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My Ten Best Concerts Of 2013

QOTSA’s Josh Homme



2013 has been another great year for concerts, and since we are at this time of the year, here are the best ones of 2013:

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Henry Fonda theater on February 21st: an amazing experience, especially because I was in the front, and shook Nick Cave’s hand the following day at Amoeba! He was everything I expected and more, charismatic, ten feet tall and commanding the crowd like no one else. They played ‘Push The Sky Away’ in order, with a children choir and I don’t know what was the highlight of the night… ‘Higgs Boson Blues’ was dark and chilling, ‘Stagger Lee’ was red and menacing.  It was already a long time ago, but I still have some vivid imagery of this concert imprinted in my brain.

Fidlar at Artopia (Chinatown) on May 16th: It was almost summer and probably one of the craziest concerts I have attended… Where the hell was the security?? I have no idea but it was a lot of fun and damn dangerous at the same time. Chaos and mayhem were reigning the whole time, I climbed on stage because it felt safer up there, but I fell down, carried away but some stage diver! People got so excited and totally out of control, jumping, stage diving, crowd surfing, everything was moving and shaking dangerously. But FIDLAR managed to play most of their joyful punk anthems and everybody was happy and bloody.

Queens Of The Stone Age at the Wiltern theater on May 23rd: I had the chance to see them twice this year, and I could have seen them even more, they played so many shows!! The second time was a bit different since I got to see them at the Jimmy Kimmel Live on July 29th, and managed to bump (almost) into Josh Homme’s giant body when exiting the green room. But seriously, these guys have a mega-monster sound, they blow up the roof even when there’s none (Kimmel Live is outside), they produce a sonic rollercoaster and give you the high of your life every time. Last weekend, they were playing at the annual KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas, I watched a bit of it online, and the only problem was that they weren’t headlining the show! Kings of Leon were,… I am still laughing.

Portugal the Man at the Wiltern theater on July 12th: Another fantastic show, so colorful, moving, uplifting and just like QOTSA, they projected some great and inventive artwork on the screen behind them. They have a special connection with their fans, it was a genuine love fest and their poppy hooks are very powerful played live with multi-layers of sweetness,… ‘Sleep Forever’ effortlessly melted into ‘Hey Jude’ at the end of their set and the whole thing sounded just like a giant musical red heart drawn over our heads.

FYF Fest on August 24 and 25: This wasn’t a concert, but 100 concerts at once. Of course, it’s too much and totally exhausting like any festival, but once a year, I am excited about it. Highlights of this 2013 FYF fest: Probably My Bloody Valentine who blew up the sound system a few times, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio. But I would like to see these bands again, in a less crowded environment, without having to run to another stage before the end of their sets.

Paul McCartney on September 23rd on Jimmy Kimmel Live (again): I got so lucky with this one, obviously tons of people wanted to go and I even got a VIP ticket! They had closed Hollywood Boulevard since it was a huge event and I saw Paul very very close. He was exactly as I expected (I had never seen him live shamefully), he was very nice and enquiring how everyone was doing, he was playful and joking a lot, he was a total crowd pleaser and singing all the Beatles greatest hits! The crowd, going from 7 to 77 (almost no exaggeration) looked so spoiled,… think about it, being front row at a free Paul McCartney concert in the middle of Hollywood, I pinched myself a few times… But it was real.

Youth Lagoon at the First Unitarian Church on October 4th: Trevor Powers is still my best kept secret, he doesn’t fill up arenas yet, but he will or there is no justice (which is highly possible)! His sound is totally unique, his melodies are so pastoral, luminous and circus-ambiance-like at the same time, and his lyrics are so death-obsessed, that his show could be a musical piece entitled death and the young guy.

Gogol bordello at The Henry Fonda theater on October 9th: What can I say I haven’t before? I have seen Eugene Hütz and his band many times and they have never disappointed me. The energy is spectacular, and these gypsy punks sure know how to put a party on, Hütz is undestructible as he claims in his song, and the large ensemble wraps their audience into a passionate musical revolution, plus they may invite you at their after-show party, but this is another story.

The Flaming Lips at the Greek theater, on October 29th: I have a long history with the Lips, and they are one of these special bands I can’t miss when they are in town… That night at the Greek was very cold (in Los Angeles standards) and Wayne Coyne, covered in blood in his Carrie-after-the-fall-of-the-blood-bucket Halloween costume, was probably freezing to death, but the band gave a spectacular show anyway, with red-gold balloons and confetti, and Wayne Coyne sliding on the fake blood while climbing on a weird monticule of metal balls and coils of pulsating rope lights. The usual Lips’ weirdness, with a stronger sense of the apocalypse to come.

Cat Power at the El Rey theater on December 2nd: This show would probably not be on many best of the year lists, but if you know Chan Marshall you will get it. She is a total weirdo, unconfident and totally unpredictable, doing whatever she wants on stage, even lightning a few cigarettes, but singing these devastating songs with her haunting voice. What can I say, I love her.

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