Best Concerts of 2013

brockpapers best of 2

Life in Toronto can be pretty fucking awesome for music lovers, and this year was no different. Personally, when I started looking back at all the concerts I went to and blogged about this year, I couldn’t believe the amount of content that this year has brought and all the amazing photos I captured. I feel so lucky to have been able to go to so many concerts and see so many great artists perform. It was a tough job narrowing it down, but I managed to get my list of ‘Best’ concerts down to ten, here is my ‘Top 10’ of 2013 (and let me know what your’s were in the comments below):


Blue HawaiiThese two are a bunch of tricksters! I went to go see them when they played at NXNE this year expecting to listen to some lovely calming shoegaze. I ended up being in the middle of a full on rave! It was party central and a lot of fun, it’s cool to see their versatility and ability to change things up according to venue and the time of night they are performing at. Only bad part about this show was that my ears were ringing for almost two days afterwards. Watch my video of it all going down too! Don’t forget to wear your earplugs out kids!


Tilbury 2In 2012, I received their album while at Iceland Airwaves but didn’t get the chance to see them. This year, I made a point of catching them in concert. Tilbury performed in the old opera house in Reykjavík and it was almost like watching a full orchestra perform. I am rooting for these guys to create the score for a film in the future!


jesuslesfillesThis year during Canadian Music Week I kept my ass up late to make sure I got to catch Jesuslesfilles at The Silver Dollar. I meant to see them at Iceland Airwaves in 2012 but missed out, so I took advantage of them playing at CMW to go and catch this awesome band in action. They play awesome garage post-punk perfect for some late-night debauchery. They play pretty often in their hometown, Montréal, so if you’re in the hood look them up and check them out!


Ryan HemsworthSo, despite the fact that I was probably surrounded by many of the young peoples on the Molly this concert was a total blast. This year he came to Toronto to perform during NXNE (He actually mentioned during the concert that he would be moving to Toronto). Being unfamiliar with Ryan Hemsworth other than hearing his name everywhere, I didn’t know what to expect, but I had a sneaking suspicion I was in for a good time… I wasn’t wrong. This party left EVERYONE there drenched in sweat and feeling the same euphoric feelings as the aforementioned young peoples on the Molly.


Chloe Charles 5This year was a huge year for Chloe Charles, she came out with two awesome new music videos, had an amazing interview with Jian Ghomeshi, and travelled to new countries to perform her the new album, Break the Balance! At Canadian Music Week this year she performed amongst other awesome groups lead by women, such as: BOY, Groenland, and Sóley. She delivered a touching performance, dedicating the song So Far Away by Carole King to her father who passed away earlier this year. She brought tears to a touched crowd.


The Balconies 3The Balconies have been making waves recently and I was lucky enough to meet them and see them perform in my favourite home-away-from-home, Iceland! They performed a grueling 7 shows in 3 days that in turn lead to the lead singer, Jacquie losing her voice – A testament to how hard this band works for their fans. During Iceland Airwaves they managed to transform every single person they performed to into a hardcore fan – and that is unique and amazing.


Radiox2-9(1)I am not usually one to enjoy Hip Hop or Rap, much less go to a show, but believe it or not I did that twice this year, and one time was to see Radio Radio. Radio Radio is an Acadian Hip Hop group that does not come to Toronto very often but when they do the Francophones and Francophiles of Toronto rally together and come out to the show, rain or shine – or snow as was the case in this show! In true Acadian style they did not let a massive (by Toronto standards) snow storm get in the way of them and a show, they made it out The Garrison and put on a great show. The guys have an amazing sense of humour, their personality shines through language, English or French? You can still have a great time with these guys!


CSS 13With the release of La Planta this summer, CSS showed that they are capable of evolving their style of music while still maintaining their positive message… And creating some jams to relax and have fun to! The downside of their evolution, many North American fans have seemed to have left them behind, yearning for tunes that are more like their 2006 party song Let’s Make Love And Listen to Death From Above (1979). Well to that I say, “That’s your problem!” because thanks to those fans, I got to see a personal, fun, and intimate show at The Virgin Mobile MOD Club late this summer! The girls chatted with the crowd between songs and dedicated certain songs to specific people in the crowd. It was a good time!


Dirty Beaches 1Every time I’ve seen Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches) in concert, I see an evolution of an artist. Every time is a little bit different from the last, and this show was no exception. Starting off as a one-man show, just him, his guitar, and an amp, Alex has changed to bring on different, changing band members, and even creating his own instruments out of tape, wires, and a sheet of metal. He came to Toronto in early September and I knew this was a show I couldn’t miss. The air was humid and dense, and made a perfect setting for the sound waves to disperse evenly through the room in every direction, it felt like the room was drenched in sound… And sweat too!


Zola Jesus 9What else can I say about Zola Jesus? This year I got to see her perform in Reykjavik for Iceland Airwaves, this being the 3rd country I’ve seen her in and the 5th or 6th time I have seen her in concert. Her powerful vocals, chilling lyrics, and mystical melodies keep me coming back – also she comes out with an album just about every other week! She performed bare-foot in the beautiful former Opera House, Gamla Bíó to a packed and excited crowd. As always, Nika Danilova came down from the huge stage (with help from the crowd) to interact more with her loving fans – while still bare-foot btw! She went up to fans and held there hands while singing to them, jumped up on seats to perform to people in the back, it was an exciting and breathtaking show, the highlight of my time in Iceland and the highlight of 2013. This is why Zola Jesus is my #1 concert of 2013!


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