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We are hurtling towards the end of 2013, and to celebrate what a great year it has been for live music, some of us have put together a top five list of our favourite shows, which held special moments for us, so check them out.


Melanie Smith, well this is my top five, out of the fifty shows & festivals I attended this year. It was a difficult choice but here we are, and coming in at the No1 spot we have....

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ Manchester Apollo 30/10/13 - There is absolutely no one who can engage, or command a crowd quite like Nick Cave and we were straight down at the front for the entire show, having Nick tread every so lightly on my little finger as he walked along the rail didn't phase me one iota as we were far too hypnotised into submission throughout the whole show. I even had him dictate to me "take my fucking picture" then pose arrogantly - superb!. On departing I was literally trembling and still talking about it for days afterwards. Paul Holloway manages to capture the sheer thrill of the show in words. 

My photo of the year: It has to be Nick Cave. Although its not the sharpest, or most perfect having only been taken on my Canon Powershot G15, it has all the excitement of the show, and I think captures Nick at his finest, with the crowd fully immersed in the man and the music. He is the only artist (apart from Blondie) that I have ever given up the privilege of having a photo pass for just so I could stay by the front row.

I still have many photo pass bucket lists left - maybe 2014 will see me get them off my list. 

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra @ The Ritz 11/07/13 - What a performer, she gave her all to an incredible fun filled evening of entertainment, packed with beautiful melodramatic pop songs. It's also great to see an artist joining their support acts too. A one off super talented, inspiring, crazy woman, come back soon, we love YOU! A show I had been eagerly waiting to shoot, and stayed till the end.

Blondie @ Delamere Forest, Cheshire 06/07/13 - One of my all time favourite bands, we go back a very long way. I saw them twice this year, but by far I enjoyed this show the most, as I was front & centre stage for the whole event, plus on a night off. We got to party with Clem Burke at the aftershow, met the absolute gent Tommy Kessler again, (I'd interviewed Tommy earlier this year) and even met Miss Guy. We'd met Debbie at the aftershow party a few weeks before in Liverpool, and I got to shoot the show too - a definite bucket list all round.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Manchester Apollo 01/05/13 - Karen O, what can I say!! A super electrifying, explosive and colourful show, with such professionalism and perfect sound. This was a fantastic gig to shoot, and it was another off my bucket list. Mary O'Meara summed it up perfectly.

The Struts @ Bingley Music Live 2013 -  These were quite a pleasant surprise at the festival on the smaller stage, and of all the bands I saw and photographed these really took my breathe away. A nod to the glam era, a fresh approach topped with a cocky attitude. I think this band are really going places, and I'd like to wish them well. 

I know its over and above my top five, but I do have to give a very special mention to Rebellion Punk festival 2013 for its friendliness, wide variety of bands and the sheer thrill of being invited back to photograph was fantastic. Great to be have the company of Svenja Block too during those 4 hectic working days.


Eva Jostakova's (Mudkiss assistant Editor) favourite gigs of the year look something like this...

The National @ Alexandra Palace, London, 13/11/13 - I tried to file this gig into some kind of a category but I failed. The truth is, it's really one of the most special live performances I have experienced. Matt Berninger's charisma, stage presence and overall the band's tight musicianship is very hard to beat. I say, you have to experience The National live before you die.

The Virginmarys @ Manchester Academy 2, 22/11/13 - I've already described most of my feelings about this gig in a review I did for Mudkiss, but once again, I can repeat myself  and say that The Virginmarys are a true blessing for today's rock and roll. Once you witness the band's live powers, you'll never look back.

Blue October @ KOKO, London, 19/11/13 - All day - special day. Not only I got to interview the singer Justin, who's one of my musical heroes, but the show they put on at KOKO dazzled with such a great energy and emotion. Unforgettable.

White Lies @ Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, London, 23/07/13 - The number of tickets for this gig was very limited and only 300 people were lucky to experience this amazing and intimate show. You don't know how glad I was to be one of them. 

The Killers @ Wembley Stadium, London, 22/06/13 - Love them or hate them, these guys know how to put on a hell of a show! Also the biggest crowd I've seen this year - 78 000 people sharing their love for one band. That, I think, deserves respect. 


Svenja Block, our punk & rock n'rolling photographer based in London selected her top five gigs and albums.

Killing Joke @ The Forum London, 16/03/13 - A Killing Joke concert is never just a show or entertainment; to me it always feels a bit like a spiritual experience and I think that is intentional. Jaz Coleman is one of the musicians I find inspirational and it was great to see him again after many years before the show to conduct an interview with him and have a chat about past times.

Wilko Johnson @ Koko Camden London, 14/10/13 - I was fascinated to both watch and photograph Mr. Johnson’s love affair with his baby (the guitar) during the show. His enthusiasm and passion for performing on stage was simply contagious. Svenja also chose this image she shot of Wilko as her favourite taken this year.

Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg Feat. Andrew W.K. @ The Electric Ballroom London, 23/10/13 - With a little help of Marky Ramone himself and his wonderful tour manager I was able to cover this high energy show. It was amazing to hear so many Ramones songs being played live in one night. I will never forget being allowed back in the photo pit at the end of the show. Fantastic memories of a very personal, memorable night and the start of a new friendship.

Barb Wire Dolls @ Union Bar Hastings, 29/11/2013 - This show in Hastings was wild but Isis Queen had everything under control! I loved how she reacted to the crazy moshpit by dancing and moving like a boxer. She certainly wasn’t afraid to confront the crowd who showed their respect. Do I need to mention the speakers that nearly got tipped over and the guy who happily danced in the nude (well, he kept his boots on, ok)?

Michael Monroe @ 02 Academy Islington London, 4/12/13 - What an exciting show from an exceptional artist ! If I could make a wish I would want to become his tour photographer. Not joking.


Lee McFadden our very own musician and reviewer from London selected his top five gigs of the year, which were on his 'nights off' and just enjoying himself.

Kraftwerk @  Tate Modern, London - 07/02/13 -@The "Radioactivity" night - this was not a gig - it was an EVENT. 3D the likes of which has never been staged and surround sound as well. The clingy bodysuits look a bit daft on four aging German males though.

Wire @ Heaven, London - 24/03/13 - Wire play their entire "Change Becomes Us" album - and encore with their classic "Pink Flag" - with close on thirty (!!!!!) guitarists (including yours truly!). The noise, atmosphere and sense of occasion - overwhelming.

Young Marble Giants @ Union Chapel, London - 29/09/13 - The quietest band not to include an acoustic guitar. Hushed is the new deafening. Beautiful in their sparcity.

The Bitter Springs @ St Paul's Church, Brentford - 07/12/13 - Mudkiss faves The Bitter Springs play the greatest gig I've seen them perform - and I've been watching them for 17 years! A fitting send-off to departing violinist Phil Martin - a trawl through their entire catalogue - twenty year old songs being played live for the first time - and a guest appearance from Vic Godard! Truly magical!

Vic Godard & Subway Sect @  Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - 01/06/13 - An enjoyable jaunt through Vic's career, humorous banter between Godard and original bassist Paul Myers - and well worth it for a rare trip north of Watford for us!


Mary O'Meara, our very own Northern Star, published author and reviewer chose very wisely and I was at four of these marvellous shows with Mary.

Queens of the Stone Age @ Phone 4 U Arena, Manchester 20/12/1. Possibly the best live band in the world right now? (Possibly the best band on record right now?)....Despite this being in the arena which usually alienates me everyone was jumping and moshing as one! The night was on fire despite the icy rain on the streets of Manchester....

Johnny Marr @ The Ritz, Manchester 23/03/13: The crowd worshipped him, with grown men professing their love in no uncertain terms. What’s not to love? He’s a true, inspirational hero and I don’t use the term lightly. And lightly or intensely, he knows what to do with a guitar and he knows how to have and give a good time – a REAL good time!

Linnea Olsson @ Sacred Trinity Church 08/03/13 The secret’s slipped out. It’s official. Linnea Olsson  simply cannot be ignored.  Salford Trinity Church was fully captivated last night. I’m truly thankful to have witnessed such a magical occasion.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Manchester Apollo 01/05/13 Tonight I’d believe it if you told me a spaceship had beamed down the incandescent Karen O and her extraordinary band-mates to wake us all up and splash a bit of colour into our world. When I exit the building I feel like running, like my feet are barely touching the ground.

Ren Harvieu @ St Philips Church, Salford 26/09/13 This was one of those performances that had no lulls, no point where my mind wandered off and despite various changes in tempo it hung together beautifully. The audience were one hundred percent connected and with some of her family present it was understandable that they seemed to be feeling each note with her.


Paul Hastings, our reviewer from Leamington Spa offers these as his live moments and what a mixed bag they are...some surprising too!

Kenny Rogers @ Glastonbury 2013 - not in a 'guilty pleasure' or ironic way. Straight up, the best live show of the year, great songs sung by a guy with unbelievable presence and charisma.

The Secret Garden Party Festival 2013 - No particular act but just a fantastic festival and experience. If pushed to select a moment- secret performance by Jarvis Cocker and hearing him singing The Human League

Kat Men @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham 08/05/13 - fantastic rockabilly band consisting of the legendary Darell Higham and Slim Jim. Gig also introduced me to The Caezars for the first time.

Frank Turner @ Birmingham Academy 24/04/13 - this year saw Frank fully move from singer/song writer to a fantastic front man for his great touring band who now deliver arena filling songs.

Scouting For Girls @ Birmingham Academy 19/11/13 - no sniggering! If you want to spend an hour and a half listening to great pop songs, performed with great skill, energy and enthusiasm, there is no one better. Put your prejudices aside and just go and have fun!


Mike Ainscoe, our resident photographer, reviewer and all round nice guy, carefully chose this melodic five.

Bellowhead @ Warrington Parr Hall 08/11/13 (& Garforth Arts Festival, shorter set but even better!) All killer no filler from one of the best live acts going – serious party atmosphere by the end of the show – probably the best I’ve seen Bellowhead in 7 years.

Steve Hackett ‘Genesis Revisited’ @ Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury 09/05/13. Doing exactly what Genesis should have been doing years back – Banks, Rutherford, Collins et al must be looking at this and thinking of an opportunity missed. A classic – nay CLASSIC set of everything a proper Genesis fan would want to hear. Plus I had an AAA pass for this show courtesy of good pal and Hackett biographer Alan Hewitt (in turn for driving us down) and managed to shoot from the photo pit alongside legendary Genesis writer and photographer Armando Gallo.

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo @ St Philip’s, Salford 07/11/13. In a church! – superb atmosphere for Em’s stunning voice and the interpretations from her brilliant 2013 album ‘Dear River’ – surprise gig  of the year from the lovely folks at House Of Cards.

Ramsbottom Festival 2013 (in particular The Tapestry, Parlour Flames, Luke Jackson, Winter Mountain & Richard Hawley). A chance to revisit old friend – Hawley, apart from being a superb songwriter and guitarist always makes me chuckle with his forthright Yorkshire plain speaking – plus a chance to pick up on something new which this year was local lads and lasses The Tapestry and Junip

‘Prog Rock Royalty’ - Neal Morse Band & The Flower Kings @ The Electric Ballroom, London 07/03/13. One of my all time favourite artists, Neal Morse also featuring Mike Portnoy on drums and the FK’s Roine Stolt joining them in the encore for ¾ of Transatlantic PLUS an appearance by Steve Hackett. 3 hrs of a prog fan’s dream!

Mikes favourite photo of the year was Roger Glover of Deep Purple, taken @ Manchester Apollo in 12/10/13. I was lucky enough to get to shoot the rock legends at the Apollo having not seen them for about 5/6 years. For guys of their age, they are still going strong with a fab new album ‘?!’ to boot. Usual 3 songs no flash, but nicely lit and very colourful. Not too much running around which gave the chance to actually try compose some shots with  Gillan and Glover were particular photogenic . This one was my favourite – just managing to be in the right place at the right time with all the photo gods smiling and get the sharpness we all crave. For those interested, it was taken with a Nikon D3, 70-200 f2.8 lens at 70mm, ISO 1000 at 1/640 f2.8! Copyrighted to more good luck than management/point & press photography


Dick Porter, resident of Cornwall, published author of music biographies, and writer in both print and online media gave us his top five gigs of the year.

Chic @ Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall 02/07/13. To be in the presence of the wonderful Nile Rodgers was a privilege and an emotional landmark. As the skies darkened over the Eden Project, Chic spread light and elegance. Both myself and Kris Needs had been waiting more than 30 years to see Chic – it was worth the wait. 

The Eyelids @ Royal Standard, Gwinear, Cornwall 05/2013. The very thought of seeing the Eyelids live at any time never fails to make me smile. The exuberance and energy that they bring to their superlative set has a magnetic power that can raise the dead and make the crippled dance. On this particular night, they were on superb form and provided the icing on a cake of a memorable night. 

Moriaty @ Royal Standard, Gwinear, Cornwall 07/2013. Moriaty whip up a beef-flavoured sensory overload of blues at the best of times, but unleashed within the sweaty confines of the Standard they were like lightning in a bottle. Pictures were blown off the walls and the Poultry Strut performed long into the night as the Devonian duo ignited the Needs/Porter Birthday Bash. 

Mister Postman @ Royal Standard, Gwinear, Cornwall 12/2013. Any Mister Postman gig is an event – so fearsome are their garage rock powers that they severely restrict the number of times they perform in any given year as regular exposures to their sonic attack can cause the skeleton to escape through the mouth and perform the frug, the poodlecut and the ay, ay turkey dance. At close quarters this effect was so pronounced, that I have only recently got the last of my bones back in place.

Honey @ Gaslights, Redruth, Cornwall 11/2013.  Everything that is wonderful about Honey compressed into a 45 minute set. How many reasons do you need to love a band – here was a couple of dozen. Even stripped of the services of their mighty sound guru Matt Davy, the power of their performance was such that the front of Gaslights is currently supported by scaffolding.


Gareth Allen from Glasgow, has an eclectic taste in music, and here are his favourite gigs of the year.

Katatonia @ Damnation Festival, Leeds University Union 02/11/13 -Playing their classic "Viva Emptiness" album in its entirety, Katatonia gave a spellbinding performance. Equal measures of melancholy and heaviness gave a real intimate feel to their set. For me it was the stand out performance of the festival.

Cannibal Corpse @ O2 ABC Glasgow 10/03/13 -This was death metal at its most extreme. The most distilled and crushingly intense live metal performance I have ever experienced. Completely shattering!

Nick Mulvey @ King Tuts Wah Wah Glasgow 09/11/13 -An intimate gig in the coolest of Glasgow venues, with a rising singer-songwriter. Nick Mulvey brings an incredibly diverse range of influences to his edgy and enigmatic music. His lyrics are evocative, beguiling and intensely observational…and he knows how to hold an audience.

Caspian @ Barrowlands Ballroom Glasgow 23/10/13 - Supporting HIM at the iconic Glasgow Barrowlands Ballroom, when you are all about creating intense and dramatic musical landscapes, is quite a challenge. Not a problem for Caspian, as they took the audience completely with them into their musical world.

Lianne La Havas @ O2 ABC Glasgow 04/03/13 - Lianne La Havas’s album has the most fully realised set of songs I have heard on a debut album. Live with her very talented band, the soul and jazz influenced songs have an energy and swing that is quite captivating, and gives you an additional and exciting new lens through which to experience her music.


Den Browne our mighty London based book reader and reviewer didn't get out to many shows this year, but by far this show blew him away.

Band of Holy Joy @ Limehouse Town Hall 22/06/13 - It was a great mix of sound, vision, location & atmosphere.

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