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.
The Front Bottoms (Photo courtesy Baltimore Soundstage)
In August, The Front Bottoms released In Sickness & In Flames, the band’s fifth full-length studio album. Now, guitarist Brian Sella and drummer Mat Uychich are playing socially distanced drive-in shows, with a date at the Frederick Fairgrounds on Wednesday, Oct. 28, presented by Baltimore Soundstage!
Marco Benevento shakes up The 8×10 on June 14, 2018. (Photo by Shantel M. Breen)
Editor’s Note: This year, we asked our bloggers to name their Top 10 shows of 2018 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.
This year has been a music filled year for me. I have managed to make it to over 80 shows in 2018 and some of these shows I had the pleasure of reviewing for Parklife DC. As I wrap up my concert calendar for this year, I started reflecting on my most memorable shows for 2018. I focused on shows that I felt were excited to photograph or the performance left an impression on me. In most cases, the shows in my Top 10 were the first time seeing the band perform and consequently, winning me over as a new fan. Listed in chronological order, my Top 10 will take you through 2018 and hopefully remind you of some great musical memories as well!
The Front Bottoms headline The Anthem on Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Shantel Breen)
The Front Bottoms returned to DC exactly one year after their last visit at The Fillmore Silver Spring. This time, they stopped by The Anthem — and they didn’t come alone! The Front Bottoms teamed up with Manchester Orchestra for a dynamic set from both bands on Saturday.
The Front Bottoms released Going Grey, their fourth full-length studio album, last year via Fueled By Ramen. The trio constantly have been touring since, and they hit The Anthem on Saturday, Nov. 24, with Manchester Orchestra.
The Front Bottoms perform at Baltimore Soundstage on May 23, 2018. (Photo by Shantel Mitchell Breen)
The Front Bottoms returned to the area performing a two-part set that included three of their releases played in their entirety. When I arrived at Baltimore Soundstage this past Wednesday for The Front Bottoms show, the line was wrapped around the building. Fans formed a line at least three hours before doors so they would be front and center for this performance! There is no denying that The Front Bottoms have a solid fanbase.