The music community had to wait for an age to once again enjoy live music. I, along with many others, found the time away from live music incredibly mentally hard not being able to do the one thing that filled me with so much joy. With the future of live performances looking bleak, finally this year the doors opened again to us crowd-pleasing music fans. It’s great to have had the chance to look back at my favourite five live performances of the year…
Wolf Alice– O2 Bournemouth/ July
It had been one year, four months and 18 days since attending my last concert. Wolf Alice had just released Blue Weekend which would end up being nominated for a Mercury Prize award. It was the first time we all had to experience the Covid checks, causing the band to delay their stage time. I found myself surrounded by a mix of masked and unmasked revellers, there were a few anxious members of the audience who were rather vocal regarding people being in their vicinity. However, as soon as the band bounced on to stage, I was back in a pre-pandemic World of sweaty bodies and flailing arms. The band beamed throughout, and a few tears were shed, on and off stage.
This was a return to a life that many thought was lost and with so many venue closures, this is proof that people need live music and as the band returned to encore with the breathtaking ‘Last Man on Earth’ you could feel a wave of emotion wash over the venue where there may have just been a few tears left on the floor of the venue that night. Live music was back!
Highlight: Crowd singing word for word ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’.
2. Camp Bestival– Dorset/ July
First festival back.
Over 30,000 are in attendance, many of whom are parents who come to let their (remaining) hair down and allow their children to run amok dressed as stormtroopers and aliens, whilst they enjoy a cheeky cider or two.
With a line-up boasting, Self Esteem, Georgia, Groove Armada, Becky Hill and Fat Boy Slim; Camp Bestival was more than just a giant children’s party. Just like the previous Wolf Alice gig; this was many artists’ first show in years and the nervous energy poured out of their performances.
Highlight: Another outstanding headline show from Fat Boy Slim – the man always delivers
3. Troy Hawke -Fordingbridge Victoria Rooms- August
Troy Hawke was my first comedy show back, usually in August I would be bathing in the entertainment of the Edinburgh Fringe, but that will have to wait until 2022. Troy Hawke (aka Milo McCabe) performed his almost annual show in sleepy Fordingbridge’s Victoria Rooms to another sold-out audience. The must-see comedy character Troy Hawke (an erudite 1930s gent with a pencil moustache) took us through a journey of conspiracy theories, psychology and of course Scrabble. Troy’s skills at interacting with audiences are amongst the best in the circuit and he once again was backed by some of his videos of him mingling with the general public in the likes of Ikea, Woolworths and Wetherspoons (available to watch online). Needless to say, he stormed it.
Highlight: Finding out you share the same Scrabble score as Adolf Hitler
4.Victorious Festival -Southsea/August
Covid had affected the line-up and a lack of international acts was prominent, however, the UK is blessed with a multitude of acts so there was still plenty on offer including The Manic Street Preachers, Royal Blood and The Streets. Far more raucous than Camp Bestival: mosh pits, crowd surfing and no social distancing. A lot of fun though. How I managed to not get Covid is a miracle.
Highlight: The Manic Street Preachers covering Guns n Roses‘ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.