Our Top Shows of 2013

If we'd listened to other people-- and yes, if we'd listened to ourselves-- we wouldn't have seen some of this year's top shows. That's because we heard things like "They were terrible when I saw them."
But one person's yuck is another person's "Fuck, that was great." And they were-- to us. So here they are, in chronological order: our top shows of 2013.

Little Foot Long Foot with The Blue Stones (Phog Lounge): Two bands doing no-holds-barred blues rock right.

Joan Smith of Little Foot Long Foot

The Blue Stones: Justin Tessier and Tariq Jafar

By Divine Right and Shotgun Jimmie (Phog Lounge): From By Divine Right's transcendent alt rock to Shotgun Jimmie's homegrown bites of punk-inflected pop, this show was a wonderful combination of heaven and earth. (Click the link for the full show review.)

Jose Contreras of By Divine Right

Shotgun Jimmie

Boats with Imaginary Cities and Foam Lake (Phog Lounge): The tags on their Bandcamp page say "pop awful crap noise songs Winnipeg," but Boats' A Fairway Full of Miners was one of our top albums for 2013. (Click the link for the full show review.)

Rusty Matayas and Marti Sarbit of Imaginary Cities

Foam Lake
Ashley Roch and Mat Klachefsky of Boats

Rory Ellis and Ashley Roch of Boats

Rory Ellis of Boats

Shout Out Out Out Out (Magic Stick Lounge): One of those shows we can't believe we were lucky enough to see and hear. Not only did this amazing dual-drummer band from Edmonton play like we were an audience of 200-- instead of 20 or so-- they closed with "In The End It's Your Friends." Guys, you should think of coming back to Detroit for a little thing called Movement.



Suuns with The Darcys (Phog Lounge): We wondered how Suuns' dark and dreamy electronic explorations would translate live. The answer: superbly (especially in a nearly pitch-black Capitol Theatre a few months later at Phog Phest 5). We knew and already liked The Darcys, but didn't know how much we loved them until this show.

The Darcys

The Darcys
The Darcys





Colin Stetson (The Blind Pig): You haven't experienced the possibilities of music if you haven't seen Colin Stetson. Life-altering.




Shooting Guns (Phog Lounge): These super nice guys from Saskatoon won't win any fashion awards, but they deserve an award for their unabashedly vintage psych rock.



We Are Wolves, The Danks, Hot Panda (NXNE): Our mini top show list from NXNE 2013. "We couldn't take our ears off (We Are Wolves') pop-punk... We couldn't take our eyes off them either." The Danks' flawless set proved our don't judge a band by one show theory. And Hot Panda left our jaws on the floor (not from moshing, fortunately). (Click on the links for the full show reviews.)

Mac DeMarco (The Blind Pig): He's had a reputation for freaking out the neighbourhood with some racy and bizarre on- (and off) stage antics, but we didn't see any and he doesn't need any. His slightly off-kilter take on alt pop with lots of personality plus Peter Sagar's great guitar work are more than enough. Watch for a new album from Mac soon.


Mac DeMarco


Peter Sagar

Aidan Knight (The Garden Bowl): You know how some bands don't translate very well live? For us, Aidan Knight was just the opposite. We find their albums a little too introverted. Hearing them live literally brought the songs to life, and we were absolutely sold by their musicianship.

Aidan Knight

Julia Wakal

David Barry of Aidan Knight

The Highest Order with Zula (PJ's Lager House): What made this show so great was (1) Zula was the best opening band we heard all year and (2) watching everyone at PJ's discover what we already know: Simone Schmidt and the Highest Order are, well, talent of the highest order.




Simone Schmidt of The Highest Order

Paul Mortimer of The Highest Order

Simone Schmidt and Simone TB of The Highest Order

Simone Schmidt and Kyle Porter of The Highest Order

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images