We continue our fortnight of top tens looking back at 2021 and looking forward to 2022:
When we started putting the plans for this piece together, we were full of optimism. Live music had been back with us for a while and we had little reason to think it might go away again.
While Omicron might have other ideas, we’re gonna move forward with hope and belief. Here are the ten gigs that are going to be fucking amazing in 2022:
Bon Iver – Well what can I say. It’s one of my all time favorite artists, at one my all time favorite venues (Forest Hills Stadium). Oh and I’ve never seen him live before. And the support is none other than the excellent Bonny Light Horseman. It is going to be one hell of a gig.
It’s made even better by the fact that I will get to see this show before Fran, despite only buying these tickets a few months ago! Bon Iver was listed last year as Fran’s most anticipated show and he has been waiting patiently through reschedule after reschedule. Serves him right for seeing Little Simz without me!
Self Esteem – Okay, I know. I’ve already seen Self Esteem four times. Her shows were the soundtrack to my end of the normal times, back when we could still go and see a gig without wondering which version of the virus we would be leaving with.
Those shows brought me so much joy I can’t even begin to explain it. I’m glad I enjoyed them as much as I did, because I had no idea how much the memories of great gigs were going to have to sustain me. Knowing I’ll get to see Self Esteem at Manchester Cathedral in March, on the back of the exceptional Prioritise Pleasure, is enough to make me believe I can get through what is looking like a pretty bleak winter. She’ll bottle joy and offer catharsis in that room and I’ll be catching every drop.
HAIM/The Big Moon/Skunk Anansie, again – I’ve waited far too long for these now and the initial excitement has long since worn off. And it’s entirely possible they’ll all get postponed, again. We shall see what happens of course, but I’m not going to be getting excited again until much nearer the time, whenever that may be.
Adele – I guess most other Bastards would put Adele on their list of gigs they’d least like to be going to, but having seen her live before I am so excited to hear that voice live again. 30 is my favourite record she has released yet and I’m so excited to hear songs like ‘Hold On’, ‘Oh My God’ and ‘Easy On Me’ live. Whether being in Hyde Park surrounded by drunk people screaming along to ‘Someone Like You’ is the best location to see Adele is another thing entirely, but I’m still very excited.
Low – I’m a total latecomer to Low, starting with twelfth album Double Negative in 2018 following its glowing praise. But Hey What was one of my favourites from this year. Its scratchy, electronic textures that add extra dimensions to their post-rock sound are totally captivating, and I think their gig at Manchester Cathedral will be a special experience for everyone present. It’s in April but I’m buzzing for it already.
Slowthai – We just know this gig is gonna go off, right? I might be the oldest person in the room (I’m taking my niece!) but I’ll be bobbing along with the best of them.
Slowthai shouldn’t be seen only as an artist for the youth, though. His two albums have been full of introspective, innovative hip-hop that hits hard in all the right ways. Even if he does wear just his boxers and a headband, he has a lot more to say than that image suggests. This will be the liveliest gig I’ve been to in years. Just a shame it’s at Victoria Warehouse.
Turnstile – This band made my favorite album of the year. What excites me most about this album now is that they are a band known for being a live act. If they are able to capture this on the recording, the live show is simply going to blow my mind, right? We will see. Keep your eyes out for a starstruck Matt in May.
A festival that isn’t all men from 2001 – it’s highly unlikely that I’ll make it to a festival in 2022. If I do though, you can be sure it won’t be to Kendal Calling. Have you seen the absolute state of that line up? Stereophonics, Supergrass, The Streets, The Kooks, The fucking Wombats. Even if it had been 15-20 years ago when anyone still cared about any of those acts it still would have been a pile of wank. I’ve remembered this item is meant to be about things to look forward to, rather than just another moan. So anyway give us a good line up, festival organiser people. Maybe with, you know, some people who aren’t all white men, and we’ll be there.
Everything mentioned last year that still hasn’t happened – James has mentioned a few above, but the fact that Michael Kiwanuka still hasn’t been able to tour the Mercury Prize winning KIWANUKA, and Bon Iver haven’t come back to UK for the tour that I bought tickets for in 2019 is getting silly. Foals have managed to release an album I wasn’t that into in the time since I bought tickets based on the one I really liked, while I’ve had to buy tickets to see Billie Eilish’s arena tour twice now after it was cancelled and then rescheduled again months apart. Lady Gaga basically laughed when someone mentioned the tour she still has our money for, that was ‘postponed indefinitely’ in a recent interview. Just let me see music from 2019 live please…
Phoebe Bridgers – I know there are no UK dates announced as yet but listen – if I don’t get to see Phoebe live this year I’m going to fucking riot. It’ll be a one person riot, a grown man throwing things and shouting, basically a tantrum with a beard, but a riot nonetheless.
Phoebe released one of my favourite albums of all time back in 2020, and I desperately need to see the songs from Punisher on stage. Watching her perform dates across the US this year was exciting but painful and I have to give props to her for being extra cautious about COVID with the setup of her tour. But come to the UK, Pheebs. We need you.