SCAN’s live music highlights of 2017


Our writers attended many concerts in 2017, some of these shows were disappointing, but others made us feel unstoppable. Here’s a list of the best shows we saw last year and what made them so great…

Father John Misty @ O2 Apollo, Manchester (chosen by Music Editor Conor Giblin)

“I’ve wanted to see Father John Misty in concert for a few years now and I am *so* glad that I finally did. For someone who acts like a bit of a comedian, this show was surprisingly emotional and sincere. His voice is pristine and just gorgeous and he sang about a diverse range of topics, from the romantic to the political. It was such an emotional rollercoaster, constantly flitting between slow jams and being a full-on rock god, Josh Tillman proved himself to be an incredibly multi-talented musician. He left me completely in awe, gave me goosebumps throughout the show and even made my eyes water. I’ll never forget that gig.”


Kobosil (DJ Set) @ NDSM Warehouse, Amsterdam (chosen by Screen Editor Dan Power)

“Imagine a wall of noise so loud you can feel it in your brain. Imagine a warehouse full of people raving in total darkness. Now imagine sudden flashes of blood-red light on a screen, silhouetting the DJ. Everything about this set demands attention, and once he has yours, Kobosil does not let go. After enough time you adjust. The abrasiveness of the sound subsides. Swirling mids and unutterably filthy basslines emerge from the ether. You try moving to the beat and find that the beat is already moving you. You are not in control. You surrender entirely. And you’re loving it.”


One Love Manchester @ Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester (chosen by Izzy Tomkins)

“Without a shadow of doubt, One Love Manchester was not only my concert of the year, but my concert of a lifetime. I can’t put into words how incredible it was to be there in aid of the victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester this year. People just like you and I, who love music and having a good time with friends, lost their lives so unfortunately, and although I was terrified to go, this concert completely changed my mindset. We show no fear, we stand together, we don’t look back in anger, music unites us. Ariana Grande demonstrated to the world what a powerful, brave, young woman she is by bringing together artists from around the world to create an evening of music that was also streamed worldwide, united for an evening of pure love. I don’t think a moment could top this one!”


Jagwar Ma @ Lancaster Library (chosen by Carolynne Online Editor Toby Cooke)

“I have never witnessed energy being brought to a room in such a way that Jagwar Ma did to the humble Lancaster Library crowd back in March. Having only heard their singles prior to the gig, I did not know what to expect from their live presence. However, they really are masters of their instruments and lead singer Gabriel Winterfield carries himself with envious amounts of swagger and charisma. The first half began as a solid performance where they effortlessly flew through their rockier, more quirky material. It wasn’t until the second half though where it hit “best of 2017” worthy. I certainly didn’t expect the room to be transformed into an indie-house rave. I think it helped that I was in the front row, as I was fully absorbed by the bass through their more eclectic, dancey selection of tunes like “Slipping” and “Four”. This was an unforgettably electric gig, that the usually absent Lancaster music scene was very lucky to host.”


Bon Iver @ Empress Ballroom, Blackpool Winter Gardens (chosen by Ruth Walbank)

“While it is by no means my favourite venue, Bon Iver at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool was an outstanding gig. Touring their latest album ’22, A Million’ is a step away from the band’s early works, no longer the beautiful yet simple acoustic sound but instead a more complex layering of electronic samples, unconventional song structures and their signature, outstanding vocal harmonies. Their opening song ’22 (Over Soon)’ perfectly encapsulates the bands calming yet quirky sound. Despite this, they did play some of their older classics, such as ‘Skinny Love’ which was as outstanding as the original song itself.”


Sundara Karma @ Albert Hall, Manchester (chosen by Deputy Music Editor Matt Hitchinson)

“Tickets to this show was undoubtedly the best of my birthday presents! Not only had I been listening to Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect (Sundara Karma’s debut album) on repeat since its release, but I’m also a massive fan of both of the support bands, The Night Café and Blaenavon – so this was always going to be a great night for me. The venue was perfect in my opinion, I’d never been before, but it matched each band brilliantly. As a converted church it felt at home being filled with the relaxed sound of The Night Café, the almost hymnal gloom of Blaenavon and the rapturous power of Sundara Karma all at the same time.”


Kate Nash @ O2 Ritz Manchester (chosen by Head of Photography Sian Howells)

“By far out of all the live performances I saw in 2017, Kate Nash’s 10 year anniversary tour for her ‘Made Of Bricks’ album was out of this world. This was one of the first albums I ever bought, and so seeing this live was something I never thought I’d be able to do. The album itself is one of my all-time faves; Nash’s quirky, cockney writing style and her candid vocals to match are purely faultless. Staging for the gig was somewhat magical, with clouds, a moon, and floral décor surrounding the instruments – second to none artistry to align with her personality-filled songs. With a series of outfit changes, Nash certainly did not fail to impress in terms of extravagancy and sparkle in costume design. All of this collaborated perfectly for the fabrication of her decade-old album, causing complete chaos for audience members; all of us singing our hearts out to songs we thought we’d never hear outside of studio recordings. A masterpiece both lyrically and melodically, and a night I will never forget.”

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