Reminder: If the name is hyperlinked, that means I wrote about the act this year, and you can click through to the coverage.
10. The Kin at Wente Vineyards, Livermore (Front Porch Music Festival) – Aug. 31
This show was supposed to be headlined by the Lone Bellow. When they cancelled, I was bummed. I liked the Stone Foxes, who also put forth a great set, but I had no idea who the Kin were, nor was I impressed by what I heard on Spotify. These guys kick serious ass. That is my professional opinion as a journalist. They are unique, and they put that on display by blending prog-rock, pop and tribal, world flourishes. Plus, I promise they’ve got one of the most unique drummers for a rock band. They opened a bunch of shows for Pink recently, and they should be returning with some shows of their own in 2014.
9. The Garifuna Collective with Danny Michel at Brick & Mortar – Aug. 7
Chances are my readers would never consider seeing the Garifuna Collective. That’s a shame, because they could learn something about the culture of the diminishing Garifuna race and the extremely popular (in Central America) punta rock and how it has infiltrated other genres thanks to the late Andy Palacio. This time around, they were touring with Canadian singer-songwriter Danny Michel, with whom the collective had recorded an English-language album. This show was about cultural transcendence.
8. The Call with Robert Levon Been at Slim’s – April 18
Robert’s father was Michael Been, the bassist and bandleader of this seminal ’80s band, that had a chance to be an American U2 but never quite caught on like some predicted. They had broken up years ago, and this very special show was one of only two — so far — reunion gigs they played this year. Robert told me more are possible while his full-time band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, are on hiatus.
7. Paul McCartney at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival – Aug. 9
I teared up during “Let It Be.” The passion this man has toward music — old and new alike — is immeasurable. I’m guessing this performance was No. 1 for many isn the Bay Area. Were you there? Let me know what you thought in the comments.
6. Franz Ferdinand at the Vacation “Basement” in San Francisco – April 11
This deserves an asterisk. Franz played two sets totalling about 55 minutes. I went to both, which is why I list this “show” in my list. The Scottish quartet are their own animal. They grow and morph their sound at their own pace. They do what they like, and they’re still great at what they do. Playing to two crowds of about 200 people each in a sweaty room with no windows and only one door to escape, Franz did everything but light the room on fire. I did not come prepared with a camera, so here’s a link by a to video by my friend lairygirl.
NEXT: THE TOP 5.