2016 has been a rough year so far for music fans. We’ve watched legends like Prince, David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Phife Dawg, Ralph Stanley and most recently Bernie Worrell all pass on, leaving us stunned and saddened to see them go.
But this year has also provided those of us living in the great state of California with plenty of memorable moments in live music, from Noise Pop to Coachella and beyond. And with half of 2016 already in the rearview mirror (can you believe it?!?!), we thought now would be as good of a time as any to revisit the best performances we’ve witnessed over the past six months.
So, after careful consideration, we present our 10 favorite shows from the first half of 2016.
10. Ty Segall
When it comes to Segall and his live show, there’s really no way to sugarcoat it — the guy is an animal, ready to rip, claw and bite (or just spit) his way through a performance. And in many ways, it’s refreshing to see a musician who has little to no filter when he takes the stage. Just like his music, which borders on garage rock and glam rock and intertwines psychedelic and punk elements into it, his shows are raw and full of emotion. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt
I don’t think I had been to a show in a long time in which the girls were screaming like they were watching The Beatles. The girls were going crazy for Turner, including throwing things on the stage (unfortunately we can’t say for sure if there were any bras or panties that flew through the air). -Rachel Goodman, photo by Diana Cordero
8. The Kills
As with any Kills show, the band was raw, untamed and ready to sonically destroy everything in their path. This was achieved by Hince’s voracious guitar playing, which saw him coxing a plethora of harmonically distorted riffs, with Mosshart taking duties on rhythm guitar when needed. -James Pawlish, photo by James Pawlish
7. Bob Moses
At Mezzanine, both Howie and Vallance proved their prowess as EDM innovators, bringing more to the stage than a couple of laptops and a pretty light show. Surprising those unfamiliar with their work or expecting to be underwhelmed, Bob Moses have elevated the live electronic game for their respective contemporaries and succeeded in defining a new chapter for the genre — an innovative sound standard that’s all their own. -Molly Kish, photo by Lisette Worster
6. Mac DeMarco
The 26-year-old king of slacker rock, who over the past few years has become a fan favorite of many Bay Area audiophiles, never seems to hold back when he comes to town. His first night in SF last week saw him jump from The Indy’s balcony into an awaiting crowd (a feat that was later imitated by a female audience member at The Warfield the next night), run around half naked while playing new songs and perform a 25-minute cover of Eric Clapton’s 1971 hit single “Layla” with fart solos sprinkled throughout. -James Pawlish, photo by James Pawlish
When it came time to deliver, the original trio of Axl, Slash and bassist Duff McKagan most certainly did, while rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer proved to be more than suitable fill-ins for Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler/Matt Sorum. Meanwhile, the surprise appearance by Angus Young couldn’t have come at a much better time after the announcement was made minutes before GNR’s set that Rose will be filling in for Brian Johnson on AC/DC’s remaining tour dates this year. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella
4. Young Thug
With his back momentarily turned to the camera-phone flash before the lighting guys again joined the party, Atlanta’s favorite outlander appeared to just take a moment. The point in time could have been one of appreciation or something else on a completely different side of the pendulum. That ambiguity is what seems to keep Young Thug and his pundits going. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray
With the Australian artist standing in the back of the stage, her set was more performance art than it was pop music. While her face was hidden thanks to her trademark wig, Sia’s voice stood front and center as she belted out every note to hits like “Diamonds”, “Bird Set Free” and “Titanium”. -Brett Ruffenach, photo courtesy of Coachella
It’s no surprise that Moderat have made waves in the genre given their well-established roots in Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) and Apparat (Sascha Ring). What has been surprising, however, is their ability to step outside the conventions of both parent acts and craft something truly their own. -Zach Bourque, photo by Josh Herwitt
I have seen many concerts as well as attended many festivals in my life, but this was truly among the most beautiful moments in live music I have ever experienced. Wrapping up their headlining performance with “All My Friends”, LCD Soundsystem proved to be among the top artists to ever grace the festival’s main stage. -Brett Ruffenach, photo courtesy of Coachella
What has been your favorite show of 2016 so far? Let us know in the comments section below!