As I re-listen to the last stragglers in my list of albums of 2020, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the best concerts I've been to in 2020. Obviously, the list is going to be quite small considering the world shut down in March. This isn't really a curated "best of" list, but rather a list of all of the concerts I've been to in 2020.
Before I continue on with my list, I want to highlight the shows that were supposed to happen, but were canceled due to COVID-19.
- Devastation on the Nation Tour featuring Rotting Christ, Borknagar et al - Cornerstone
- Devin Townsend Empath Tour - The Regency Ballroom
- Fleshgod Apocalypse featuring The Veleno Classical Quartet - The Phoenix Theater
- Halsey - Shoreline Ampitheatre
- Above & Beyond (Acoustic) - Greek Theatre
I was looking forward to those shows but it was the absolute right move to cancel these shows. As much as it hurts the venues and artists, it was the safe thing to do. If you can, please do what you can to support the bands and venues that you love. Donate money, buy merch, listen to them as much as you can on Spotify so they can get a few more pennies, or just simply promote them. Onwards to my list!
7. Poppy - Great American Music Hall
January 22, 2020
I haven't been to this venue in years! Nestled in the very...colorful...Tenderloin district, it made for an interesting journey back to my car at the end of the night. The show was...ok. The sounds wasn't mixed very well and I could barely hear Poppy's vocals. But, it was still worth going to see this interesting blend of metal and pop. Apologies for my poor photography skills.
6. Dessa - The Chapel
January 16, 2020
Dessa, a rapper and singer from the hip hop collective Doomtree, brought a string quartet with her to perform a scaled down version of her live album with the Minnesota Orchestra. The show was great but the string quartet was barely audible, making them more for show than anything else.
5. Mr. Bungle - The Warfield
February 13, 2020
Mr. Bungle reunited in 2020 to play a very limited run of shows in NYC, LA, and SF. The shows proved to be so popular they sold out within seconds, prompting the band to add a few more dates in those same cities. They played The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo in its entirety and it was a thrashy good time.
4. Dragonforce - The Regency Ballroom
March 8, 2020
By this time, the pandemic was just beginning to shut things down and this was one of the last concerts I went to this year. This was the first time I've ever seen metalheads dilligently wash their hands after making a pee. The show was a fun time, constantly being interrupted by equipment failures during their set which only made it that much more memorable.
3. Sons of Apollo - The Fillmore
January 26, 2020
Boy was this a tiring show. Standing up for several hours is getting harder and harder to do at my old age. It was worth it though, with Mike Portnoy and company shredding the hell out of the stage playing a total of a million notes by the end of the night.
2. Heilung - The Regency Ballroom
January 11, 2020
This was one of the most unique shows I've been to ever. Heilung has dubbed their music as "amplified history." Neat. Basically, it's viking pagan tribal folk music. It felt like being on the Vikings show and there's that one scene where there's a pre-battle ritual around a fire and there's drums beating and people are dancing and orgies may or may not be happening off screen.
1. Cult of Luna - Slim's
March 9, 2020
My favorite concert of the year also happens to be the last concert before the world shut down. Cult of Luna puts on a powerful show, and their dynamics truly shine in a live setting. Looking back on it now, if I was able to go back in time I would be yelling at myself to stay the hell home. I was truly fortunate to come out of it unscathed and I'm truly thankful for that.