Congratulations to our winners!

We would just like to say a huge thank you to every one of you who has taken part in our live review competition over the past few weeks. We’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of reviews coming in, and also the fantastic standard!

Our winner of the top prize of $500 of festival tickets, eden.arbogast, blew us away with the detailed reviews of various artists, making us wish we’d gone to all of the recounted gigs! A huge well done to her. We’re sure the ticket money will be well spent, and can’t wait to hear what festival the funds are used for. It was difficult to choose, but here’s one of our favourite reviews of hers we thought we’d share with you:

Nightmare and the Cat, eden.arbogast

Nightmare and the Cat has managed to stay somewhat under the radar in today’s popular music scene, but they have steadily built a devout community with fans of underground indie artists since their formation in 2010.

Django Stewart, the band’s lead vocalist and resident hip-swayer, and his brother Sammy are the sons of Eurythmics’s Dave Stewart and Bananarama’s Siobhan Fahey. Nightmare and the Cat has, however, established a sound that is solely their own despite “the privilege in [their] father’s name,” as is mentioned in the song “Simple.” Nightmare and the Cat has mastered the art of intimacy and closeness in creating a live show. The resulting experience is mesmerizing. The band is often accompanied by artist Gary Baseman, who contributes visually and paints live on stage to create an unexpected uniqueness.

It is minutes into the set, and Django has already taken his shoes off: a signal to all that he is, in fact, ready to partake in some serious dancing. I am continually impressed by the entire band’s ability to engage their audience while remaining completely absorbed in their performance. Through prolonged eye contact with individual members of the crowd and continuous hand-holding, Django has earned his rightful share of female fans, but this is not to say the band’s catchy melodies and infectious rhythms haven’t attracted fans of both genders.

There is an overwhelming sense of community at Nightmare and the Cat shows that can be largely attributed to the band’s relatively small, yet devoted group of supporters who sincerely want to see them succeed. As friends dance on stage and embrace the members of the band during “Alvarado,” the final song of the set, I realize the sacred entity that is indie bands and the importance of keeping these tiny club shows with huge energy alive. Those who see Nightmare and the Cat truly appreciate the band’s efforts to provide their audience with the best show possible: one that exceeds the general expectations of what a concert should be like. Comfortable dancing shoes are also recommended.

The runner up of the competition, mimiagamah, showed us some awesome dedication, submitting countless reviews sharing the unique experiences of each show. From festivals of thousands of people, to intimate events it was a super impressive range from a true music fan. This is the one that we loved reading the most:

Twenty One Pilots, mimiagamah

I never knew a two-man show could create an atmosphere that feels like a full band making awesome music until I saw Twenty One Pilots perform on the first day of Lollapalooza last year. It had rained that morning, so the standing section in front of the stage was basically a muddy swamp – but that didn’t stop my friends from getting as close as possible to the front as we could. I’ve considered myself part of the Twenty One Pilots clique for quite some time, and I was so ecstatic that I was finally getting to see Tyler and Josh in action.

That concert was even better than I expected it to be, and it made me appreciate them even more than I already did. First of all, it’s probably good to note that Twenty One Pilots is not a normal duo. They do weird and crazy things while performing, and their sound in general is so different from mainstream music. So when the guys both came out in skeleton jackets all the way zipped up, I wasn’t surprised. They started with the opening song of their debut album Vessel, “Ode to Sleep” which got the crowd going crazy. We all tried to keep up with Tyler as he rapped, but he was just too good. From the start of the show to the end, there was a nonstop energy that emitted from the stage and spread throughout the thousands who came out to watch them. Because there were only two of them up there, Twenty One Pilots made sure to make the most of all the space they had on the stage.

Tyler sang, rapped, played the piano, keyboard, ukulele, and other instruments while Josh played the drums. They played with so much energy and passion and had everyone screaming the lyrics to all the songs while jumping along with them. There was never a dull moment: Tyler would jump off the top of his piano, extend his hand out into the crowd multiple times and move back and forth across the stage, all while singing his heart out. Josh also showed us what he had by doing back flips off the top of the piano. Basically the whole show was this awesome party watching and listening to these two guys show off their amazing talent. By far the coolest part of the show was when both Tyler and Josh came out on two platforms that people in the crowd held up for them. They also had two drums held up by the crowd, and they just started playing on top of us! They played this amazing beat that was coordinated really well. I was close enough to them to help hold up the platform, and it was amazing seeing them so close to everyone, playing as if they did that every day. Even after that awesome performance on the crowd, Twenty One Pilots were still going strong.

Closer to the end of the concert, Tyler had everyone crouch down and wait until he told us to jump up. There was so much adrenaline rushing through me the moment everyone started jumping together. That show left me breathless, high off excitement over everything that I witnessed – not to mention muddy.  But I wasn’t mad. I remember my friends and I walked out of the stage area still dazed, most likely attracting people’s attention, wondering why we had mud up to our knees. If I had the chance to relive that concert I would, mud and all.

As well as the top prizes, we had plenty of runners up who were awarded lots of swag ranging from Spotify subscriptions to festival survival packs. There are too many great ones to share here but you can check them all out on artists pages across Songkick! To round things up though, here are a couple more that we thought rocked. 

Justice, HavDecent

Justice is the greatest thing to come out of Paris since Daft Punk. In my opinion, they have earned their place in the Electronic Music hall of fame. These aren’t your typical club/party kind of DJs, These guys sell out arenas worldwide. There music is bigger than a region or genre as it connects to all sorts of people throughout the world. Much like Daft Punk, Justice’s shows are an immersive experience sure to satisfy all the senses.

Their unique sound is a gritty mix of guitar riffs and hard synth. They are heavily influenced by Prog Rock and New-wave. From their massive stage to the excellent lighting effects this show felt unlike any event I ever been to. Even if you never heard a Justice Song before it is not difficult to get into the show. Justice is a French duo consisting of Gaspard Michel Andre Auge and Xavier de Rosnay.

They are probably the most successful groups to come out of Paris’ famed “Ed Banger Records”. Some of Justice’s biggest hits include D.A.N.C.E., Civilization and Genesis. If you have a chance to go to a Justice show you should definitely go. They rarely ever tour in the states and this is one act that you will not want to miss!

Broken Bells, kmartini

If the name wasn’t already being used by another PacNW band, I would venture to say Broken Bells could have been named Modest Mouse. This band was so tight, so entertaining and so humble that is was a little surreal. First of all you’ve got James Mercer, the lead singer of one of the most influential indie bands of the past decade, The Shins, standing stage left instead of front and center where you’d expect him. Then you have one of the most influential and arguably most talented artist/producers of our time, Danger Mouse, in the background…on drums.

This line-up was filled out by the 5 other unexpected musicians on various instruments. Danger Mouse did switch it up from time to time…coming up front to play the keyboard and even switching over to guitar, but never once did he try to take the spotlight or even look at the crowd. This band had no right to sound so good and make it look so effortless. Sure, Danger Mouse and James Mercer are seasoned veterans of the indie rock show, but to perform so well with a full 7-piece band after being together less than a year? That’s just unheard of. We got to The Gothic pretty early and entered the venue as soon as the doors opened. This was a first for me, but I was there with my wife and wanted to get one of those balcony seats for this show.

We were lucky enough to get 4 seats for ourselves and the other couple we went with. This was a perfect show to watch from the comfort of our own little space with a server delivering drinks the whole time. The show opened with “The Morning Benders” and they were the perfect opening act. Not great by any means, but since I got over the shock of them being young Asian kids at SXSW, I was able to sit back and enjoy their set. It was a little heavy on the mellow songs (I heard a girl outside say there music would be good to listen to at home while crying and masturbating,) but they ended it with a bang and left us ready for the main act. I wasn’t sure what expectations to have for Broken Bells. Every once in awhile an album is released that I listen to once and discard even though there is a lot of hype around it. But then I come back to these albums and I wonder how I could have missed the genius there. (Examples are, Bon Iver‘s “For Emma, Forever Ago,” The National‘s “Alligator,” Tom Wait‘s “Real Gone” and now Broken Bells‘ “Broken Bells.”) I love this album, but to be honest, it’s not an album I would have really needed to see live. But I heard a live broadcast from the Shores at SXSW and then I heard everyone rave about their live set and I just had to check it out. The ticket sales for The Gothic show (which sold out within a week) reconfirmed that this was a band to see live. By the time the first song ended, I knew I was in for a great show.

They sounded like they do on record, but they had energy that cannot be felt through stereo speakers. Danger Mouse‘s afro shadow on the backdrop, James Mercer giving a shout out to his parents and sister who were in the audience, having a full band onstage and the designs and light show all added to the incredible Gorillaz meets U2, plus The Shins meets Gnarls Barkley soundtrack. A soundtrack that included material from their only album as well as a couple covers. One of these covers, “Crimson and Clover” was dedicated to James‘ sister “because she hates this song!” I guarantee she was the only one in the audience who hated this version! The show ended with a Danger Mouse wave. It came a little earlier than I would have expected, but it was appropriate. A simple ending to a simply amazing show.

Thanks again to everyone who took part, it’s been an awesome community effort and we hope that you enjoy reading them whilst browsing Songkick as much as we do.

Although the contest has now finished, you can still review artists after you’ve seen them by clicking on the review button on the artist page (check it out below). All accepted reviews will feature on artist pages for other fans to see when they’re on Songkick.com. So next time you get back from a great gig, make sure to spread the word to other fans by submitting your review.

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