any of these shows? Let me know in the comments!
© Image Source: Halsey, The Times

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