Every year in Providence, there are plenty of unforgettable shows that’ll leave you in a state of astonishment and bliss. Nights of excitement and energy that seem to never leave you. With legends, diamonds in the rough and local up-and-comers gracing the many stages in The Creative Capital, it’s safe to say that 2014 was another great year for live music in our little city. Therefore, here are my Top 10 Providence Shows of the year:
10.) The Devil Makes Three @ Fete 4/18 An initial treat for all Providence music fans on this night was seeing Joe Fletcher and Brown Bird’s MorganEve Swain sharing the stage as part of The Wrong Reasons to kick off the show and The Devil Makes Three were the cherry on top with an incredible set that lasted nearly two hours. When this folk trio from Santa Cruz, Calif., gets together, people start dancing and going absolutely crazy. They absolutely did this time around at the big Ballroom at Fete.
9.) Atlantic Thrills Album Release Show @ Dusk 2/1 A show that almost didn’t happen, Providence garage rock ragers Atlantic Thrills celebrated the release of their highly anticipated self-titled debut album in front of a packed house at Dusk. With an all-local bill that also included revolution rockers Ravi Shavi, surf punks Gymshorts and shoegaze dreamers Littlefoot, this night was a complete riot from the start. I’ll never forget the scene of nearly 100 people dancing while Atlantic Thrills were blowing the roof off the place with “Acid Rain.”
8.) Roz and The Rice Cakes “Need To Feed” Album Release Show @ The Met 4/4 (I know The Met is in Pawtucket but since it’s a stone’s throw away from the city it counts as a Providence venue) If this show didn’t make people believe in the buzz around the music scene in Providence, I don’t know what will. For a person who has been following The Rice Cakes since they were first starting out, seeing them nearly sell out a place like The Met was jaw dropping. They had a few cool bands with them too — Richmond, Va., psychedelic math heads Houdan The Mystic, Providence rock ‘n’ roll supergroup Dr. Jones & The Shiners and psych-folkers The Low Anthem rounded out one hell of a night. Seeing people jumping up and down while The Rice Cakes were playing “Magma” was quite the sight.
7.) KRS-One @ Simon’s 677 4/16 Now I’m not the biggest fan of shows that have eight acts with most of them not getting paid and half of them sucking, but when a hip-hop legend comes to town you have to take notice. With “Tha Teacha” took the stage at Simon’s on this night there was an incomparable feeling of electricity resonating throughout the room. Getting the crowd revved up with classics like “South Bronx” and “My Philosophy” and then having a tribute to “The Godfather Of Soul” as the finale, this was a hip-hop show like none other.
6.) Atmosphere @ Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel 11/18 Another spectacular hip-hop show was brought to the legendary Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel when Minneapolis, Minn., duo Atmosphere came to town. With Slug leading the way with jams like “GodLovesUgly,” “Reflections” and “The Woman With The Tattoed Hands” and finishing everything it off with a thunderous rendition of “Trying To Find A Balance,” the packed crowd was crazed. Great vibes all around, it was a pleasure finally seeing an independent hip-hop icon live.
5.) Dinosaur Jr. & King Buzzo @ The Met 7/11 It’s rare when you magically get to see a double headliner on a bill anywhere nowadays, but when The Melvins’ King Buzzo and Dinosaur Jr. shared the stage at The Met it was incredible. Buzzo started things off acoustically as part of a special tour this year and then Dinosaur Jr. came on with a wall of amps for a ridiculously loud experience. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Dinosaur Jr. live a few times before this night and this time around was absolutely the best.
4.) Bob Dylan @ The Providence Performing Arts Center 11/15 In this day and age, there are music legends and then there’s Bob Dylan. The man is a little older and he has changed his tune a bit since his glory days in the ’60s and ’70s, but on this night he still proved that he can put on one hell of a show. “Workingman’s Blues #2,” “Tangled Up In Blue,” “Love Sick” and “Simple Twist Of Fate” highlighted an amazing set and an encore of “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “Stay With Me” capped off a perfect night.
3.) Queens Of The Stone Age @ The Providence Performing Arts Center 7/14 Along with housing a legend, The PPAC also housed one of the best rock acts around today with Queens Of The Stone Age this year. They kicked off their set with raucous effect when “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar but I Feel Like A Millionaire” blasted off the stage and numbers such as “Little Sister,” “If I Had A Tail” and “Go With The Flow” were part of an obliterating performance. Living up to the billing and the fame, Queens Of The Stone Age gave Providence music fans the time of their lives.
2.) Mastodon, Gojira & Kvelertak @ Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel 10/30 It’s perfectly fitting to see a metal show around the time of Halloween and the night before All Hallow’s Eve at Lupo’s was insane when metal monsters Mastodon, Gojira, and Kvelertak rolled into town. Crowd surfing, drunken shenanigans and flat out mayhem was abundant while each band had a blistering set that left me in awe. An absolute gem of a night that no metalhead would ever forget.
1.) Celebrating Dave Lamb @ The Columbus Theatre 4/8 One huge blemish for the Providence music scene and music in general this year was the loss of Brown Bird’s Dave Lamb to leukemia. He was loved and adored by many, and fans had the opportunity to pay their respects to Dave and his family through a free show at The Columbus Theatre featuring Joe Fletcher, Death Vessel, Alec K. Redfearn & The Eyesores and Last Good Tooth. Two things I’ll never forget from this night was the humungous line of people waiting outside of the theater and Joe Fletcher leading the performers in a haunting rendition of Tom Waits’ “Come On Up To The House” for an epic finale to an emotional evening. It was more than just a show, it was a celebration of a man who touched so many lives with his music and it was a community coming together to rally around the loss of one of their own.
2014 was a magnificent year for going out and about around Providence. What will 2015 have in store? Well you might just have to walk around and see for yourself.