5 Music Sets I Really Want To See in 2014

Posted: January 10, 2014 in Music, Punk Rock, Ska, Top 5
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the past few years, we have seen many revivals and reunions of bands, musicians, or other music acts at a live show. Back in 2012, at least three acts reunite for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival: Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre, Refused, and At The Drive-In. This year’s Coachella will have Outkast reuniting. Apart from reunions, other bands or musicians have returned from varying hiatuses, such as Glassjaw and Destruction Made Simple. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some bands have either called it quits, like Just Like Before or Save The Swim Team, or some have split to pursue something else. Lastly, some acts just never perform in certain cities, states, regions, or countries, such as the Toy Dolls, who will break boundaries by performing at Coachella this year. Regardless of why some local citizens have never seen a particular act in person, many music acts never embellish the true concert experience because they either do not play in some areas, or their shows pose too much difficulty getting into, whether by selling out tickets or for other miscellaneous reasons. Over the past few years, I have made it a priority to attend shows of bands that I either have never seen or rarely see, which drives most of my decisions on what weekly shows to attend. For this year, I truly must see these five bands or musicians to satiate my music thirst. If I must travel or shell out ridiculous amounts of money, I may have to do so.

5. The Toasters

As one of the first bands of third-wave ska, The Toasters ring a bell around the world. This international ska phenomenon defined today’s ska culture, from the musical styles to the fashion that everyone now recognizes when attending a ska show/concert. More often than not, when you view a ska video, the video will have The Toasters playing the background. Their iconic music lays out the foundation for ska today, and anyone even remotely into ska must go to see The Toasters sooner than later.

4. Polar Bear Club

The post-hardcore industry used to revolve around the vocalist’s ability to scream as defined by the old screamo genre. Although deriving from hardcore punk, post-hardcore took on an identity of its own not too long after hardcore punk’s peaking popularity in the early 80’s. Since then, the genre has evolved to encompass the musical style rather than the vocals, so a handful of today’s post-hardcore bands fit into the genre yet do not emphasize the screaming parts, such as Polar Bear Club. As a mixture of punk rock and post-hardcore, Polar Bear Club follows a melodic hardcore model, striving on instrumental prowess to portray emotions rather than a vocalist bleeding their lungs out. Their popularity outnumbers the small venues that they play at often, leading to sold-out shows whenever they announce something. The next time Polar Bear Club swings by your area, do not dawdle – get on the bus and go buy a ticket fast.

3. Billy Talent

Whereas Polar Bear Club’s attraction lies in their instrumental capabilities, Billy Talent delivers the full package. This melodic punk rock band from Canada has transformed their music greatly since inception in the early 1990’s. What started as an independent indie rock band has slowly progressed into a punk rock band, and eventually into the melodic post-hardcore band that fans recognize them as today. Once Billy Talent hit mainstream success in the early 2000’s, the history books tells the rest of the tale. Billy Talent tour across the world extensively, hitting up as many countries as possible to delight fans everywhere. I have yet to see a show that does not sell out within a few days of the initial announcement. When Billy Talent books a show in your area, everyone buys tickets, even if they have no intention of going. Should Billy Talent play in your area this year, I suggest you do the same and buy tickets instantly.

2. Geoff Rickly (Thursday/United Nations)

In a shocking turn of events, my favorite band falls to the number two spot on this list! At least…. what remains of my favorite band has fallen to number two. Having broken up in November 2011, Thursday has greatly influenced the post-hardcore scene during their run as a band, and generally receives credit as the band that forever changed the face of post-hardcore. Since discovering Thursday, I have seen them exactly three times all prior to attending college, before I truly understood the emotion and passion behind the music. Once I understood the lyrics and messages, Thursday had already broken up. Now frontman Geoff Rickly has moved on to perform with supergroup United Nations along with Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw and Head Automatica. Regardless of which act he performs with, I would never pass up an opportunity to see Rickly perform live again. If Thursday reunites this year… I can kiss my savings goodbye.

1. Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi)

We all saw this coming in this list, and every punk rock fan will tell you: It will never happen. Despite all the fake posters and flyers from last year, Minor Threat will NEVER reunite. Minor Threat’s frontman Ian MacKaye (the man, the myth, the legend) sees no point in reuniting Minor Threat, and by now, he has moved on to other things in his personal life. Sure he went on to form Fugazi, another amazing band in its own right, but ask punk rock fans around the world for the one show they truly want to see, and you will hear Minor Threat over all other bands by a landslide. Some fans that I have spoken to at shows in my area have pledged that they would spend thousands of dollars to see a Minor Threat show one more time. If it has to come down to it, believe me – I will spend that much money too to see Minor Threat live.

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