BEST OF 2016

DICE’S MUSIC TEAM ON THE BEST GIGS OF THE YEAR

It’s the end of the year, there are 22 a million different lists out there, but we figured what does DICE know best? Going out and getting stuck in with the crowd at a sweaty gig or heavy club. So we asked our Music Team to pick their best of the year and write a few sentences explaining why.

In no specific order, and with an album and track thrown in for prosperity, here’s what they chose. Press play to the right and get scrolling.

Show Me The Body at The Alibi, London

Having already seen one of Show Me The Body’s first three London shows, I knew they were something special. Despite not being able to make their daytime show at Visions Festival, I got word of their late night show at The Alibi and ducked out of a wedding party early to catch their ten-thirty stage time (yes, they’re that good).

Ten-thirty turned into eleven. Eleven turned into one. The band finally picked up their instruments in the tiny back room of the Alibi at one-thirty in the morning and proceeded to lay waste to the room and everyone in it for the next twenty-five minutes.

Show Me The Body can only exist now. They seamlessly blend genres that, in the past, have always been rammed together with little charm. They are a ferocious hardcore band and they are a rowdy hip hop crew. They attract the most beautifully diverse crowd I’ve ever seen at a punk show, and that to me sums up what it’s all about.

Album of the year

Ex-Cult - Negative Growth

Track of the year

Desiigner - Panda

ANOHNI at The Barbican, London

Not really knowing what to expect for a gig is pretty normal, but with the first UK performance of Hopelessness - the audience knew before the show it was going to be something special. The show starts with a video, twenty minutes of Naomi Campbell dancing to an almost non-existent but hypnotic soundtrack.

The lights gradually dim - enter ANOHNI, flanked by Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke on live electronics, to brilliantly deliver her examination on gender equality and modern imperialism. The visuals throughout compliment the lyrics, messages, and ANOHNI's veiled presence herself generates the kind of atmosphere that most gigs could never achieve.

Album of the year

Whitney - Light Upon The Lake

Track of the year

Whitney - Polly

LCD Soundsystem at Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury this year was a tough one - a fatality on site before the festival started, the muddiest year on record, and the news of Brexit to wake up to on the Friday morning. The music connected more than at possibly any other Glastonbury in history as a result though, and LCD Soundsystem's closing set on the Sunday night was the joyous celebration everyone needed.

A small (by the festival's standards) but fiercely passionate crowd saw the band play their first UK show of their reunion tour as the rain finally relented and the crowd found some tiny scraps of energy to dance through the mud. Thousands of lungs yelling out All My Friends to end the festival sent everyone home with a tiny scrap of hope.

Album of the year

Mitski - Puberty 2

Track of the year

Danny Brown - Ain't It Funny

Whitney at Unit G, London

Sometimes the best gigs are the ones that at the time don't make any sense. Whitney had just played their first UK show at MOTH Club and announced a Sunday date in Hackney Wick. I hadn't heard of the venue before, but they completely blew away MOTH Club and I loved their single No Woman.

So we turn up and it's clear it's not a venue, it's someone's house. And it's someone's house with 200 people inside of it. And there are six people in Whitney and they can barely get to the stage. Hang on, there is no stage. It's getting tense. The £2 cans of beer are warming up. People are shoving. Where's the toilet? Bye Jen. The singer apologizes that no one can see him. We're squashed like sardines. It's hot. Oh, Jen still can't get out.

Eventually she does and soon afterwards the band starts. The trumpet comes in and it's utter wonder. It kind of makes sense. The tiny hot room packed. And it's fucking amazing. Best gig of 2016.

Track of the year x 3

David Bowie - Blackstar, Konstantin Sibold - Mutter, Weeknd/Daft Punk - I Feel It Coming

Robag Wruhme at Watergate, Berlin

The title speaks for itself. It was everything you'd expect from one of house music’s more idiosyncratic practitioners, a set that was as emotional as it was euphoric. Delving between Mike Dehnert rollers to Aphex Twin deep cuts, with one of Berlin’s most notorious clubs as the backdrop it felt more of a masterclass in storytelling than anything else.

His re-edit of Coma’s ‘Lora’ was a personal highlight, and was just a boss way of starting a weekend away in my fave city. Danke Robag.

Album of the year

Show Me The Body - Body War

Track of the year

Konstantin Sibold - Mutter

Kelsey Lu at The Waiting Room, London

I’d grabbed a last minute ticket to make my Monday a little more bearable. I knew almost nothing about Kelsey Lu so I really didn’t know what to expect.

I headed down early to catch the support act and to everyone’s surprise the support act was Sampha, which was expressed quite accurately by the guy in the crowd that yelled out, “Oh my god, Sampha’s playing!?”

There was me thinking my mundane Monday had peaked, until Kelsey Lu’s set came. Armed with her cello, loop pedals, and guitar, she blew me away. Her vocals were stunning and every note she strung was flawless. She pretty much made the entire room fall in love with her.

Album of the year

Skepta - Konnichiwa

Track of the year

Frank Ocean - Seigfried

Pumarosa at Village Underground, London

Pumarosa at Village Underground was always going to be my gig of the year. At one of my favourite venues in London, my standout band of 2016 took to the stage with a sound that’s a cross between PJ Harvey and The Knife, and a haunting setup that left frontwoman Isabel Munoz-Newsome in control of a transfixed audience.

Their set was only 9 songs, and as Isabel spins her way through the penultimate song Priestess, filling the room with her raw vocals, a screen behind her shows an animation of figures replicating her movements. This is a band you cannot miss, make sure you catch them in 2017.

Album of the year

Kevin Morby - Singing Saw

Track of the year

Christine and the Queens - Tilted

Adele at The O2, London

It really didn't take much thought to claim Adele ​a​s my gig of the year. I felt pretty chill leading up to the show, but​ as soon as the lights went down and I heard that iconic “Hello…”, it was safe to say I was no longer in control of my ​thoughts and ​feelings. I teared up a lot. I sang a lot. I swayed a lot. I laughed a lot.

Not only is she an incredible singer who can have an entire arena in the palm of her hand, she is also a comedian​, apparently.​ I don’t know how she does it, but Adele is one of the greatest human beings on this earth and we are #blessed​ to have her.

Album of the year

Pinegrove - Cardinal

Track of the year

Lapsley - Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me)

James Blake at Glastonbury Festival

Saturday Night at Glastonbury and the worst clash of the festival, up against Adele. Waiting in the pouring rain for the gig to start, West Holts had never felt so empty. The intro to Life Round Here started and suddenly there was this huge crowd. A huge James Blake fan already, I'd been waiting for him to do something big since Coachella a few years ago where I watched him bring out RZA. He seriously delivered, bringing out people like Vince Staples and Trim with some incredible new visuals to an on point set list.

It was nearly over. We assumed maybe there was just one song still to come. Then Justin Vernon appeared and the crowd went fucking mental. Ending with I Need A Forest Fire, Retrograde and Wilhelm Scream, it defined what a headline slot at Glastonbury is all about.

Album of the year

Bon Iver - 22, A Million

Track of the year

Kaytranada - Track Uno

Dixon at Space, Ibiza

Dixon all-night-long at Space. It doesn’t get much bigger than that in the dance music world. The booth was in the centre of the discotheque and the room was full. For the next six or so hours the enigmatic German blended a selection of melodic techno rollers in a stupendously good set that featured Rampa’s haunting Necessity and Acid Pauli’s euphoric Nana. A perfect farewell to Space as we know it.

Album of the year

DJ Koze - Pampa Vol 1

Track of the year

Midland - Final Credits

The Maccabees at Latitude Festival

I’d heard a few rumours approaching Latitude this July that the boys could be calling it a day, but seeing them on stage and the affirmation and abandon with which they delivered what I believe was their first major festival headline set, it was clear something was different. There was just a strident air of emotion to the proceedings. Perhaps I’m being overly sentimental in retrospect, but it felt like a living accomplishment, a real career high.

The band were nothing short of majestic, playing a show full of energy, poise, and beauty. Silence was devastating, I could feel a lump sticking hard in my throat and tears heating as Hugo took the lead vocal. Toothpaste Kisses and Precious Time had the entire crowd word for word over Orlando’s gorgeous tones, while Pelican had Felix thrashing like he might throw his guitar into the clouds. An absolute stunner of a gig on every level and what a way to bow out. It felt a privilege to be part of it.

Album of the year

Bon Iver - 22, A Million

Track of the year

Glass Animals - Life Itself

Spencer Parker B2B Ryan Elliott at Patterns, Brighton

Since seeing Spencer Parker's Boiler Room in Berlin a couple of years back I'd always wanted to see him play live but had never had the chance. First Floor, Brighton's best promoters for proper house and techno, booked him and Ryan Elliott to play B2B all night long at Patterns in Brighton and it was unbelievable. I ended up losing my mates halfway through the night but didn't care, the energy and atmosphere were unreal right till the end. I need to see these two again.

Album of the year

DJ Koze Presents Pampa, Vol. 1

Track of the year

Rampa - Necessity

ABRA at The Jazz Café, London

With her minimalist edge present both in her style and music, ABRA took centre stage at The Jazz Café with nothing else but a mic, huge fan, and sample triggers. With little ceremony, she jumped onto the dark stage into complete silence, not at all phased. She took a minute setting it all up then immediately launched into her set reeling off song after song seamlessly, fiercely commanding the space with every.single.dance.move.

Her energy, so effortless and masterful, was just as infectious as her music. The whole audience mirroring her vibe dancing, singing back to her, transfixed by this single raw superstar.

Album of the year

A Seat At The Table - Solange Knowles

Track of the year

Isaiah Rashad - What's Wrong ft Zacari & Kendrick Lamar

Joey Bada$$ at Other Voices, Electric Picnic

Joey Badass and his crew stormed the two-hundred-and-fifty cap tent, coming straight from playing to seven thousand people. It was one of the wildest shows I've seen in a long time - ferociously energetic. Joey Badass' rhythm and rhymes are second to none, and the crowd followed his every word. Eventually, after he refused to finish up, the power was cut off. Unperturbed, the entire crowd roared a rendition of Olé Olé Olé, to cap off the final song of the night - 95 Til Infinity.

Album of the year

Solange - A Seat at The Table

Track of the year

BadBadNotGood - Time Moves Slow

At The Drive In at The Roundhouse, London

2000. I turned on the TV and I saw THIS. It completely changed my life.
2001. I bought tickets to see them. They cancelled. They rescheduled. I waited. Then they split up two days before the show.
2012. They reformed, I had waited ten years so I travelled to Coachella to see the first announced show. It was epic but there was something not quite right. Omar was there, but he wasn't there.
2016. Back again. The Roundhouse. Bank Holiday. They explode onto the stage and it is exactly the band my fourteen year old self had seen on TV. There is absolutely no way another gig can match it this year. It was perfection.

Album of the year

Bon Iver - 22, A Million

Track of the year

Joey Purp feat Chance The Rapper - Girls @

Ata Kak at Moth Club, London

My summer anthem of 2015 was undoubtedly Daa Nyinaa by Ata Kak, at the time an unknown artist from Ghana. After rinsing the record all summer and beyond I stumbled across an article depicting the story of the record’s release, re-release, and the epic manhunt for Ata Kak. The story concluded that he was found working an ordinary job in Canada and that he and Brian Shimkovitz (Awesome Tapes from Africa) had formed a band and were doing a European tour.

Tickets sold out imminently for the first show at MOTH Club. At the event, MOTH Club was overpopulated and intensely hot and sweaty. Ata Kak was phenomenal. As an old man whose hips don’t move as they used to, he still made every effort to dance freely throughout the set. Everyone sang along to the most popular songs at the top of their lungs as if England had made it to the World Cup final. Ironically, no one understood a word he or we said. For someone not familiar with the back story, on first impressions, the act would seem like a gimmick. For me however, the gig was one of the most viscerally pleasing experiences of my life.

Album of the year

Steven Julien - Fallen

Track of the year

Batu - Bleeper Feed

Skepta at Alexandra Palace, London

Just in the nick of time for the gig of year, Skepta absolutely smashing it at Ally Pally. Two years on the trot for me choosing Skepta, this gig just topped Dixon playing all night long on the terrace at Space in Ibiza.

You knew it was going to be a special show given the year he's had and the fact it was in North London. The production was immense, the whole show was synced to perfection.

Amazing visuals throughout, fireworks going off in time with the “Pop like the 5th of November” lyric, so many good touches.

In typical Skepta fashion he wasn't trying to hog the limelight, he used it as an opportunity to include all of his closest peers bringing out Giggs, Kano, Wretch 32, Novelist, D Double E; the full BBK crew and a host of others.

The atmosphere was incredible. Everything was working. I witnessed #greatness.

Album of the year

DJ Koze Presents Pampa Vol 1

Track of the year

Audion - Mouth To Mouth (Dense & Pika Remix)

SEE THEM LIVE IN 2017