As concerts slowly return, I’m reminded of sweaty men, beer-covered floors, and body-rattling bass. I’ve missed it. In honor of the post-COVID concert comeback, I’ve ranked (some of) the concerts I’ve attended. My rankings are based on varying combinations of enjoyment, artist delivery, venue, and atmosphere. In descending order, here they are:
10. 5 Seconds of Summer (Opener: Hey Violet)
When: September 2015
Where: Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
With: My mom
Give me a break; I was 13. We sat in the row of chairs directly in front of the lawn, it stormed incredibly hard (which stopped the concert multiple times), and the music was terrible. That being said, I had a nice time with my mom and it was my first concert so it holds a special place in my heart.
9. Bay Faction (Opener: Superbody)
When: February 2020
Where: Cat’s Cradle Back Room
This concert simply wasn’t good. The opener took the stage alone, and while they tried to get the crowd riled up, it didn’t work. When Bay Faction came out, the crowd was still mostly dead. Some young people flocked to the front of the stage and the lead singer weirdly leered at them while simultaneously flirting all night long. Actually, it wasn’t all night, because the set lasted for about 20 minutes and the band refused to come out for an encore. I still listen to some Bay Faction songs, but this concert wasn’t worth it.
8. TV Girl (Opener: Yohana)
When: May 2019
Where: Local 506
Let’s just say they don’t sound the same in person. If they had, I would have enjoyed this concert. This was the only concert I’ve ever left early.
7. Girlpool (Openers: Hatchie, Cosmo Punk)
When: April 2019
Where: Motorco Music Hall
I’ve loved Girlpool since my sophomore year of high school, but I was somewhat disappointed with the concert. The band only played tracks from “Powerplant” (2017) and “What Chaos Is Imaginary” (2019), save for the last song they performed: “Chinatown.” Had they included more tracks from earlier records, I think the audience would have been happier. However, they were both still wonderful performers and kept the crowd involved.
6. Joy Again (Opener: Indigo De Souza)
When: June 2019
Joy Again is one of those bands I always come back to. I’m a big fan of ARTHUR, so it’s sort of a given that I like them. As far as the opener goes, I was mostly unfamiliar with their music at the time but Indigo De Souza was smiley and lively. I went with a close friend and while we made the experience worthwhile, Joy Again seemed a bit lethargic when they came out. It was towards the end of their tour, however, so I imagine they were fairly tired. Despite the low-energy set, the music was great and they sound the same in person.
5. Tyler, the Creator (Openers: GoldLink, Blood Orange)
When: October 2019
Where: Greensboro Coliseum
GoldLink was an incredibly dynamic opener, and while I’m not as big of a fan of Blood Orange, they also delivered a solid performance. As far as the main show, Tyler is a true artist and it was clear throughout his entire set. His infamous crowd-teasing seemed especially aggressive that night, but I was able to look past that. I wish there’d been more moshing, but it was still an exciting night.
When: January 2018
Where: The Ritz
The concert I attended was pre-Ameer exposure, so the full BROCKHAMPTON outfit took the stage with no opener for their SATURATION III tour. When I saw them, I was still fully in my BROCKHAMPTON phase, so it resonated a lot more than it would now. They played all my favorite songs, the crowd was fun, and they ended with “HEAT.” What more could a high school girl ask for?
3. The Front Bottoms (Opener: Basement)
When: November 2017
Where: The Fillmore
My folk punk guilty (but not really) pleasure. The Front Bottoms will always be special to me, as will this concert experience. The Fillmore was packed to the brim and it was pretty clear that everyone there had a lot of love for TFB. The members of the band were energetic throughout the night and delivered great performances. It was a sweaty, emotional, and fulfilling concert.
2. Alex G (Openers: ARTHUR, Tomberlin)
When: October 2019
Where: The Grey Eagle
Seeing ARTHUR open was one of the best concert moments I’ve experienced. His set was gorgeous, fun, and special. I was already fully satisfied after ARTHUR, so Alex G’s nearly three hour set was just the (very long) cherry on top. The room was electric when he played “Bobby.”
1. The Garden (Opener: Cowgirl Clue)
When: April 2018 (4/20 to be exact)
Where: Local 506
It still surprises even myself that this is my favorite concert I’ve been to thus far. I went by myself, got into the venue fairly late, and felt anxious leading up to the main act. Somehow, however, I ended up right in front of the stage and had an amazing time. The Garden are the best and most vibrant performers I’ve ever encountered. They’re delivery was loud and gruff and the instrumentals were overwhelmingly impressive. While I don’t listen to much of The Garden anymore, I’d go to one of their shows again.
Here’s to concerts: The Good, The Bad, and Those To Come,