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My Best Live Music Moments Of 2021

best live music moments of 2021
The Rolling Stones, undoubtedly one of the best live music moments of 2021

2021 has been another tough year for performers and concertgoers. At the end of this year, we are almost back to square one with a lot of small venues shutting down for the end of the year (Zebulon, the Echo, Permanent Records, the Goldfish…) and major events going once again virtual (like Grand Park’s NYE celebration) because of a new surge of the mighty virus. The new variant Omicron now represents 73% of the new US cases, and it’s too early to know if it is a less or more virulent strain. We just know it spreads like fire.

I am nevertheless very grateful to have attended so many shows despite the COVID threat. Summer and fall haven’t been so bad. Here are the best live music moments of 2021, all concentrated around April and December…

The Rose Fest At Oak Canyon Park, in April, was the first event I attended in person, and it was a major event, a real outdoor festival in a park far away from the city

The 10th Anniversary Of BadassbandsLA At Harvard & Stone with Jagged Baptist Club in June was also a sort of return to normal, almost too sudden, I couldn’t believe it since it was indoor. I could say the same of four other shows in June and July, in two intimate venues: Egg Drop Soup/Broken Baby 7″ Split Release Party At El Cid, Not A Friend, Young Winona And Jagged Baptist Club At El Cid, Mad About the Boy, Speed Of Light, DinoKale, Captured! By Robots At El Cid, and Leon Knight, King Of Rock & Roll At Harvard & Stone. They brought a lot of much-needed joy and fun, and for a while, El Cid and Harvard & Stone were the only functional venues, the rest was more or less dead.

Then I ventured to larger venues: King Woman At The Lodge Room, late July was a memorable moment of intense doom metal, while Surfbort At The Lodge Room, in August, was my first punk rock show since the beginning of the pandemic.

Caroline Polachek At The Greek Theater, in August, and St Vincent At The Hollywood Bowl, in September, were certainly two highlights of my summer, along with Sparks At Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in August.

I would not forget to mention Lethal Amounts Showcase At Levitt Pavilion With N8NOFACE, Riki, And Boan, in August,  Gogol Bordello At The Wiltern Theater, and The Black Lips At The Echo, in September, as well as Madison Cunningham And S.G. Goodman At The Lodge RoomUPSAHL’s ‘Lady Jesus’ Release Party At Pico-UnionJoachim Cooder With Ry Cooder At Gandara Park, and Gypsum At Zebulon Cafe, in October.

Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, and The Bronx At The Shrine in October was a big scale event, but more importantly, I managed to see The Rolling Stones At SoFi Stadium, in October in the middle of a pandemic.

Among the highlights of this year, I would not forget IDLES At The Fonda TheatreYves Tumor At The Fonda Theatre, and METZ And Preoccupations At The Teragram Ballroom, in November.

At the end of November, I also managed to attend a 3-day event, the Substance Festival At The Belasco, on Friday, November 26th,  Saturday, November 27th, and Sunday, November 28th.

In December, I saw The Record Company At The Teragram Ballroom, and the XXX-Mas Party With Plague Vendor At The Echo may well be my last concert of the year.

It was not too bad for a pandemic year. Things are not looking good right now but people are very hopeful for next year. Otherwise, they would not have announced all these festivals for 2022: Cruel World, Just like Heaven, This Ain’t No Picnic, Primavera Sound L.A. In the dark of the winter pandemic, this sounds crazy, but we will see the light at the end of this COVID tunnel.

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