2013 was a year where I went to “several” shows in several cities. I saw over 100 bands this year, mostly local bands. This is the most live music I have ever gone to in a single year. In the past I primarily caught Rush on tour whenever they released an album, but I’d have to say it wasn’t until I discovered the band Metric a few years ago before I started wanting to catch more bands, especially at smaller shows, and when I discovered the band Queen Caveat in 2011 that I really started going to a lot of shows, particularly the high energy and close performances of smaller venues (and cheaper prices). I’m compiling a list of all the shows I attended this year and a commentary (further below) on what I thought were the best this year. I saw LOTS of great bands and am amazed at them all!
Overall Shows List
2/28 Nico Vega, Imagine Dragons, Atlas Genius (Indianapolis)
3/2 Stellar Corpses, The HANIS Project, Crow Cannons (Terre Haute)
4/5 Pale Horse, Crow Cannons (Terre Haute)
4/6 Smacking Madison, Starskream, Daddy Long Legs, Nation Xero, Backseat Chronicles, Justin Depola Band, Killshot (Philadelphia)
4/10 The Presidents Of The USA, Eternal Summers, You Scream I Scream (Philadelphia)
4/23 ARIA, I Do Declare, The Beautiful Display, The Wake, Aaron Norris, Friend (Terre Haute)
5/7 Evil Beaver, Rollo Tomasi, The Cut-Outs (Chicago)
5/11 Barb Wire Dolls, Dehydrated Vomit, The Gitmos (Indianapolis)
5/24 Barb Wire Dolls, Dumbell, Misunderstood, Feathered Serpent, SWARM (Dayton)
6/19 Goddam Gallows, Crow Cannons, Moonshine Junction, St. Christopher (Terre Haute)
6/24 Misunderstood, On My Honor, Good Luck Varsity (Indianapolis)
7/20 Crow Cannons, Nativemind (Terre Haute)
7/27 Misunderstood, Murnane Tribe, A Shade Of Red, Graphic Violence (Indianapolis)
8/2-8/4 Lollapalooza (Chicago): Drowners, IO Echo, Deap Vally, Brick + Mortar, Crystal Castles, Imagine Dragons, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, The Bright Light Social Hour, Beast Patrol, Charles Bradley, Ellie Goulding, Heartless Bastards, Blondfire, HAIM, The Postal Service, Guards, The Orwells, Astro, Wild Nothing, MS MR, Tegan and Sara, Grizzly Bear, The Cure
8/8 Nico Vega, Crash Kings, Bullet Called Life (Chicago)
8/17 Shad Vanatti, Stevie Tombstone (Terre Haute)
8/28 Moonshine Junction, Saint Christopher, Jayke Orvis and The Broken Band (Terre Haute)
8/31 Outlaws and Moonshine, Captain Blood, A Shade Of Red, Murnane Tribe (Indianapolis)
9/27 Mullet Over, Papa J. Otis, Diesel, Crow Cannons (Terre Haute)
9/28 Ten Strip, From These Ruins, Swag, The Hanis Project, Pale Horse, Butcher’s Holler, Brandon Scioto, Bro Ken, Kelly Frost, Jacob McCollough, 180 Movement (Terre Haute)
10/12 Lou Shields, Toe Knee Tea, Shad Vanatti (Terre Haute)
10/26 Crow’s Holler, Lilith On Top, The Hanis Project (Terre Haute)
10/31 Pale Horse Named Death, Ghouls, Butcher Babies, Danzig w/ Doyle (San Francisco)
11/22 Shad Vanatti, Micheal Mutts (Terre Haute)
11/23 Kelly Frost, Shad Vanatti, Austin Lucas (Terre Haute)
12/14 Hailee Venatti & Kayla Burkitt, Shad Venatti, Gus Moon (Terre Haute)
12/20 Moonshine Junction (Terre Haute)
Top Rated Bands Shows
- The Cure (at Lollapalooza, Chicago): I waited nearly 26 years to see these guys live, I staked out a spot all day to make sure I was near the front. It was very emotional when they took the stage. Women in the audience were crying during Pictures Of You. It was a long hot day leading up. This was probably the shortest set they’ve done in a while as they were limited to just two hours.
- Barb Wire Dolls (Indianapolis and Dayton): Mariah and I went to the Melody Inn in Indianapolis to catch Barb Wire Dolls for Punk Rock Night. This is the most lively, energetic show I have ever been to. I was sore the next day from the moshing. We were so impressed, we drove to Dayton, OH (about 4 hours) to catch them live again at Blind Bob’s a few days later on their last U.S. date of 2013.
- Nation Xero (Philadelphia): I saw this band among six others at the Trocadero the first night I was in Philly this past Spring. I was so blown away by the energy and performance of this band. This show featured a guest performance Reggie who blew herself up in a glitter filled balloon and popped it, followed it up with walking on broken glass wearing patriotic themed red, white and blue bikini during “Wild American Rose”. Another song “A Puncher’s Chance” featured Tommy Tobino on a boxing speed bag. Totally amazing. One thing I also remember was about two songs into the set, a guy in the audience passed out and landed on his head; it was so loud you could hear it even over the music. This band puts on an energetic show. Johnny Xero plays blistering guitar and has the stage front-manship of David Lee Roth or Gene Simmons. Sam McKee on drums looking like he’s about to explode right into the audience. If you are on the East Coast area, definitely make it a point to catch this band.
- Imagine Dragons (Indianapolis): Saw these guys for the first time touring with AWOL Nation in the Fall of 2012 and also caught part of their set at Lollapalooza (before they lost power), but when they came to Indianapolis a second time, this time with Nico Vega and Atlas Genius, they got to put on an entire 90+ minute set. The place was absolutely packed compared to just 3 months earlier and what an outstanding performance and atmosphere.
- The Presidents Of The United States Of America (Philadelphia): I accidentally went to the wrong venue at first to see these guys. I had already paid $25 to get in to the wrong venue. By the time I realized I was in the wrong place, I only had 15 minutes before the show at the right place. I left the place, which wouldn’t give me a refund, and ran in pouring down rain and got there just in time for the first band to take the stage. The Presidents Of The USA had been touring the East Coast and were featuring their debut album in its entirety. I listened to this album so much in the early ’90s and still managed to remember most of the words. But these guys put on an amazing show! The crowd was absolutely nuts.
- Nico Vega (Chicago): Saw these guys twice this year, once in February and once in August. Mariah and I drove up to Chicago just a few days after getting home from Lollapalooza, so we were still kinda in recovery mode. They had some great bands open up for them, but the show Nico Vega put on was highly energetic. This is the third time we had seen them, but this was the best one yet. We got to meet the band afterward which was a huge bonus. We drove back to Terre Haute and got back in town at 6:15 a.m., long enough for me to take a one hour power nap before going on in to work.
- Evil Beaver (Chicago): Saw Evil Beaver in Chicago in May. Had some good local bands open up. For a duo, this band makes a lot of noise with just bass and drums and just goes non-stop. Evie makes some serious music on her bass. I had never seen anyone besides Death From Above 1979 who put the bass at the forefront so well. Got to meet Evie and Slammin’ Sammie after the show.
- The Bright Light Social Hour (Lollapalooza Chicago): This was about as good a show as I could have expected from this amazing live band. I had seen some of their footage prior to going to Lollapalooza and was so excited to see them. Definitely walked away from their set with that feeling of “Holy Shit!” I totally got sun burnt waiting for them to play as they were the first band of the day. I was in the front row with a few other die hards. Love the diversity of the music and really love the old-style Traffic/Deep Purple/Uriah Heep organ.
- Daddy Long Legs (Philadelphia): Saw these guys at the Trocadero as well. Totally blew me away for just three guys. Marcus plays an amazing guitar with great vocals and really reminds me of Les Claypool with his stage presence. All three guys were dressed in white dress shirts and skinny ties. They don’t have a bass player, rather a unique bass/rhythm guitar.
- a Shade of Red (Indianapolis): I had gone to this club Indy Rock House specifically to see Misunderstood (Punk band out of Richmond, Indiana that I had also seen in Dayton with Barb Wire Dolls). I was amazed by this bluesy, sexy frontwoman who is a pretty amazing singer, surprising sound coming from what seemed like a really young performer. The rest of the band drummer Sean and bassist Allesandro are an amazing combination that are very tight and are usually having crushing jams among Georgia’s guitar riffs.
- You Scream I Scream (Philadelphia): This band opened for POTUSA and is primarily a side project for several members of this band. The bassist Floyd had this amazing sounding bass on a guitar that he had designed himself. The keyboard player was wearing a helmet with mirrors, and produced a sound that reminded me of an early ’80s Devo / B-52s sound. A very entertaining and fun band. Got to meet most of the band in between sets. Two of the members are currently working on a great project Violent Mae who released their first EP just this last Fall.
- The Gitmos (Indianapolis): This politically charged punk band out of Indy was a perfect opener for Barb Wire Dolls at the Melody Inn on Punk Rock Night. The lead singer was all over the stage, barely keeping his balance while propping himself up and literally teetering on his podium like a drunk sailor navigating rough seas, all the while Isis Queen from Barb Wire Dolls right in front of me in a white hoodie just punk-bobbing her head with a big smile on her face. Crazy and energetic.
- Brick + Mortar (Lollapalooza Chicago): Saw these guys perform at the BMI Stage at Lollapalooza. What an amazing duo of high energy and performance and definite engaging the audience. This was one of their biggest shows to date and the audience was very receptive.
- Nine Inch Nails (Lollapalooza Chicago): This is the first time I had ever seen NIN. The graphics on the moving screens were the most amazing thing I’d ever seen, even more so than what Deadmau5 had put on two years prior. The sound was absolutely perfect and the audience was not nearly as hardcore as I thought they would be. They played a lot off the new album along with their earlier classics.
- Queens Of The Stone Age (Lollapalooza Chicago): I had just got into this band this year and totally loved their new album. The only bad thing about this set was that they only got to play 75 minutes. The sound was incredible. This band puts on a great live show. I can’t wait to get into more of their other material.
- Moonshine Junction (Terre Haute): I have seen this band probably a total of six times. This local band out of the Terre Haute area plays primarily “Americana”, which has a flavor of blues roots, classic country. Each song they play has a story they share, namely by Shad V on guitar. Everyone in the band plays a stringed instrument (and has a beard) aside from the pin-up beauty in Stacy B who plays washboard, tamborine and kicks out “strong” vocals. Their best show for me this year was their final show with their ukulele player Jason who was relocating to another state (for another woman as the band members jokingly kid him).
- Crow Cannons (Terre Haute): This band I’ve seen probably 4 or 5 times in the past year. A guitar and drum duo with bluesy, even sometimes Jack White-ish guitar, but much more fluid out of guitarist Matt. The best show I saw them perform was at Matt’s farewell show as he was relocating out of state. They played an entire 90 minute set and finished up with their traditional, “in the audience” performance of American Chemist with Matt on banjo and Jimmy on donkey jaw.
- Michael Mutts (Terre Haute): Caught this guy doing a solo house show at one of our friend’s house here in Terre Haute. This was a very unique experience. Our host and hostess Jimmy and Ellie Caldwell had invited about 20 people to enjoy this very intimate and energetic performance. I had never heard of Michael Mutts before this show. He played a mean piano which he kept joking would need re-tuned by the time he was done with it. He had a couple of local musicians Shad Vanatti (guitar/banjo) and Paul Burkett (sax) join him on a couple of songs. This guy had great stories to tell, great passion in his voice, really reminded me of Tom Waites in a way.
- Misunderstood (Indianapolis, Dayton): Saw this band open up for the Barb Wire Dolls in Dayton. I had been a fan of this band for a while, but because they’re from Richmond, Indiana and play a lot of their shows in Ohio, I hadn’t yet had a chance to see them play live. I was really amazed by the amount of energy this band has. Lyn-Z Riot is an amazing front-woman for this punk band in which she founded several years ago. She has a Billy Joe Armstrong swagger with a Joan Jett/Brody Dalle “Fuck with me!” presence. Saw them play on a few more occasions in Indianapolis and delivered once again, with an original returning to the band on bass after a short hiatus. This band has a lot of potential and are very hard-working.
- ARIA (Terre Haute): I saw this band at a tiny venue here in Terre Haute, Indiana where pretty much the only people who showed up were people in the other bands that played before ARIA. It seemed like a sucky night, it was pouring down rain and this venue is kinda like a big garage. Still, the band came alive when they hit the stage and were amazing. A very tight, Paramore-like sound to them, but this singer Bianca is quite powerful. I had a chance to catch them at their merchandise table after the show. I had been a fan of the band for a few months and was really surprised that they’d actually play a show in Terre Haute.