As 2021 comes to a close, it’s starting to look like we’re seeing the resurrection of live music. Here’s ACRN’s list of artists we’ll be rushing out to see as soon as we can.
Kiah Easton, Editorial Director: 99jakes
I went to my first live concert in over a year recently. Needless to say, I’ve never welcomed the sweat of strangers rubbing against me more. Getting a taste of what it would be like to have access to live music again made me realize all I had been missing. Sure, COVID-19 helped push forward live streaming and hyperreal musical experience, all of which is exciting; however, I think the motion of bodies in a crowd is something that might never be replaced. The artist I’d love to see right now is 99jakes. Take me back to my memories before all of this, jittery bodies bouncing off each other to the mangled remixes of our favorite 2000’s songs. 909 World Wide Happy Hardcore will NEVER F*CKING DIE!!!!
Lane Moore, Reviews Editor: Sugar Wounds
Somewhere between the relentless catharsis of grindcore and the soothing lull of shoegaze, Sugar Wounds’ songs are a concoction that’s one part mosh pit and one part nap in the sun. Dubbed cybergrind by some, called grindgaze by others, the only thing that matters to me is how loud I know this band would be live; they’re the kind of band whose amps throw a blast of air at the crowd with every low-strung, chuggy chord––or they would be if seeing them live was a possibility.
Somehow, Sugar Wounds is just one person, Myrtle Beach’s Matt Miller, so the prospect of seeing this group on tour any time soon is not likely. I don’t know if Miller will get a band together for this project or otherwise tour, but I do know that I would commit crimes for this to happen, especially in the face of the live music drought brought on by quarantine. The pure, smoldering emotion on Sugar Wounds’ latest record, Calico Dreams, truly adds insult to the injury of a potential lack of live performances from the project. I want nothing more than to be in the room while Miller plays the first part of “Every Color”, in which mechanical synths come to fruition with the ringing of heavy, blissed-out guitars. Follow this up with some blast beats, saccharine lead riffs, and swirling textures, and it seems to me that there’s no band I’d rather see right now. How bittersweet.
Kwase Lane, Features Editor: JPEGMAFIA
In the last year, I’ve had a complicated relationship with people breathing on me. I’m sure I’m not alone in that, but as the vaccine spreads and masks find themselves forgotten, the thing I’m looking forward to most is a good concert. Not a socially distanced, listen and clap respectfully type affair, I’m talking about an old-fashioned, open the pit, oh no, my phone fell out of my pocket concert. The artist I’m itching to see right now is JPEGMAFIA. I’ve never gotten the chance to see Peggy live before, but it looks and sounds like a spiritual experience. Bodies sway with feet barely grazing the floor, and sweat becomes collectively owned. That’s where I’m trying to be. One day I’ll be sandwiched in that mass screaming, “YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME”, but until then, I’m content to have concerts for one in my 2012 Ford Edge.
Paul Nern, News Editor: The Chats
God, wasn’t the period from March 2020 to May 2021 so exciting to experience? Like, I’m so ecstatic about how much fun that was that I’m never going to speak of it again. I’m sorry for the on the nose sarcasm, but that’s all I spoke in during that time period. Mediocre times, at best, but now we finally have back what we missed for so long: Live Music. It’s happening again, and I’ve got to go see The Chats as soon as they’re in America again. Australian punk rock is the only thing I want to experience in this life before I move on to the next thing. Eamon, Matt, and new lead guitarist Josh Hardy are punk, and they are pissed off. But what sets them apart from the rest is the way they so perfectly integrate their Australian slang and culture to take their songs to such a unique level. These guys are still getting started, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. “Identity Theft”, “Pub Feed” and “Bus Money” are some of the best punk rock songs that I’ve ever heard. It’s easily digestible aggressive sounding punk rock that has you laughing at the same time. It’s brilliant. It’s what we need to have in our lives, especially in mine. That’s all I’ve got to say; I’m going on smoko.
Amy Szmik, Copy Editor: BTS
When the pandemic hit last year, one of the most crushing feelings was realizing all my concerts were going to be postponed. I had a slew of shows I was planning on attending that year, and it was so difficult to see all of them gone. Thankfully, in 2021, I was able to start going to live music again. My first time back was at a Cleveland festival called Wonderstruck. It was almost euphoric being back in a place where everyone loves live music all the same and being united together. I think, though, out of every artist I’m dying to see, it has to be BTS. I know some people have opinions on them, but I have been a huge fan of them since I was 14, and now I’m 20. They really meant a lot to me growing up and influenced me in general from my teenage years until now. I remember being in their concerts and just feeling so emotional and connected to everyone through music, no matter what language barrier there was. I miss being there with some of my best friends, in a massive city, with everyone singing along. There was no prejudice, judgment or anything, just everyone enjoying the live music together.
Ethan Bloomfield, Staff Writer: AJJ
The band I would love to see in concert is easily AJJ. I would say this generally, but it’s especially true now, considering they’re currently on the 10th-anniversary tour of their most beloved album, Knife Man. I would LOVE to see that show. Knife Man is the kind of album that doesn’t get made very often: it’s innovative, memorable, heartfelt, and an important touchstone of its genre. In fact, if you’re an indie-rock fan, go listen to it right now and you’ll see. Hearing the final track, “Big Bird”, live would be a religious experience. It’s already one of my favorite final tracks on any album, and being there in the venue would just be magical. AJJ gets nothing but love from me.
Ben Lindner, Staff Writer: Carly Rae Jepsen
I don’t like going to concerts. They’re too loud, everyone is drunk and I hate when people are bumping into me. Plus, there aren’t very many artists where I know a ton of their songs. Concerts really aren’t my thing.
That being said, I am dying to go to a Carly Rae Jepsen concert.
Carly Rae has a pretty weird level of popularity. On one hand, plenty of music fans know that she has been making incredible pop music for the last six years, including one of the all-time best pop albums in 2015’s Emotion. On the other hand though, most people don’t believe me when I say I love her music and just know her as the “Call Me Maybe” girl. I think this would make the demographics of her concert be a bit all over the place, but everyone would be fun and easy to get along with. Who could be upset at a Carly Rae Jepsen concert?
I have probably only been to three or four concerts in my entire life and generally have very little desire to go to another one. But I have to go to a Carly Rae Jepsen concert. I’ll buy a t-shirt, I’ll scream my lungs out to every word and when the first few saxophone notes of “Run Away With Me” hit, my soul will definitely leave my body.
Grace Koennecke, Contributer: Lady Gaga
An artist I would kill to see in concert would definitely be Lady Gaga. I became a huge fan of hers at the start of high school after watching her documentary on Netflix and since then have looked up to her so much. I have watched so many of her concert videos from all her eras, such as ARTPOP, Born This Way and Joanne, and every time she just takes my breath away. I get chills. The main reason I want to see her live is because she is my biggest inspiration as a writer. All of her songs have resonated with me in some way, and when I was at my lowest, she was there for me. I also just want to hear her sing “Perfect Illusion” live because that is my all-time favorite song by her. Just to be in the same room as Gaga would be an honor, and hopefully one day, I’ll be in the front row at one of her concerts, sobbing my eyes out!
Adrian Woods, Contributor: MF DOOM
If I were to choose one artist alive or dead to go see in concert right now, it would probably be MF DOOM. The reason it would be MF DOOM is that, not only is he my favorite rapper of all time, but hearing his fantastic flows, super creative and catchy beats and samples throughout his entire discography would be awesome. I would love to hear DOOM sing through his many different personas, like Viktor Vaughn, Zev Love X, and King Geedorah. I feel like there has to be at least a couple of special guests for the concerts since he’s had so many projects with other artists and features that he’s worked with, like Madlib, Count Bass D, Mr. Fantastik, DANGER MOUSE, CZARFACE, Ghostface Killah, and the list goes on. An MF DOOM concert would be a great time.