Here's my favourite gigs of 2019 - and one clear winner - by a county mile.
Here's five to numero uno...
5 | Suede | Blackburn King Georges Hall | 16 April 2019
A tired Tuesday, a sparse crowd, but WHAT a gig.
Bands tend to not get better with age - unless you are Suede.
Their last two albums have blown me away and it's been a joy to reacquaint myself with the brilliance of Brett Anderson.
This gig was half full, or half empty depending on your viewpoint, with many fans opting to go the Manchester show a few days later.
The Beautiful Ones got straight to the point with an early treble of We Are The Pigs / So Young and Metal Mickey.
An awesome night which saw Brett bask in fan adoration, dive into the crowd and perform two songs acoustically. Magic.
4 | Erland Cooper | Lancaster Library | 17 November 2019
A voyage into the unknown. I only decided to go see this multi-instrumentalist the previous day.
And what a wondrous offering from Get it Loud in Libraries this chilly November afternoon.
Cooper's Orcadian rhythms swam in a dreamy spectacular sea.
One to say in years to come: "Erland Cooper's first UK solo tour and I WAS THERE".
(read my full review of Cooper's almighty all-at-sea afternoon).
3 | The Disco Bell Boys (Jarvis Cocker, Baxter Dury and Alexis Taylor) | DJ set | Les Bains Paris | 13 June 2019
I left my post at South Africa V China at the Parc Des Princes to make a dash to a new hotel opening.
Or that's what we thought it was. After negotiating the Metro I found myself in the midst of an intimate DJ set by three indie superstars spinning the discs.
Jarvis Cocker, Baxter Dury and Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) were actually in the same room together.
Me and Al swigged £9 jars of ale with not a concern of expense as were were in amazement at the tunes.
Panic set in when I 'lost' my wallet on the dance floor - swiftly cancelled my cards.
Then found my wallet several minutes later. Farcical and fantastic.
2 | Damien Dempsey | Vicar Street Dublin | 20 December 2019
I was lucky to be present for the soundcheck as Damo played Apple of My Eye, Wonder of You (Elvis Presley) and Factories.
There was only ten of us there for an audience with Ireland's greatest singer and it was magnificence personified.
The gig itself: 1400 Dubliners on Mad Friday paying homage at the Church of Damo.
It was wild, wondrous, boozy and brilliant.
1 | Sleaford Mods / LIINES | Brewery Arts Centre Kendal | 16 March 2019
Kendal will never see the like of it again.
Support act LIINES set the scene perfectly for Sleaford Mods who produced my gig of the year hands down.
The songs: yes - amazing - but it's the delivery that strikes you like an axe.
The Mods are explosive, stark and at times, highly comedic.
In my review at the time I wrote:
"Sleaford Mods mix Fearn’s brilliant beats with Williamson’s bolshy commentary on life in Britain.
"Subject matter for Williamson’s lyrics include drug abuse at a drug user’s funeral, despair down the dole office, TCR toy racing, and having two wheelie bins instead of one…
"It’s stunningly surreal watching him pogo across a stage as 400 worshippers pogo with him."