Part II – Live Band Rankings #20 – 11

Portugal. The Man, September 2014 (photo credit: Me)
Portugal. The Man, September 2014 (photo credit: Me)

Let’s keep this thing going shall we? Hope you’ve been entertained so far! On to the next batch of bands..

#20 Portugal. The Man @ Sound Academy September 9th 2014 (

These guys had my attention right from the get-go coming out to Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall Part 2. I was highly entertained by the number of 20-somethings trying to figure out what the hell they were listening to. Pretty basic set up for these guys, but overall a great show. I also dug their cover of Oasis as well, so extra points for that! Lead singer John Baldwin Gourley has such a unique voice that it’s great to hear it in a live setting.

#19 Wildlife @ The Phoenix December 4th 2014 (

These guys have a song you’ve probably heard in a bunch of commercials: “Lightning Tent”, Google it and you’ll know it. I had high expectations from these guys because I had been hooked on the album prior to the show and they didn’t disappoint. Pounding drums, singing in unison, and I even liked that they were all dressed in a bit of a band uniform. It was a high energy show, and even had floating sharks! They’re not for everyone, and do tend to fall into those typical “rock band” concert stereotypes so if they can continue to figure out their niche I think they’ll continue to be a great live band. But if they want to stand out they’re going to have to keep finding their original touches.

#18 Zerbin @ Opera House May 8th 2014 (

This was another CMW discovery. I hadn’t listened to these guys at all before the show, but both Robin & I left as fans. The whistling hook in “New Earth” will keep me as a fan for life. I cannot wait to hear what else these guys release, and hope to see them back in Toronto soon.

#17 The Head & The Heart @ Kool Haus March 30th 2014 (

Their album “Let’s Be Still” was one of my albums of the summer, and this concert really kicked off Spring 2014 for me. They stole my heart when they brought out Josiah’s local girlfriend (man I hope they are still together) and the lovebirds performed a duet together, complete with a kiss at the end. Honestly, one of the most romantic moments I’ve seen on a stage. Standout moments also include one of my favourites “Summertime”, and of course “Shake”.

#16 Kevin Drew @ Field Trip Day One June 7th 2014 (

Kevin Drew is my favourite frontman in music. He is the eternal performer and schmoozer. I love that he is this weird mix of hipster/philosopher/self-deprecator/singer/musician. One of my favourite moments was when he stopped midway through “You in Your Were” with Feist because he screwed something up. Yes he always screws up. And yes it’s probably an act by now, but I find it entertaining each & every time. And sitting in the June sunshine watching him perform on the “small stage” it was again entertaining to watch him try and get it right. “Frightening Lives” is one of my favourite songs and he didn’t disappoint this day either.  I just wish he had played “Backed out on the….”

#15 The Sadies with Gord Downie @ Field Trip Day Two June 8th 2014 (

You can’t go wrong with Gord Downie, and when you add in legendary indie band The Sadies it’s a match made in hipster heaven. The Sadies on their own are fantastic to see live, especially if you love down & dirty rock n roll. Adding another legend in Gord Downie just makes it mind blowing. As soon as their set ended I walked over to the merch tent and bought their album. I highly recommend you all do the same.

#14 Lord Huron @ Field Trip Day One June 7th 2014 (

I only knew their single “Time to Run” going into this show and since then I’ve become a big fan. They are a perfect mix of rock/folk/and even a bit of country. One of their strength is their harmonies. Some of the best I saw all year. The vocals are just so haunting at times and it really came across at Field Trip too. Their album Lonesome Dreams has been a steady favourite of mine since the show and it was the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon, listening to these guys showcase it live at Field Trip.

#13 Broods @ Drake Hotel – Underground May 7th 2014 (

This brother/sister duo were fantastic. Georgia Nott is ridiculously young but holds her own on stage as if she’s been doing this her entire life. They really impressed me, and I have to also say their full length album ranks as one of the Best of 2014. Normally electronic concerts can get boring quickly for me, but Broods held my attention. I was really happy I ventured out on my own to see these guys.

#12 Interpol @ Field Trip Day One June 7th 2014 (

My friend Sarah is a superfan of this band. She finds it upsetting more people don’t know this band. I knew a couple of their old singles like “Slow Hands” but that was it. However I was blown away. The song “Lights” had me hooked with the most insane light show of the year. We had tickets to their show at the Kool Haus this past November, you know – the one that they had to cancel because they got stuck in the Buffalo blizzard? I really hope the re-schedule because I would now have to agree with Sarah that more people need to see this band. They are such a tight unit on stage. They’re a band that don’t move around much, or engage with the audience, but there is still something about them that keeps you hooked. They were a great way to close out a fantastic day of sunshine and great music.

#11 Kings of Leon @ Molson Amphitheatre August 5th 2014 (!/)

Remember when I said emotion might come into play? Here’s the first instance of this on these rankings. This is a sentimental show for me as I went to this show with Sean right after he returned from being away for a month for work reasons. I wasn’t a big fan of KOL going into the show. My boyfriend is the bigger fan. But by the end of the night I, I found myself a huge fan of this band. I was impressed by their skill, the vocals, and even the stage set up on the small Molson Amp stage. I hadn’t been to the Amp in years and forgot what a great summer venue it is. I was surprised they performed “Supersoaker” so early (it was their opening song if I recall correctly), but it got the audience hooked. They also played a pretty long set too, which I appreciated. I love a good marathon show. This was just a fantastic rock show from end to end. Special shout-out to Alan, Moe & Scott at the Amp for helping make it a night to remember! (And I suppose to Natalie & Robin for also being part of it!)

Honourable Mention – Little City @ Silver Dollar Room August 15th 2014

So it happened… I forgot a band in my rankings. And I feel awful because I am a huge fan of the now splitsville indie band Little City. And sadly no one in this city outside a small group of people ever discovered them. They reunited for one glorious night this past summer and I thought they were fantastic. It was to celebrate their last EP release and they went out in style. I am sad that perhaps that was the last time I got to see them on stage. Now, here’s the question – where would they have ranked had I not forgotten them like the horrible person I am? I would probably put them between MS MR & Born Ruffians. It wasn’t the best performance I’ve seen of Little City, however, Little City at their peak would easily crack the Top 15. Going to miss you guys!

So who’s left? Top 10 revealed tomorrow… find out where I’ve ranked bands like Haim, Sam Roberts, and a few indie suprises!

Remember – if you are a random stranger and feel like chirping/discussing/whatever, feel free to hit me up in the comments, or on Twitter: @TeslaMay


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