I’m 28 years old, so I’ve had a number of years to find and listen to a ton of music. I’ve also had plenty of time to go and see a bunch of these bands live in concert. So this week, we’re taking a break from 11 straight weeks of anime girls and having a more basic Top 10 list.
This is my Top 10 bands that I’ve seen live in concert!
This California alternative rock band was the opening band at the first concert I ever went to, the headliner will be showing up further down the list. I had no idea who these guys were, but after their set, I certainly made a point to remember them. Playing badass songs like My Goddess, Ugly and Slow Drain really got my attention and their set got me more than ready for the headlining act. It’s a shame that they’re still not playing today, presumed disbanded since 2010. But that’s how a lot of bands go.
If a single person knows who these guys are, that’s freaking awesome! But this small band had their moments, before I ever saw them in a bar, they actually opened for Bon Jovi after winning a contest and had other success in various music contests. But it never seemed to translate into anything major for the group, which is a crying shame to me as they’re one of my favourite bands ever and that’s including all these major bands I love. But I caught them randomly one night when I was filming with a few college classmates for a project, we were filming a specific band and A Thousand Cures played before them. And they were absolutely incredible, for a band considered to be so small, they sounded so professional, their music was so refined and genuinely felt like these guys were a major act in North America. But the music industry is a cruel mistress…
I went to a major show earlier this year to see two bands I’d been wanting to see for years. I didn’t know Saint Asonia was even on the card and I’d never heard of them at that point. The first song played, Fairy Tale and lead singer Adam Gontier (ex-member of Three Days Grace) came out in this badass white/black striped looking suit like he was heavy metal Beetlejuice and I was hooked right off the bat. It took me a couple songs to realize that the singer was Adam from Three Days Grace and they then proceeded to play some Three Days Grace songs, which brought me heavy nostalgia as well. Their music is heavy as all hell and their set that day really got me pumped up, as if I needed to be for the bands I was seeing after them, but hey, no complaints from me. Because of that show, I now listen to these guys a ton.
Sometimes I don’t want to rock my ass off, sometimes I want to just mellow out. And no band has done that better than New York’s The Slackers, a ska band that releases albums and performs like it’s before the 1960s. The show I watched of this unique group live they performed in white suits, like I’d suddenly been teleported into a jazz club in the 1940s. It was such a cool show because it was so chill, I didn’t have to worry about mosh pits or any of that shit, it was a just chill out and listen kind of show and I loved it.
I am so glad I managed to see this band before Mike Portnoy’s exit in 2010, because ever since then I’ve been rather biased in not being as interested in Dream Theater as I was when he was still the drummer of the band. But I managed to catch the guys in the late 2000s when they opened for the act that is #1 on this list. And they played a number of songs I’d wanted to hear live, such as As I Am, Constant Motion, and Pull Me Under. And it was a fantastic set, one that I am so happy I was able to get to see.
The band that followed Saint Asonia at that show, Alter Bridge is a band that I’d been dying to see for years and years, ever since first hearing them because of their song Metalingus, which I only knew of because it was the entrance music to WWE wrestler, Edge. Luckily for me too, they played that song during the set, which blew my mind, I did not expect that song to come out during that set. But most importantly, they played my favourite song of theirs that isn’t even a single they ever released for radio play. That song was Blackbird and if you’re familiar with Alter Bridge’s music, you know just how fucking epic that 8-minute track is. The only thing I wish was that the sun was down when they played, that song at night would’ve been incredible.
Another band few people will know of. But if you watched the movie Eurotrip, you might’ve actually heard this band before, they were the ones behind the song Get Loose. I managed to catch these guys once at a small show that I was actually seeing a friend of mine play at, their band being the opening act. I’d heard of The Salads before, I knew about Get Loose, but when they played their set, they became my favourite band instantly. One of my favourite records of all time is their record, The Big Picture, one of the few albums where I can easily listen to every single track on the album without wanting to skip a song. They are such a fun band to watch live and here’s a funny story:
So I’m straight-edge, I’ve never smoked or done any drugs, nor have I ever been drunk. But I came very close to breaking that streak when after that very show we were all hanging outside and the guys from the band showed up to chat with us all as well. And then the lead singer of the band who’s standing next to me, holds a joint in front of me. I had to make a split-second decision, do I refuse because I’m straight-edge or do I accept it from the lead singer of what just became my favourite band? It was close, but I ended up refusing.
Here’s a band I didn’t think I was ever going to see, mostly because they weren’t a band I was going to go out of my way to see. But my best friend really wanted to go and got a few tickets for us, so we went. And boy am I glad I did. For anyone that doesn’t know who Reel Big Fish are, they’re a legendary ska band, known for having some of the funniest stage shows, filled to the brim with jokes and the occasional pants getting pulled down. Again, they’re a ska band…they opened the show with ENTER FUCKING SANDMAN!!! Yup, a ska band opened with a metal song and they didn’t cover it as a ska song, they played it exactly as the song is supposed to be. From that point on, I was sold and minus the bitch that kept elbowing me from behind because she wanted to get to the very front, it was a fantastic set.
The only group I’ve seen twice. This was the headlining act to the first concert I ever went to live and the band that followed Alter Bridge at the most recent concert I went to. The first time I saw them, I was so excited, they were my favourite band at the time and they did not disappoint. At 14 years old I’d seen my first show and left so goddamn happy. The only sour note for me was that the didn’t play Blow Me Away, a track they provided for the video game HALO 2. Fast forward 14 years later to this year and I’m seeing them again. Halfway into the set after a medley of random tracks like Star Wars’ Imperial March, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and Pantera’s Walk, all of a sudden I heard some background noise that sounded like a low-toned choir. And then…after 14 long years, I finally got to hear them play Blow Me Away. What a moment that was for me. Couple that with them playing the song off their new album I didn’t expect to hear live, Ashes of Eden, their set was very emotional for me, nostalgia mixed with an at that time depressed Adam who really needed something to get him back into the game.
But even with that emotional set from Breaking Benjamin, nothing compares to being able to see who I will argue until the end of time, one of the biggest music acts in history, Iron Maiden. After watching countless metal documentaries, seeing Sam Dunn and Banger Films’ documentary of Iron Maiden’s Flight 666 tour, I’d been dying to see this band. If there was any musical act I’d have at the top of my “bands to see before I die” list, they are that band at the top of the list. What made their set so amazing though was actually the fact that they didn’t play all the old stuff, the majority of their set was newer tracks, stuff I hadn’t even considered listening to, tracks like Ghost of the Navigator, Brave New World, No More Lies and the track dedicated to the late Ronnie James Dio, who had recently passed away when that concert took place, Blood Brothers. They still played a few hits like Number of the Beast and others, but it was that newer setlist that exposed me to what’s actually my favourite era of Iron Maiden. I’m one of very few that has Brave New World as my favourite Iron Maiden album of all-time and that concert was the reason for it. I still haven’t forgotten about that show and I might never forget it, it was one of the happiest moments of my entire life.
And that’s the list! Thank you so much for reading this week’s Top 10. So in the comments below, I want to hear your favourite concerts that you’ve been to and why.