Covid-19 and the lockdowns that have followed in its wake have meant gig-going has been impossible for most but the arrival of vaccines mean our chances of live concerts this summer are increasing.
- Read on for reasons including our thoughts on the best gigs of the last six years
monstagigz started in 2015 with the idea of spreading the word about London’s best gigs and below we feature examples of the concerts that have won our gig of the year monstas between 2015 and 2020.
2015: Suede at Camden Roundhouse, 13 November 2015
The night of the attacks in Paris including at the Bataclan theatre seems inauspicious but it coincided with the premiere of Suede’s Night Thoughts album in Camden.
We wrote: ‘Tonight the band premieres the 12-strong Night Thoughts album (out 22/1/16) behind a screen as the 45-minute film accompanying it is projected onto it. The clever lighting means we can occasionally see the band at work behind the screen.
‘We’re asked by a fellow fan whether we think it’s pretentious. It’s certainly not the folly of the Pet Shop Boys playing their Battleship Potemkin soundtrack behind a curtain as the silent film was screened in Trafalgar Square in 2004.
‘What Kate Bush wouldn’t have done of course would be to headline the gig with a hits and treats set providing the fans with the material they most wanted to hear. Suede rattle through the best of their back catalogue with little explanation as the Roundhouse goes wild.’
2016: Shura at KOKO, Camden, 1 June 2016
We wrote: ‘Shura is very much the indie Madonna, either behind keyboards or wielding a guitar, raiding the 80s, magpie-like, for its finest hooks.’
2017: Bananarama at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, 9 December 2017
We wrote: ‘The Eventim Apollo can have seen nothing like it. It’s overrun by boisterous groups of women of around the same age as the band and gay men of that vintage also. Sales of flashing red devil horns also appear to be going through the roof as the roars of appreciation grow ever louder throughout the set.’
2018: Suede at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, 12 October 2018
We wrote: ‘‘Over 21’? We weren’t much over 21 when we 1st saw Suede and now that was over 21 years ago but they remain a thrilling live band with always several surprises in store.’
2019: Divine Comedy at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, 17 October 2019
We wrote: ‘This is a five-star performance we’ll give four explained by this confession: we’re fans of 90s albums Casanova, A Short Album About Love and Fin de Siècle but stopped listening because 2001’s Regeneration seemed so humourless.’
2020: Lucy Spraggan at The Mill, Digbeth, via livestream, 20 December 2020
We wrote: ‘Her infectious enthusiasm was evident throughout this live gig and the Q&A element, where fans asked questions of her live via social media between songs, gave a fascinating insight into what a talented artist she is.’
Do you have a favourite ever gig? Write in the comments who and when it was and why you liked it so much.
The Orielles in Brighton were our last gig – we knew their latest album but they blew us away.
My favourite ever gig was Adam Ant when he performed Kings of the Wild Frontier album live in Portsmouth a good few years back. I think I just stood and danced with my eyes closed, singing all the time. It is still my favourite album ever. I’m very envious of Mr Monstagigz gong to see Bananarama…
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Thanks A Humdrum Mum – a year without gigs has made us realise what we’ve missed out on but also what we’ve got to look forward to. Do let us know your favourite ever gigs. Ours is probably Suede at Portsmouth’s Pyramids in ‘93 because it felt like we’d found our tribe. The 2nd Stage at Glastonbury in 1994 on the Sunday afternoon where future headliners Pulp and Oasis would play afternoon sets was ace. Getting Suited and Booted to see My Life Story at every possible occasion. Every Pet Shop Boys concert. Lady Gaga. The moment at Robyn’s Ally Pally gig when the crowd sang Dancing On Your Own. The diversity of Eurovision. The sheer joy of Melodifestivalen. The list is long – and will grow longer.
I would definitely go with Pulp at Glastonbury in 94, My Life Story at Ronnie Scott’s in 95, Leonard Cohen at Manchester Opera House 2010, various Pete Wylie gigs, the Pogues at Manchester Apollo, Dexy’s at Plymouth Pavilions, loads more. Really enjoyed the lockdown Facebook Live gigs from Ian Prowse (Amsterdam/Pele) but it’s not the same as being there.
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Thanks Andy – online gigs are definitely not the same as being there. Let’s hope we can get back to some sort of gig-going normality as soon as it is safe.