Rather later than usual (again!) here is my review of the best ten gigs I saw in 2022. For the first time since 2019, I did actually see more than ten gigs in 2022 although my total of sixteen falls well short of my pre-pandemic years.
Here are my ten favourite gigs of the year. As always, they’re in chronological order.
- Pale Waves at the Roundhouse
I’ve seen Pale Waves a few times now and I think they’ve firmly established their place on my “see them whenever they tour near me” list. This show was every bit as good as I’ve ever seen them.
- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark at the Royal Albert Hall
Another band I see whenever I can. This was a slightly different set where the first half was called “Atmospheric” and concentrated on some deeper cuts from their back catalogue and the second half included all the hits.
- Chvrches at Brixton Academy
In 2020, I moved to a flat that’s about fifteen minutes’ walk from Brixton Academy. But I had to wait about eighteen months in order to take advantage of that fact. The last couple of times I’ve seen Chvrches were at Alexandra Palace, so it was nice to see them at a smaller venue again. This show featured a not-entirely unexpected guest appearance from Robert Smith.
- Sunflower Bean at Electric Ballroom
Another act who I see live as often as I can. And this was a great venue to see them in.
- Pet Shop Boys at the O2 Arena
There’s always one show a year that draws me to the soulless barn that is the O2 Arena. Every time I go there, I vow it’ll be the last time – but something always pulls me back. This year it was the chance to see a band I loved in the 80s and have never seen live. This was a fabulous greatest hits show that had been postponed from 2020.
- Lorde at the Roundhouse
A new Lorde album means another Lorde tour. And, like Chvrches, she swapped the huge expanse of Alexandra Palace for multiple nights at a smaller venue. This was a very theatrical show that matched the vibe of the Solar Power album really well.
- LCD Soundsystem at Brixton Academy
Another show at Brixton Academy. For some reason, I didn’t know about this show until I walked past the venue a few days before and saw the “sold out” signs. But a day or so later, I got an email from the venue offering tickets. So I snapped one up and had an amazing evening. It was the first time I’d seen them, but I strongly suspect it won’t be the last. That’s them in the photo at the top of this post.
- Roxy Music at the O2 Arena
Some years there are two shows that force me to the O2 Arena. And this was one of those years. I’ve been a fan of Roxy Music since the 70s but I’ve never seen them live. Honestly, it would have been better to have seen them in the 70s or 80s, but it was still a great show.
- Beabadoobee at Brixton Academy
Sometimes you go to see an artist because of one song and it just works out. This was one of those nights. In fact, it turns out I didn’t actually know “Coffee For Your Head” very well – I just knew the sample that was used in another artist’s record. But this was a great night and I hope to see her again very soon.
- Sugababes at Eventim Apollo
Another night of fabulous nostalgia. The Eventim Apollo seems to have become my venue of choice to see re-formed girl groups from the 80s and 90s – having seen Bananarama, All Saints and now The Sugababes there in recent years. They have a surprising number of hits (far more than I remembered before the show) and they put on a great show.
Not everything could make the top ten though. I think was the first year that I saw Stealing Sheep and they didn’t make the list (their stage shows just get weirder and weirder and the Moth Club wasn’t a great venue for it) and I was astonished to find myself slightly bored at the Nine Inch Nails show at Brixton Academy.
A few shows sit just outside of the top ten – St. Vincent at the Eventim Apollo, John Grant at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Damon Albarn at the Barbican spring to mind.
But, all in all, it was a good year for live music and I’m looking forward to seeing more than sixteen shows this year.
Did you see any great shows this year? Tell us about them in the comments.