There are a lot of things that we focus on at Consequence of Sound, from our 24/7 news coverage to our music and film reviews to our extensive, in-depth features. But when it comes to covering live music, there are few others that report from as many concerts and festivals. This year we’ve seen the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, Japandroids, and Prophets of Rage at small clubs and Coldplay, Pearl Jam, and Bruce Springsteen at stadiums. We traveled to Australia, Spain, Mexico, and Iceland to cover festivals while still appreciating city takeovers in Boise for Treefort, Calgary for Sled Island, and Austin for SXSW.
We’ve seen a lot this year, but the handful of artists to follow left the biggest impressions. That bunch included one master saying goodbye to the world behind a single piano, pop’s biggest sensation knocking socks off at stadiums (including the Super Bowl), one of music’s most acclaimed songwriters using her own performance anxiety as an innovative asset, a rock band that celebrated the urgency of life at festivals throughout the year, and one of music’s most captivating figures embarking on a tour that literally took it all out of him. When so many aspects of music are on shaky footing, it’s nice to know that live music remains as essential as ever. The following are our five favorite live acts of 2016.