From the widespread mania of the biggest festivals to the intimacy of the smallest venues; nothing quite compares to the atmosphere of live music. 2016 has been no exception to this rule, and we here at Frequency 21 have been lucky enough to be a part of some of the greatest live music experiences this year. Here is a selection of what we’ve been spending our hard earned time and money on over the past year:
Biffy Clyro: London O2 Arena, Thursday 8th December
Off the back of their seventh studio album Ellipsis, Biffy Clyro smashed a huge UK arena tour, ending with this massive date at the O2 Arena in London. With a hit-packed set of over two hours and twenty tracks, Biffy further cemented their presence as one of the forefront bands on the UK rock scene right now. Longhaired, tattooed, topless and drenched in sweat, Simon Neil certainly fits the mould of the modern rock star and his energy on stage from start to finish is incomparable. Ranging from heavy mosh-inducing rock such as In The Name of The Wee Man and That Golden Rule to acoustic tearjerkers, Machines and Medicine, the gig is a showcase of musical talent brimming with all that is good about modern rock music. With a great new album to boot, Biffy Clyro hit all the right notes in 2016, this show being a major highlight.
Glass Caves: St Thomas Church Lancaster, Friday 2nd December
Finally bringing great live indie rock music back to Lancaster, Glass Caves treated us all in the serene setting of St Thomas Church. Complete with pews to the left and right, a carpeted floor and stain glassed windows, the venue couldn’t have been any more unique, further adding to the entertainment on offer on the night. Sharing jokes with the crowd about t-shirts and haircuts, Glass Caves possess an infectious personality to go along with their catchy beats and melodies. As lead singer Matt Hallas takes us through new songs and old such as Be Together and new single Do You Have a Name? it is clear that Glass Caves have the ability to achieve the utmost success. Their show at St Thomas Church was a true highlight of the year in its one-off nature, as indie rock and a holy setting came together to provide the most unexpected match up of the year.
The National: Latitude Festival, Saturday 16th July
Nestled in the beautiful surroundings of Henham Park in Suffolk, Latitude Festival is somewhat of a hidden gem when it comes to the UK festival scene. With a capacity of 35,000, Latitude sits between the small and large festival categories, portraying itself as unashamedly creative and indie. The major highlight of the weekend came on the Saturday night, as Ohio-based indie rock outfit The National made Latitude history as the first ever-returning headliner. Frontman Matt Berninger strolls along the stage, his deep baritone voice mixed in with emotional lyrics and exceptional musicianship from the Dessner and Devendorf brothers.
Surprising the crowd with the introduction of Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry for single I Need My Girl draws a reaction as rousing as the performance deserves, the festival fans lapping it up. Ending with an acoustic rendition of fan favourite Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks, The National’s set at Latitude Festival was a true summer highlight on a sunny weekend in the heart of East Anglia. Some might say that festival crowds are less passionate than those at intimate gig venues, but those down at the front for this incredible show certainly didn’t get that memo.
MADE Birmingham, Saturday 30th July
MADE is one of the biggest inner city festivals, boasting 5 stages and a host of acts from Grime superstar Stormzy to Drum and Bass Royalty, Andy C; MADE was the place to be for some true midlands sun this summer. MADE was in fact our first festival appearance as a full force magazine and it couldn’t have been any better. Sitting down and interviewing the likes of Troyboi and Star.One as well as seeing the likes of Kano, Stormzy, Lady Leshurr, Rudimental, Mike Skinner, Monki and Maduk. MADE is slowly making itself one of the biggest one-day festivals in the UK and from what 2016 had to offer, we are convinced 2017 will only be bigger and better.
JMSN: Hare & Hounds, Birmingham, Tuesday 1st November
JMSN made it into our top albums and singles of the year and our experience with the singer did not simply stop at his recorded products, seeing JMSN live in a small and intimate venue was one of the most special experiences of 2016. With only his drummer and bassist, JMSN vibed out for over an hour and a half to some of his biggest songs like Hypnotized and Fuck U. With a cheap bar and only the biggest of fans in attendance, the swaying and singing did not take long to commence at all. £5 tickets meant the gig was accessible to many, especially when set in such a beautiful little pub in the middle of Kings Heath, South Birmingham.
JMSN hit various spots whilst in the UK including Manchester and London where he was met with a similar reception of lively fans ready to sing along to everything he had to give. It is still surprising JMSN is touring such small and intimate venues, but in reality, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Music gigs and festivals seem to be the beating pulse of our love and our work, something we do not take for granted. With 2017 set to be an even bigger year than last in all aspects, expect more festival and gig coverage from around the world on Frequency 21. We know everyone can’t get to see their favourite musicians, but vicariously, we will try to bring that experience to you.
Let us know what your favourite gigs and festivals have been this year.
Check out the highlights of MADE 2016 below.
Credit: House of Coco