2015 Top Ranked Live Shows
- Paul McCartney – I finally got to see Paul McCartney live this year at Lollapalooza. I really didn’t think that I would ever see him live, so when the Headliners were announced, I was really excited. I had camped out earlier when I caught Alabama Shakes on the same stage. I had a pretty decent location but had to make a water run and lost a little when I came back. This show was everything I hoped it would be and Paul’s wit and charm and engaging the audience is something I’ll never forget. Highlights for me were his acoustic performance of Here Today and Hey Jude. The whole crowd was singing along.
- Florence + The Machine – Sunday evening at Lollapalooza was shaken up a little by the shortened sets due to storms. Florence was a bundle of energy, rebelling and defiant to the impending storm dancing beyond the night skyline. Florence plead with the crowd with passion in all of her songs and gave me goosebumps all throughout. She had somewhat of a wardrobe malfunction as she was running through the field with the crowd on either side of her, running in her barefeet and bra. Her band was totally amazing and had a wonderful backing vocals group.
- Metallica – Finally a band that went beyond the curfew at Lollapalooza! This was my first time seeing Metallica and I was totally blown away! They played music from their entire career and had a group of devoted fans on stage with them behind the band. There were a lot of die hard Metallica fans at this show. There was this continuous driving of high energy.
- We Are Hex – I wrote up this band last year as well for top performances. They are a local band out of Indianapolis. I just feel totally blown away every time I see them perform and just can’t comprehend how they can provoke that reaction out of me (and the crowd) at every show. It never gets old. They also do a good job of changing up the setlist from show to show. I saw them live 8 times this year! Looking forward to seeing them live again in 2016.
- Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes – I stumbled across these guys at the Punkfest at The 5th Quarter Lounge in Indianapolis. I was amused at their attire and shag-carpet amps and nicely decorated drum kit. Davey was dressed in a onesie pajama set! In between every song, which they seem to never have a defined setlist, Davy kept addressing someone in the crowd who was close to the band (Dusty, perhaps) and mentioning snippets of sports trivia. It was quite amusing, but this is only part. They are highly energetic and it’s like riding a minecart in Donkey Kong Country. Abby marches around in circles on stage all-the-while glaring at Davey as if daring him to take her on, with Ayesha behind the drums pounding the shit out of them and observing this cartoonish Stevie/Lindsay duel. They are a really fun band to watch. Musically, they’re an art-punk band and will definitely leave you with that “HS!” feeling.
- Against Me – I finally got to see Against Me! at Riotfest Chicago this past September. I really loved their latest album and hadn’t even heard of them until then. Their performance was the best sounding, most energetic (aside from Anthrax) and most wild. The crowd totally pushed everyone around as a single unit. I had been quite close to the front, but couldn’t quite keep my footing, so I kinda let myself get squeezed back a little. Laura Jane Grace sounded amazing and charged and was wearing a “Gender Is Over” jersey. The entire crowd sang along with every song throughout their 45 minute set.
- Moseley – I first caught these ladies at the Record Store Day After Show at the Heavy Anchor in St Louis. They played a short, dramatic set. I had shown up for Bruiser Queen and We Are Hex’s RSD performance at Vintage Vinyl, but was very glad to discover Moseley. This is the best way to find and discover new bands, go to shows! I also went to Nashville and Bowling Green, KY to catch them as they had totally blown me away. They have this quite unique sound with Suzy’s non-chalaunt craftiness of guitar work and hypnotic vocals, adorned with a gown of her self-professed “metal mop”, and just as you’re being sucked in, Abby and Christy change things up, and you wonder, “what are they DOING over there” and totally yank you in another direction. They are a rock band, but I wonder if they aren’t influenced by ’80s Heavy Metal. They have a full-length debut album due out in 2016 that at the moment is my most highly anticipated release of 2016.
- War On Women – As I mentioned in my 2015 Top Ten Albums List, I discovered this amazing guitar assault of a band this year. I could NOT wait to see them perform live. I got my first chance on Anti-Flag’s show in St Louis and again when I was in the Baltimore area for work in September. Their show at FUBAR was an amazing performance, although I think the sound guy screwed ’em a little as they were the first set. It was even better seeing them perform live in their hometown at Ottobar in Baltimore. Hang on tight when you see this band as they are non-stop from the time they start to the last note.
- Thelma and The Sleaze – This is the second year in a row this band out of Nashville made my top list with Lauren G on guitar, Chase on Drums and GiGi now on bass full-time. These ladies toured the country, have recorded their next album and even had the chance to perform and record with Brittany Howard among others this year. This band has really grown and gotten tremendously better and tighter as attributed to their near non-stop touring and have an improved overall sound from the first time I saw these ladies nearly two years ago now. These ladies mean business when they take the stage and are quite the act. With their ’70s sounding songs, you’d think they grew up in the ’70s. I was fortunate that they made their way through Indiana for a few dates this year and look forward to seeing them again in 2016.
- Pop Up Safety Baby – This band local to the Terre Haute continues to amaze me every time they take the stage. They have continued to blaze sets with their tight arrangements and musicianship. They have added a few new songs to the set and have recorded a handful of songs for an upcoming release.
- Screaming Females – I became a great fan of Screaming Females during the latter part of 2014 and had been watching live performances online and was really amazed by the great guitar work and tightness of the band. Their new album Rose Mountain came out in March and I was fortunate to catch them live in Bloomington late March. It was my most anticipated show to date. They played a great 12 song set and I was wanting more.
- Bruiser Queen – This great band out of St Louis continues to amaze me. They put on an incredible show every time they take the stage. They have built quite a following and have played nearly 80 dates in the past year, as evidenced by their on-stage chemistry. This ’60s sounding duo creates exciting, jamming tunes that are especially great in a live setting. They have become quite the force to reckon with in the St Louis area. Morgan really demonstrated her vocal talents this year with their cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” and by her acapella performance of Silent Night to open up their 12 Bassists of Christmas show which featured local St Louis talent on bass, keyboards and guitar in each of their songs.
- Gang Of Four – I had gone to the Ottobar in Baltimore this September to see War On Women. These guys were the main act. I was totally blown away by their sound and stage presence. I truly believe that if it weren’t for Duran Duran, these guys would have been much bigger in the early ’80s. I hadn’t really even heard of this band prior to this year. The fans in the audience were clearly die hards who have been following them for quite a while. They played a fun-filled 75 minute set.
- Barb Wire Dolls – Got to see these guys for the first time in over two years since they returned to the U.S. I saw them perform at Riot Fest in Chicago, and then in Dayton just a few weeks later. This band still has amazingly inspired live performances. They have added quite a lot of new material this latest tour and had also brought a touring bass player this go around. They’re off to Europe for 2016 and may not be back to the U.S. until 2017. This punk rock band from Greece continues to be a voice for the injustices facing their country and others who appear to be facing the same fate, including the U.S.
- The Gills – I just so happened to catch this band in Nashville as part of the Moseley/Fauna Halo card. I had not heard anything about this band, and was actually sitting in the table section when they came on. I was immediately impressed, especially by the drum and bass work, I had to go out on the floor to get a close look. Hoping this band tours the Midwest some time soon as I’d like to see them again.
- SIMO – This was the first show of 2015 for me. I had seen this band the previous Fall at The Verve in Terre Haute, so when I found out they would be back I was ecstatic. This southern rock style band with Allman Brothers influence will really capture you. JD Simo is one of the best guitarists I’ve ever seen perform, and has a huge energetic stage presence.
- The Panics – This veteran punk rock group was part of the Mutant Fest that I had gone to in Bloomington this past Spring. These guys know how to put on a show! This was one of the major highlights for me for a day that included 12+ bands.
- Shelby County Sinners – These guys from Indiana play a flavor of Americana that is pretty much their own. The storytelling vocals of Shelby are among the strongest I’ve seen. The percussive type bass playing by Mo is another thing that is unique for this band that has no drummer. Eric Grimmet on guitar presents very polished, at times bluesy work that fits in really well. Upon first glance, Eric looks like Dave Murray from Iron Maiden!
- Mugen Hoso – I finally got to see this amazing Punk Duo from Japan after a two year wait. They had previously performed dates with Barb Wire Dolls and Evil Beaver and really wanted to see them, so when they came back to the U.S., I made sure to catch them. I wasn’t able to make their Indianapolis show, so I had to catch them in Dayton a few days later. These guys are a bundle of energy that feeds and thrives off of the crowd. The crowd was bringing these guys shots after every song! Mugen is like a Japanese Energizer Bunny version of Angus Young and bounces all over the stage.
- Genevieve – I accidentally discovered Genevieve on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts. I had not made the connection that she had been part of Company Of Thieves until I looked her up. Upon researching, I discovered that she would be playing in Indianapolis in just two days. I was already heading to a show later that evening, but she was scheduled to perform outdoors, outside the National Center at Indianapolis’ First Friday, so I headed out early. I was totally amazed at her performance. It was so scorchingly hot out that day, but she and her band made it through the whole set. Good thing I was wearing sunglasses, because her performance of The Enemy nearly brought me to tears. I was fortunate to meet her at her merch table and briefly talk. Looking forward to seeing her perform live again; she is probably the best singer I’ve ever witnessed perform.
2015 Shows Overall List by Date
- 1/16 SIMO (The Verve)
- 1/17 The Nerve, Bear Foote Jackson, Pop Up Safety Baby (Ripley’s)
- 1/29 The Ragbirds (The Verve)
- 2/6 Papa J. Otis (Pizza Place)
- 2/7 Matchsellers, Moonshine Junction (The Verve)
- 2/27 Kelly Pardekooper, Buffalo Wabs, Stackhouse, We Are Hex, DMA (PRN)
- 3/6 Butcher’s Holler, Papa J. Otis (ISU Bookstore)
- 3/7 Nick Gibbs, Brandon Atwell, Moonshine Junction, Toe Knee Tea, The Madpole Cats, Matthew Mule McKinley, Owen Mays and The Last Calls, Lou Shields, S.S. Web, Matt Olson, Dime Novel Devils, Pop Up Safety Baby (Midwest Hillbilly Hardcore’s 7th Annual St Judes Benefiet @ The Verve)
- 3/8 Pegasissy, Marine Corpse, Thelma And The Sleaze (The Back Door)
- 3/26 Screaming Females, Shellshag, Cowboys (The Bishop)
- 3/27 Raymond Lee, Moonshine Junction, Bro Ken (The Verve)
- 3/28 Good Guy Bad Guy, Giraffes Eating Lions, Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes, The Ramettes, Dead On TV, The Lickers, Insubordination, Drunken Therapy, Stealing Volume, Black Cat Rebellion, Tiger Sex (Punkfest 2015 5th Quarter)
- 4/14 Sam Barbee, Papa J. Otis, Rosedale (Terradise)
- 4/18 Bella & Lilly, Bruiser Queen, We Are Hex, Turntable Orchestra (Record Store Day at Vintage Vinyl STL)
- 4/18 Matt Harnish’s Pink Guitar, Brother Lee & The Leather Jackals, Moseley, We Are Hex, Bruiser Queen (RSD After Show at Heavy Anchor, STL)Wh
- 4/25 Sideline Radio, Rader, Gardens, Sleep On It, Mariahill (Terradise)
- 4/30 Papa J. Otis (ISU Bookstore)
- 5/1 Brainchild, Papa J Otis, When All Kept Echoing, Better Off Blind, Dalton Edington, Wesley J. Russell & Dave Reneigh, Moonshine Junction, Jack Shannon, Vancouver Ballet, Timmy Wells (TH First Friday at Tater Joe’s)
- 5/2 We Are Hex, Obnox, The Timmys (Melody Inn PRN)
- 5/4 Sam Barbee, People Of Interest, Dope Sweater, Riot Shield, Some Kind Of Nightmare (Cruft House)
- 5/15 Anti-Flag, The Homeless Gospel Choir, War On Women (FUBAR St Louis)
- 5/18 Begging Victoria, Raymond Lee, Grandiose, Riot Shield, Pop Up Safety Baby, People Of Interest, New Wave (Cruft House)
- 5/22 Pop Up Safety Baby (The Verve)
- 5/23 Gooch Palms, Death Valley Girls, Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes, Chives (Punk Rock Night at Melody Inn)
- 6/5 Genevieve (Old National Centre)
- 6/5 We Are Hex, The Hussy, Digital Leather (White Rabbit Cabaret)
- 6/9 Anthony Cottom, Straya, Falling, Ashland, Thieves, Riot Shield (Terradise White House)
- 6/13 The Bakers, Mariahill, Subject To Change, Population Control, People Of Interest, Better Off Blind (The Meeting Grounds)
- 6/13 The Beautiful Display, Whosah, Mariahill, Riot Shield (The Verve)
- 6/19 We Are Hex, Goldmines, The Hyper Tensions (State Street Pub)
- 6/26 Commonweather, The Hanis Project, Mariahill, Riot Shield, Real Talk, Sleep On It (Terradise White House)
- 7/3 Father Mountain, Mayweather, The Red Streak, The Beautiful Display, Riot Shield, WAKE (Terradise)
- 7/3 David Goodier, Maggie Cocco Band, Brandon Sciotto, Moonshine Junction (The Verve)
- 7/11 Tycoons Of Teen, Laffing Gas, Wet Heave, Thee Open Sex, The Girls!, The Panics, Chives, Timmy’s Organism, Cancuners, Cold Star, Sick Velvet, Cowboys, KP and Me, The Hemingers, The Brothers Gross, The Gizmos (Mutant Fest II at The Back Door & Blockhouse Bloomington)
- 7/17 Scot Sax & Suzie Brown, The Gills, Moseley, Tetherball, Earl Burrows, Fauna Halo (The Basement East)
- 7/19 It’s a Secret, Regular Oatmeal, Pop Up Safety Baby, Population Control, Subject To Change (Terradise White House)
- 7/24 Aiming For Average, WAKE
- 7/25 Betsy Franck, Hannah Aldridge (The Verve)
- 7/31-8/2 Mighty Oaks, Coasts, Black Pistol Fire, BadBadNotGood, Broods, Alabama Shakes, Paul McCartney, Janelle Kroll, Hippo Campus, COIN, Sturgill Simpson, Wet, Death From Above 1979, Elle King, Metallica, The Wombats, Black Tiger Sex machine, DMA’s, Strand Of Oaks, Skylar Spence, Bully, TV On The Radio, Florence + The Machine (Lollapalooza Chicago)
- 8/7 Population Control, Better Off Blind, Bomb Cats, People Of Interest, Ashland, Grandiose (TH First Friday)
- 8/7 The Flying Jacksons (The Verve)
- 8/8 David Goodier, Tracksuit Lyfestile, MariaHill, The HANIS Project (The Verve)
- 8/13 Mariahill, The Linden Project (Hoosier Dome)
- 8/13 Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes, Pravada, Ampersand Blues Band (State Street Pub)
- 8/15 Subject To Change, Pop Up Safety Baby, Population Control, Dope Sweater, People of Interest, Better Off Blind, Riot Shield, Alena Coast, Mariahill, New Wave (Terradise Oy Vey Bakery)
- 8/16 Shad Vanatti, Alena Coast, MariaHill, Riot Shield (The Verve)
- 8/18 Marissa Sendejas, Chatterbox & The Latter Day Satanists, JC & The Pennies, Ray Lee (Tater Joe’s)
- 8/22 Bruiser Queen (Mike N Mollys)
- 8/27 Thelma And The Sleaze, We Are Hex, Ray Creature (The Back Door Bloomington)
- 9/4 Subject To Change, Better Off Blind, Ashland, Daniel Sadcliff, Rest Assured, Riot Shield, Mayweather, WAKE, Brave Souls, Sirens, From Cities Above, Pop Up Safety Baby, Moonshine Junction, Cody Almond, Gardens, Edington, Hugh Lee, Plans, Dope Sweater, For Our Lifetime, Mariahill, People Of Interest, The Beautiful Display, Whale Bones, Kerchief, Scooter, The HANIS Project, Grandiose (Terrapalooza)
- 9/4 We Are Hex, Ritual Howls, Tyler Damon (White Rabbit Cabaret)
- 9/5 Moseley, Plastic Friends, The Donut Heist (Tidballs Bowling Green)
- 9/9 The Coathangers, Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes (Radio Radio Indianapolis)
- 9/11 No Doubt, The Coathangers, Dirty Fences, Chef’special, Speedy Ortiz, Motorhead, Anthrax, Barb Wire Dolls, White Mystery, Against Me! (Riot Fest Chicago)
- 9/12 Moonshine Junction, Hannah Aldridge (Blues At The Crossroads Fest)
- 9/19 db Cooper (4th Quarter Bar)
- 9/20 Skurt, Tigersex, Mugen Hoso (Blind Bob’s Dayton)
- 9/25 Barb Wire Dolls, Red Hot Rebellion, Two Punch Gun, A Shade of Red (Rockstar Pro Arena Dayton)
- 9/30 War On Women, The New Regime, Gang Of Four (Ottobar Baltimore)
- 10/8 The Holy Sheets, Louie Louie, Gooch Palms, Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes (State Street Pub)
- 10/9 Dirty Ghosts, Spray Paint, Strange Wilds (The Empty Bottle Chicago)
- 10/17 Torres, Garbage (The Riviera Chicago)
- 10/31 Moonshine Junction, Shelby County Sinners, The Nerve (The Verve)
- 11/3 Beach Slang, Lithuania, Worriers, Humanoids (Firebird St Louis)
- 11/8 Benny Sanders, Thelma and The Sleaze (State Street Pub)
- 11/13 Riot Shield, Mariahill, Crunkasaurus Rex, Plans, Juice, Vancouver Ballet (The Cruft House)
- 11/14 The HANIS Project, David Goodier, Mariahill (The Verve)
- 11/25 Moonshine Junction, Shelby County Sinners, Pop Up Safety Baby (The Verve)
- 12/5 12 Bassists of Christmas w/ Bruiser Queen, The Vigilettes, Mike and Jenny of Tortuga, Soddy Daisy (The Pageant St Louis)
- 12/26 Sam Arnold, Aiming For Average (Uprising Terre Haute)
2015 Top Singers
Genevieve Schatz (Genevieve)
Aubri Honest (Fauna Halo)
Sara Smith (The Vigilettes)
2015 Top Drummers
Adam Abrashoff (SIMO)
Seth Maschari (Captain Ivory)
Charlie Benante (Anthrax)
Abby Hairston (Moseley)
Roseanna Safos (Goldmines, Obnox)
Michael Coffey (Pop Up Safety Baby)
Evan Tanner (War On Women)
Lars Ulrich (Metallica)
2015 Top Bass Players
Justin Locke (The Gills)
Christy Callaway (Moseley)
Matt Hullet (Pop Up Safety Baby)
2015 Top Guitar Players
Marissa Potner (Screaming Females)
JD Simo (SIMO)
2015 Best Band Vocals
Buffalo Wabs and The Price Hill Hustle
Chatterbox and The Latter Day Satanists
2015 Favorite Front-Persons
Daniel Evans (Dead On TV)
Kelly Tigersex Vegas (TigerSex)
Jilly Weiss (We Are Hex)
Jesse Kaftanski (Madpole Cats)
2015 Best Costumes or Stage Setup
Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes
2015 Group with the best Hair!
a Shade Of red
2015 Bands with Most Engaged or Loyal Audience
The Homeless Gospell Choir
2015 Top Venues
White Rabbit Cabaret Indianapolis
Heavy Anchor St Louis
Radio Radio Indianapolis
State Street Pub Indianapolis
Verve Terre Haute
2015 Worst Venue
FUBAR St Louis – I only put this because the sound guy had the bands entirely too loud. I go to a LOT of shows, and this guy set up levels from the back “with” ear plugs already in. It was entirely too loud, and backing up toward the back did not sound good at all. The bathrooms are also setup such that the line bumps right into the Merch area, where people walk to get to the bar area, a complete log jam.
Farthest Show From Home
War On Women, Gang Of Four @ Ottobar, Baltimore Maryland
Moseley, The Gills, Fauna Halo @The Basement East, Nashville Tennessee