Posted on Thursday 19th December 2019 at 16:30
As 2019 and the decade comes to an end, we take a look back at the past 12 months.
Massive Attack, Ed Sheeran and The National all played huge shows and Dot To Dot and Splendour Festival returned to huge receptions.
Relive the past year below.
Jimmy Eat World – Nottingham, Rock City (23/1)
Blowing away any gig cobwebs and well and truly shattering the January blues, emo icons Jimmy Eat World brought their phenomenal live show to Nottingham’s Rock City. A career spanning setlist featured a only a handful of their newest material – instead focusing on hits from Bleed American, Futures, Chase This Light and Clarity.
Referred to a “set that goes almost slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, showcasing both sides of their oeuvre,” they have always been a band to simultaneously stay true to their roots and continue to develop their sound and production effervescently.
Topped off with an encore of A Praise Chorus, Sweetness and The Middle, the Rock City show proved Jimmy Eat World’s musical prowess and confirmed their place as one of the most evergreen rock outfits of the 20th and 21st century.
An Evening With Brian Fallon – Newcastle, Wylam Brewery (5/2)
Delving into his solo releases, The Horrible Crowes and perhaps his most iconic work with The Gaslight Anthem, Brian Fallon’s ‘An Evening With…’ tour headed north for a show at Newcastle’s Wylam Brewery back in February.
In between musical renditions, Fallon would offer anecdotes about kidney stones and Netflix – he has always tried to incorporate music and conversation into his live performances and his ‘An Evening With…’ allowed him to develop this further and give the sold out Newcastle audience an insight into one of the greatest rock n roll minds of the past decade.
Brian Fallon returns to the UK next year – tickets are on sale here.
Massive Attack – Bristol, Steel Yard (1/3 & 2/3)
Performing their seminal LP, Mezzanine, across the world was never going to be enough for Massive Attack. Instead, they erected a specially designed hangar in Bristol for two huge, sold-out shows to celebrate the Mezzanine XXI tour. Del Naja called it “a one off personalized nostalgia nightmare head trip” and Adam Curtis visually depicting war, Britney Spears, the past two decades and impactful messages brandishing themes of deception, corruption and politics.
It was an impressive spectacle that saw Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil singer Elizabeth Fraser join them intermittently – most notably for the goose-bump inviting Teardrop. Tearing through their own material as well as reworking Ultravox, Avicii, Bauhaus and The Velvet Underground to name just 4 – Massive Attack could do anything and fans would lap it up, but they went above and beyond – from production to performance – to deliver one of the most memorable performances of the decade.
Fontaines D.C. – Brighton, The Haunt (18/4)
Rough Trade’s album of the year winners and rightly so, Fontaines D.C. exploded onto the live circuit earlier this year with a run of sold out UK dates. The Irish post-punk outfit have escalated into one of the most exciting live bands in the world and their show at Brighton’s The Haunt in April proved just that – blasting out fan favourites Roy’s Tune and Boys In The Better Land alongside the massively infectious Sha Sha Sha was reminiscent of both Joy Division and IDLES.
Now comfortably selling out bigger venues and drawing huge crowds to festival stages across the UK, Fontaines D.C. are tipped to continue their domination in 2020 and we can’t see this train slowing down any time soon. Posters were already up in April to highlight that a show at Concorde 2 was sold out should have been enough for people to believe the hype, but if you haven’t experience their raucous live show yet, be sure to put them on your 2020 wish list.
Dot To Dot Festival – Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham (24, 25, 26)
Crystal Fighters and Jordan Rakei topped the bill at this year’s Dot To Dot Festival and Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham celebrated emerging talent with hundreds of performances from upcoming artists. Offering a platform to showcase their demos, new singles and in some cases their reworked covers, Dot To Dot once again proved that it is one of the most important inner-city festivals in the UK.
Away from the headliners, The Night Café, Dream Wife and The Orielles featured on the line up alongside 2019 favourites Declan Welsh and the Decadent West, Bessie Turner and Phoebe Green.
Dot To Dot returns next year – tickets are on sale here.
P!NK – London, Wembley Stadium (30/6)
P!NK’s Beautiful Trauma Tour headed to London’s Wembley Stadium with two huge nights – performing a career spanning setlist, the Pennsylvania artist fittingly kicked things off with Get The Party started before rattling through the likes of Just Like a Pill, Who Knew, What About Us and even an acoustic cover of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time.
Spending plenty of the show attached to bungee ropes, P!NK’s performance is a spectacle in itself without the music, but her execution is second to none. Given the ‘Outstanding Contribution To Music Award’ at the 40th Brit Awards this year, P!NK was the first international artist to receive the accolade.
Now undoubtedly one of the greatest artists since the turn of the millennium, P!NK continues to be exciting, terrifying, emotionally charged and a dominant force when it comes to commanding a crowd.
Splendour – Wollaton Park, Nottingham (20/7)
Nottingham’s biggest festival returned to Wollaton Park in July and brought with it Manic Street Preachers, The Specials, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, All Saints, Ash and many other fantastic artists. Celebrating its 11th edition, Splendour is the highlight of summer in the East Midlands and with such high-profile bookings it is clear to see why.
Boasting some of the most iconic tracks from the past three decades, there was something for everyone this year and the thousands in attendance were in fine voice to complement the artists on stage.
Bringing together local, national and international artists, Splendour returns next year. Tickets are on sale here.
Ed Sheeran – Chantry Park, Ipswich and Roundhay Park, Leeds
Ed Sheeran’s two performances in Leeds and four in Ipswich rounded off his two year ‘Divide’ tour. Taking The Darkness, Passenger and Lewis Capaldi along for the ride, the singer-songwriter played favourites Bloodstream, Galway Girl, Sing and You Need Me… to over 275,000 fans across the six performances in August.
Now taking an 18 month ‘hiatus’ from performing live, Sheeran covered a staggering 14 legs and 255 shows between March 2017 and August 2019. Teasing that the final Ipswich show might be the last with his iconic ‘loop pedal,’ it will be interesting to see which direction he takes next.
Richard Thompson – London, Royal Albert Hall (30/9)
Guitar virtuoso, Richard Thompson’s show at London’s Royal Albert Hall saw him perform alongside everyone from Husker Du’s Bob Mould to folk icon Kate Rusby. Two sets spanning 34 songs greeted the sold out audience and arguably the most memorable performance of the night was the penultimate track – Fat Old Sun alongside Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour.
With a timeless passion for his craft, there was no suggestion that Thompson was celebrating his 70th birthday – and although a ‘one-off’ performance, Thompson’s energy, love for folk and generosity to share the spotlight with many other brilliant musicians could power an entire tour.
Guest performances as long as a festival line-up not only show how valued Thompson is within the music community, but how much they wish to be part of his celebrations.
Cher – Birmingham, Arena (26/10)
Cher’s ‘Here We Go Again’ tour descended on Birmingham for an evening of iconic hits and a carnival atmosphere. Walking In Memphis, If I Could Turn Back Time, an array of ABBA covers such as SOS, Waterloo and Fernando all came before a glorious rendition of the triple platinum ballad ‘Believe’ closed the show.
With video interludes in between, the 73 year-old songstress embarked on a world tour for the first time since the Living Proof tour between 2002 and 2005, but never once did her sound come across as dated or forced – instead, the show – and tour in general – proved that Cher’s voice is still as brilliant and relevant as it ever has been.
MIRRORS – London, Camden Venues (2/11)
MIRRORS’ maiden year in Camden brought the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, American Football, Turnover and more ambient alt-rock outfits to the UK. Performing across Roundhouse, Sackler Space, Torquil’s Bar, Dingwalls and Camden Assembly; the north-west London borough took over hosting duties from Hackney after successful editions in 2017, 2016 and 2015 that saw Pinegrove, Bat For Lashes and Rhye as previous headliners.
DIY declared “the atmosphere around the London borough is warm and embracing” and called MIRRORS 2019 “a grey afternoon full of indie and dream pop excellence.”
The National – Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena (10/12)
The final show of their UK leg and the penultimate European date of The National’s 2019 I Am Easy To Find tour was an onslaught of moody ballads, glittering duets with Eve Owen and Kate Stables and tequila fueled passion. Their 8th studio LP dropped back in May and had previously travelled across Europe and USA before reaching Nottingham, but there were no indications that they were already tired of performing tracks from it – pulling out 8 tracks including Quiet Light, Where Is Her Head, Oblivions and latest single Hey Rosey.
Intertwining a chunk of hits from Sleep Well Beast, Trouble Will Find Me and High Violets and hand-picking songs from Alligator, Boxer and the Cherry Tree EP built a well-rounded set that will next head to Australia and New Zealand. Growing their show – both in terms of sound and production – since their formation, they’ve finally reached arena status and rightly so.