Jessica’s Top Performances of 2013

This year was a fantastic year of concerts for me. I saw a total of 15 concerts with 44 artists which is the most I’ve seen in a single year. All these great performances (I wasn’t disappointed once) made it a pretty daunting task to narrow it down, but somehow I managed to do it.

10: Metric – November 21 | The Palace | Auburn Hills, MI
I would get excited every time I saw that Metric was coming to town, until I looked at the price of tickets and realized that I just didn’t have the money to go. Fortunately things changed this year, I had been saving up for the upcoming Paramore show and Metric just happened to be one of the opening acts. The fact that there were not people dancing the entire time confounds me, of course I usually find myself dancing to these guys when I’m blasting their music in my car so maybe I’m just biased.

9: Pacific Air – June 24 | Saint Andrew’s Hall | Detroit, MI
Saw that these guys were opening for Atlas Genius and wanted to check them out before going to the show. Instantly fell in love with their album, Stop Talking and was, honestly, a bit more excited to see them perform than I was for Atlas Genius that night. They didn’t disappoint. Lead singer, Ryan Lawhon’s dance moves elevated the short set of upbeat, catchy music. I will definitely be standing front row, center when Pacific Air finally makes it back into town.

8: Eisley – June 27 | Saint Andrew’s Hall | Detroit, MI / Sherri DuPree-Bemis – December 5 | The Shelter | Detroit, MI
A nice, mellow concert experience, especially when compared with the other bands that they toured with this year but just as enjoyable as any rock show I’ve been to. Eisley has a great mixture of beautiful, whimsical love songs with some great angst ridden rock. They sound just as clean and polished live as they do on their albums which makes for a great night of live music. Seeing Sherri perform some of my favorite songs during her acoustic tour made my Eisley experience this year even better. Her voice is unique in that she sounds at home whether singing sappy love songs, unapologetic breakup anthems, or a macabre Christmas carols.

7: Andrew McMahon – January 26 | The Fillmore | Detroit, MI
I was pretty bummed when Something Corporate broke up before I got a chance to see them live. That’s why seeing McMahon’s name as the opener for Fun. back in January was sort of a dream come true for me. I’ve followed all his music from Something Corporate to Jack’s Mannequin and now onto his solo work. Andrew has a way with words and music that musicians twice his age never master. I could listen to just him and his piano any night.

It was a tough call between the next two artists and I ended up not being able to decide who I enjoyed more this year. They toured together which made for a pretty perfect, albeit way too hot, summer night where I got to see them both perform.

6: Tegan and Sara – July 16 | Meadow Brook Music Festival | Rochester Hills, MI / December 11 | The Fillmore | Detroit, MI
One of those bands that I listened to casually before falling in love with them after seeing them live. This year I was lucky enough to see them twice, both times getting full sets. They fill the gap between songs with playful banter and some insight into their songs which is one of my favorite things about seeing them perform live.

6: Fun. – January 26 | The Fillmore | Detroit, MI /  July 16 | Meadow Brook Music Festival | Rochester Hills, MI
Nate Ruess is like a little kid in the candy store when he’s up on stage in front of his fans. I saw them open up for other bands before their newest album, Some Nights, blew up in 2012 making it nearly impossible to get tickets before they sell out. I stood in the freezing cold to see them in January and lost about 10 lbs when I saw them in July on probably one of the hottest days of the summer at an outside venue. It as more than worth it both times.

5: You Me At Six – May 1 | The Fillmore | Detroit, MI / October 14 | The Shelter | Detroit, MI
Their album, Sinners Never Sleep, won me over a few years ago and they were the opener on a tour that year but Detroit was the one date that they weren’t going to make it to. Disappointed doesn’t begin to cover how I felt when I saw that. Thankfully I made up for it by seeing them twice this year first as part of the Spring Fever Tour and then headlining their own dates. The second time was made slightly better by the intimate atmosphere that The Shelter provides and getting a full set from the boys that included some of my favorite tracks. Having lead singer, Josh Franceschi, crowd surf from the bar didn’t hurt either.

4: Manchester Orchestra – November 19 | Saint Andrew’s Hall | Detroit, MI
The two year wait from the last time they were here was well worth, although they better not wait that long before coming back. I get chills just listening to them in my car so I have no idea how to even describe what seeing them live does to me. I swear Andy Hull’s beard is filled with magic because everything he does is pretty amazing (Right Away, Great Captain! and Bad Books).

3: Paramore – May 10 | The Fillmore | Detroit, MI / November 21 | The Palace | Auburn Hills, MI
Just today I had a coworker tell me that she had seen a Paramore performance on TV and thought of me. “The lead singer, yeah, she’s crazy” were my friend’s exact words when describing it. It is a fairly accurate assessment when watching Hayley Williams bounce around the stage and it’s one of the reasons I keep going back. I saw my first Paramore show in 2009 and have attended every show in Michigan since. Not only has their music grown in scale, but their shows have gotten bigger and better as well. Moving from smaller venues to arenas bringing screens and choirs with them to help out, one thing remains the same: they love their job and their fans.

2: Saves the Day – September 17 | The Magic Stick | Detroit, MI
Got to see these guys the same day as their newest album dropped which was pretty amazing even if it did mean that I didn’t know all the lyrics to the new songs that they played. I’ve been a fan from pretty much the beginning but only just my act together this year and finally got out to see them. The Magic Stick was the perfect, intimate setting for the show and the boys busted out a set of 30 songs from across their expansive discography, playing just about every one of my favorite songs.

1: Say Anything – June 27 | Saint Andrew’s Hall | Detroit, MI / Max Bemis – December 5 | The Shelter | Detroit, MI
I challenge anyone to go to a Max Bemis / Say Anything concert and not immediately become a fan. It all comes down to Bemis who can command an audience like no one I have ever seen before. His endless energy and excitement to be on that stage is contagious and spreads through the audience like wildfire. While the rest of my list was hard to get the order nailed down, it was a no-brainer which performance was my favorite of the year.