Live Shows of 2016
A rundown of all the shows I went to this year and each of their highlights.
I saw a bunch of artists I love who I never I thought I would see in my life. Here’s how my year went in shows.
January 28th: Julia Holter with Circuit des Yeux @ The Irenic
Highlight: Julia Holter looking up at the second level of the venue while she sang “Betsy on the Roof” as if she was calling out to that Betsy. I also wrote about this!
February 26th: Carly Rae Jepsen @ City National Grove, Anaheim
Highlight: Holding on the the lyrics of “When I Needed You” as if I got dumped yesterday. I also wrote about this!
March 20th: Natalia Lafourcade @ Observatory North Park
Highlight: A room full of fans passionately singing along to “Hasta La Raiz,” a song until this year enjoyed in solitude. I also wrote about this!
April 30th: Four Tet with Ben UFO, Floating Points, Madlib, Daphni @ Shrine Expo Hall, Los Angeles
Highlight: Just hearing good house tunes for hours; seeing DJs you admired for years hang out with each other by the turntables. (Caught Ben at the end and had to leave before Daphni…)
May 5th: Javiera Mena with Gepe @ Cincoteco Dos
Highlight: Javiera Mena and her dancers posing with their light sabers during “Espada.” I also wrote about this!
May 12th: Beyonce with DJ Khaled @ Qualcomm Stadium
Highlight: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should Be All Feminists” speech ringing throughout the entire stadium, pitch black but the monolithic pink text behind Beyonce; DJ Khaled playing DJ Snake’s “Turn Down for What” and realizing how powerful of a party tune that single is.
July 6th: Mitski with Japanese Breakfast & Jay Som @ Observatory, Santa Ana
Highlight: Mitski covering Calvin Harris’ “How Deep Is Your Love?”; Japanese Breakfast assigning Hogwarts schools to each city; Jay Som pointing out how awkward of a match it is to play side stage to a Mack 10 show on the same night.
July 9th: White Lung @ Casbah
Highlight: A euphoria from “Below” like I just experienced the hardest shoegaze song — and then Mish Barber-Way taking a swag of her tequila, going “OK, now that I have that song out of the way, I don’t have to try anymore,” and going in on the rest of the band’s set. I also wrote about this show!
July 28th: Nite Jewel @ Soda Bar
July 30th: Julieta Venegas @ House of Blues
Highlight: The crowd singing along to the MTV Unplugged-like version of “Lento” to the point they were singing over Julieta.
August 14th: Demi Lovato with Nick Jonas @ Sleep Train Amphitheater
Highlight: “Confident” making perfect sense on the live stage, and “Cool for the Summer” closing out the night.
August 26th: Perfume @ The Wiltern, Los Angeles
Highlight: The three descending from above to the massive tune of “Cosmic Explorer” after watching the intro video of Kashiyuka, A-chan and Nocchi preparing their spaceship for launch to start the show while “Navigate” booted up; I had my hands clasped to my face because I was so starstruck.
August 28th: FYF Fest, Day 2 — Blood Orange, The Black Madonna, Young Thug, LCD Soundsystem
Highlight: Turning over to talk to my friend Tristan at the Blood Orange set as we hung out IRL for the first time, and looking back at the stage to see, holy shit, Nelly Furtado singing with Dev Hynes for “Hadron Collider”; Trying to make clear of who just stepped on stage to sing with The Black Madonna only to realize — oh my god — it’s fucking Robyn. I also wrote about this!
September 22nd: Descendents @ SOMA
Highlight: Parents bringing their kids to the show, and Milo singing about fighting against his biological clock at his age while playing music that still sound like the ones he and his friends made before they were old enough to drink.
September 25th: Tegan and Sara with Shura @ Observatory North Park
Highlight: Reworked versions of Tegan and Sara’s old stuff, my favorite being “Nineteen” re-imagined as a haunted piano ballad; Shura’s “What’s It Gonna Be?” I also wrote about this!
October 15th: The 1975 @ Open Air Theater
Highlight: The fans losing their shit for every little thing Matty Healy did on stage.
October 16th: The Julie Ruin with Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz @ Music Box
Highlight: Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Kill” for the encore.
October 25th: Kanye West @ The Forum, Los Angeles
Highlight: The Taylor Swift verse of “Famous” rewinded back — three fucking times in a row.
November 3rd: Viva presents Javiera Mena with Francisca Valenzula and Marineros @ Multiply, Los Angeles
Highlight: All the Otra Era non-singles, an unexpected one being “Pido”; Francisca Valenzuela is a born performer.
November 19th: Neko Case @ Poway Performance Center of Arts
Highlight: Neko and her band being so proud of their handcrafted wood-log souvenir they made for parting band member.