Live Band Rankings 2015! Part One: 40 – 20

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Tis the season! Another year of concerts has come and gone, and it’s the post you’ve all been waiting for!

For those of you who only read my anxiety ramblings, this is my yearly ranking of each and every band I saw live in concert this year. Who exceeded my expectations? Who bombed? And who was just MEH…. LET’S FIND OUT!

NEW THIS YEAR: Have no idea who some of these bands are? Want to hear some tunes? Check out my Spotify playlist where you’ll find each and every artist featured here!! (Except Taylor Swift… her stuff isn’t on there).

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40. Milky Chance (Day Two, Osheaga, August 1 2015)

I was the only person in 2015 who hated their song “Stolen Dance” and Osheaga proved this because I was literally the only person in a sea of thousands of people who looked miserable. Hearing it live did not alter my opinion.

39. Young the Giant (Day Two Osheaga, August 2015)

Sean & I saw these guys last year open for Kings of Leon, and I don’t know what it was, but their set list just didn’t jive with me. They’re not a bad live group, but they were really overshadowed by many others that weekend.

38. Rah Rah (Mod Club, November 2015)

I have to say I was really looking forward to checking these guys out, as they have an impressive touring resume. However, and this partly isn’t a fault of theirs, but the sound at the Mob Club that night really prevented me from enjoying them. A lot of their vocals sounded distorted, and quite frankly, I was a little underwhelmed.

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Rah Rah @ The Mod Club

37. Guster (Day One Osheaga, July 2015)

Honestly, I didn’t hate this group, but there wasn’t much particularly memorable about them as the year went on. I did enjoy, though, getting to sit in the grass, under a tree, and chill out to their tunes. It’s too bad I couldn’t rank them higher – but this year is a tough list! (Sorry John and Val!)

36. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (Day Three Osheaga, August 2015)

I know. I thought I’d be ranking these guys in my Top 15. But honestly, I really didn’t like their set. Up until they brought up a wheelchair-bound fan and his buddies, I was bored and thought they sounded awful. The only saving grace was the aforementioned gesture. Also, they didn’t just bring him on stage – he CROWDSURFED to the front. It was pretty cool, and the band were awesome with their guests.

35. Catfish and the Bottleman (Day One Osheaga, July 2015)

Again, like Guster – these guys aren’t bad! They just didn’t blow me away. They also, unfortunately, were the first band of the weekend for me so by the end of it all, they were lost in the haze of it all.

34. Ryn Weaver (Day Three Osheaga, August 2015)

This chick has pipes, and she is going to continue to grow as a live artist. She’s only ranked so low because I feel she has a lot of room to improve. The next time I see her, I expect she’ll be even better. Check out her debut album if you can. It’s a great pop album.

33. Iron & Wine (Day One Osheaga, July 2015)

I feel like I am cheating a little putting them on my list, as I mainly listened to them while I stood in line for the washrooms, and then a drink. BUT, they did sound fantastic. I just wish I had been able to sit on the hill, and actually enjoy my drink while listening to them. Rather than desperately waiting for a port-a-potty.

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Chillin’ at the “Tree Stage” for Guster

32. James Bay (Day Three, Osheaga August 2015)

So we learned at Osheaga that James Bay is the dream boat of indie rock, because the ladies FLOODED to the stage for his set. Sean & Will napped a lot through this set, thankfully I was able to take some of it in. I hope to catch him again so I can have a better judge of him though.

31. Grace Potter (Day One Osheaga, July 2015)

I really liked this girl! She’s a real throwback to the great female vocalists of the 70s & 80s. I loved her energy, and really enjoyed her set overall and hope to see her again.

30. X Ambassadors (Day Three Osheaga, August 2015)

Were they overplayed this summer? Yes. Was their set bad? Ehh…. I found their song choices a little odd. They have a limited catalogue but I thought they picked a lot of their slower songs, versus some of the great rock songs they have. Overall, a little disappointing.

29. Weezer (Day Two Osheaga, August 2015)

I found Weezer to be such a random addition to Osheaga but it was a lot of fun hearing some of their classics. It was especially cute when Rivers’ kids came out on stage with him.

28. The New Pornographers (Danforth Music Hall, February 2015)

The long-time darlings of Canadian indie rock. They’re a well oiled live music machine. I struggled the most with them as far as where to rank them. They’re a really great band live, and sound fantastic, but I feel it lacked an overall charm or charisma with the audience.

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The New Pornographers 

27. Vance Joy (Rogers Centre, October 2015)

He was the second of two openers prior to Taylor Swift hitting the stage, and I found him to be such an odd pairing considering her audience. BUT it was a win for myself & Val because I was really looking forward to hearing him live. He has a great charm in concert, and I really wish I could have seen him in a better venue. His style doesn’t suit the poor acoustics of the Dome. But I felt he did a great job overcoming that, and I don’t care if everyone hates it by now – I still love “Rip Tide”

26. Kendrick Lamar (Day Two Osheaga, August 2015)

This was such a bizarre scene. Thousands upon thousands of chicks just absolutely going nuts for Kendrick Lamar and rapping along with him. I had to stand on a picnic table to see over the huge crowd! He’s a great showman, and as much as I am famous for hating rappers live, I really liked Kendrick. You can see why he’s so beloved, and why 2015 has been his year.

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Looking behind me, during Kendrick Lamar

25. The War on Drugs (Day Three Osheaga, August 2015)

Their 2014 album has been on steady play for me. I had high hopes for these guys. While their set wasn’t bad, it never had that WOW moment like a lot of other bands usually do for me. However, that isn’t to say they aren’t great musicians or that the singing sounded bad. I just feel their overall performance lacked a little charisma.

24. St. Vincent (Day Two Osheaga, August 2015)

The first few times I listened to her album, I wasn’t all that impressed and quickly moved on. However, she was an outstanding performer and it gave me a whole new appreciation for her sound. Sean also developed a small crush on her, so it’s been fun bugging him about it.

23. Hey Rosetta (Danforth Music Hall, February 2015)

I loved Hey Rosetta! They were one of my surprises of the year, and I’ve nearly worn out my copy of their latest album. They were fantastic live, and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for some new music – especially if you’re into the folk/indie rock mix.

22. George Ezra (Day One Osheaga, July 2015)

If you don’t own his debut album, you’re missing out. His set was one of my favourites from Osheaga. It was so much fun, being out in the sun, and just dancing along to a lot of his songs. He is still so young, and still figuring out who he wants to be on stage, but it’s going to be exciting to see him progress.

21. Dear Rouge (Mod Club, November 2015)

One of my top 10 bands from last year – the only reason they’ve been bumped down this year is quite simply because this was a jam packed year. Also, again, I really found that something was wrong with the speakers at the Mod Club, which took down my enjoyment. But it’s so awesome to see this band playing to larger crowds, as they really are one of the best new bands this country has to offer.

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Somewhere in there is your #20 

20. Taylor Swift (Rogers Centre, October 2015)

My first time attending a big-time pop concert. First things first – I do not like seeing shows at the Rogers Centre. It’s too big, and I think the sound quality needs a lot of work. BUT, it was pretty awesome to see everyone wearing their light-up bracelets, dancing along to Tay-Tay’s hits. My biggest critique is that I didn’t hear as many of her older songs as I would have liked. But, since I do love her latest album, it was great to hear most of the songs live. I appreciate that she sings live also. I do miss watching her also perform instruments (I worked her show at the ACC years ago, prior to all the dancing and glamour). BUT come on, you can’t beat hearing “Shake It Off” live! Val & I had a blast, even if it took about three hours to get home thanks to the traffic jam afterwards.

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OK so who made Top 20?! Who’s Number One?! Only my excel spreadsheet knows!! Stay tuned – in the coming days for the remaining artists – including Sam Roberts, Tame Impala, Florence + The Machine, The Darkness, Stars, Ben Harper, and SO MANY MORE.

Again, if you want to take a listen – check out the Spotify playlist I made featuring every band on this list!

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