What can be said for a year that began with so much promise but ends, well, like we are all feeling stuck in an alternate dimension. Looking back on my calendar which went so off the rails after two and a half months in, it really does look like a glimpse into a world that should have been but one that’s now alternate history.
But even in this bizarro world of COVID-19 there was some great music created at homes, online, socially distanced, and even on the streets! There is nothing that can beat the feel of a crowded show, the thrill of being there, and the joyous exhaustion that follows, but this past year we saw people pulling together – giving what they could – to keep live music alive despite every roadblock tossed in its way.
Since these lists are often limited by “best of” or Top 10, I want to include, well, all of those performances I caught this past year. There weren’t many, but each one I relive when I hear a song from a brilliant artist I’ve seen or go through photos from the past year. Here are my Top 12 Musical Moments of 2020 in chronological order.
As a fan of live music, going from seeing a show at least twice weekly to no shows at all for about eight months has been rough, but it’s nothing compared to what venues and artists have gone through in that time. It’s been a year of live-streaming, fundraisers, and trying to find new ways of keeping the making of music and the creation of these unique communal experiences alive through these difficult times.
One of those ways that have emerged in recent months is the advent of drive-in concerts.
Trampled by Turtles performs at Baltimore Soundstage on Feb. 22, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)
What separates one band from the next might be the degree to which it challenges itself within the confines of whatever genre it is pigeonholed — and exercising creativity while respecting particular forms and traditions of your craft isn’t always easy.
For going on two decades, Duluth, Minnesota-based Trampled by Turtles has earned a reputation in the studio and on the road for testing the upper limits of bluegrass power and tempo while simultaneously honing the sweetest harmonies to ever come out of the Zenith City.
We Were Promised Jetpacks performs at Baltimore Soundstage on Feb. 8, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)
We Were Promised Jetpacks, an indie rock band from Edinburgh, Scotland, recently visited the Charm City for a performance at Baltimore Soundstage as part of their current tour through the United States, and Parklife DC was on hand to capture images and take in the show. Continue Reading
Tacocat performs at U Street Music Hall on May 19, 2019, in this top photo by Katherine Gaines.
Editor’s Note: This year, we asked our bloggers to name their Top 10 shows of 2019 or choose their Top 10 photos of the year. We will run them over the course of mid-December as our Best of the Year posts.
Choosing my favorite photos is always a difficult task. I narrowed it down to shows I shot specifically for Parklife for this blog post.
Pigface performs at Baltimore Soundstage on Nov. 20, 2019. (Photo by Katherine Gaines)
Pigface is a musical juggernaut like nothing else — a long running collective of rotating musicians anchored by none other than Martin Atkins. The supergroup is undertaking an extensive tour of the United States for the first time in 14 years, and the collective dropped by Baltimore Soundstage recently.
Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October (Photo by Chris Barber)
I had the pleasure of seeing Blue October for the second time this year recently. Justin Furstenfeld and company made a stop in Baltimore at one of my personal favorite venues — Baltimore Soundstage — as they finished the last few dates of their current tour.