Editor’s Note: Annually, Parklife DC invites its contributors to name their Top 10 Concerts or choose their Top 10 Photos of the year.
Parklife is pleased Kyle Gustafson, an amazing photographer and Britpop champion, is participating once again this year with his 10 favorite shows of the year.
1) The Smile @ The National, Richmond, VA — 7/5/23
I saw Radiohead at Irving Plaza in June of 1997 (still the single best show I’ve ever seen) and I never thought I would see Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood in a venue that size ever again. Well, it actually happened this year. And it was amazing. I’m still thinking of the version of “Open The Floodgates” they played.
2) The Hives @ Union Stage — 10/31/23
The Hives continue to be one of the, if not the best live act on the planet. This was a special show. Given the small stage, Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist took the show into the crowd, performing on the barrier just as much as on the stage. This show was a triumph. Fortuitous scheduling had me in LA the same time as the band later on this tour so I saw them twice there. The DC show was the best.
3) The Walkmen @ The Atlantis — 5/31/23
The second ever show at The Atlantis! The Walkmen were amazing and any night you get to hear “The Rat” live is a great night. I spent the rest of the year trying to figure out a way to see them again but just couldn’t make it work. (Editor: Read our Parklife review.)
4) Franz Ferdinand @ The Anthem — 6/10/23
I have no excuse for sleeping on Franz Ferdinand as long as I have, but I finally checked them out this year and was blown away. Alex Kapranos is a whirlwind on stage and his band has tons of hits to play. I felt bad for The Pixies having to follow them.
5) My Morning Jacket @ The Anthem — 7/29/23
I have been waiting to hear MMJ play “Knot Comes Loose” for over 15 years and it finally happened.
6) Metric @ Merriweather Post Pavilion — 7/13/23
My wife and I went to this show to see our respective favorite bands (Garbage and Noel Gallagher) but Metric played the best set of the night. It was the perfect situation for them, a short 40 minute, all-killer, no-filler set that highlighted their strengths. “Now or Never Now” is now one of my 15 favorite songs ever.
7) Flaming Lips @ The Anthem — 5/25/23
They played Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots in full, so I’m probably cheating by putting them on this list, but it’s impossible to go see The Lips and not have the time of your life.
8) The Postal Service @ The Anthem — 9/6/23
Being in the building to hear a very raucous, very sold-out crowd sing “DC sleeps alone tonight” was a moment.
9) Wu-Tang Clan w/ Nas @ Capital One Arena — 9/26/23
I loved the pacing of this show, with the Wu and Nas alternating short sets, making for a fast paced show that kept everyone on their toes. The Meth reveal late in the show was incredible.
10) This is the Kit w/ Gruff Rhys @ Songbyrd Music House — 10/14/23
One new band I really took a liking to this year was This is the Kit. I fully admit that the only reason I was introduced to them was because Gruff Rhys was opening for them, but I took a real liking to them and their set at Songbyrd slayed. (Editor: Read our Parklife review.)