I was born too late... what current bands put on a show like The Band?
August 10, 2015 1:07 AM   Subscribe

Not looking for genre recs, per se, more like-- who do I need to start following in order to catch a similarly powerful and dynamic show?

Netflix has done me a solid in recommending The Last Waltz, and now after watching it and scouring youtube for other live sets, I'm left wondering how I had never realized what a gaping hole my musical knowledge had.

I love The Band's overwhelming, "wall of sound"-esque performance, and I'm wondering if it's still possible to catch a show with that same energy, where the song won't allow you to ignore it and make small talk at the bar. I'm a fan of their roots-rock sound, and I wouldn't mind more recs in that vein-- but what I'm really hoping for are artists & bands that can jam with that visceral intensity.

It's not that the music is loud; sheer volume isn't what I'm trying to get at. To better explain, OCMS is a favorite of mine and has some of that same Americana-influence, but neither of the two shows of theirs that I went to were super-compelling. The sound was very pleasing but not demanding, and maybe that's due to the type of instrumentation or that their songs don't build to huge crescendos. Not sure.

Anyway! What still touring bands put on live shows that make you stomp your feet and lose your mind? (If they have a similar sound to The Band, all the better!)
posted by elleyebeebeewhy to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It's a very different sound, but bands today don't get much more intense and epic than Arcade Fire. Check out their performance of Wake Up with David Bowie. It sounds like the world's ending or something. (IIRC it was Bowie's first public performance after his heart attack. He wasn't exactly taking it easy, either!)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:39 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Dawes! See them live if you can. Every time I hear or see them, I think, "30 years from now, I'll be thinking of them the way I think of The Band today."
posted by jbickers at 2:56 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Drive by Truckers are the first band that came to mind. Not only do they have a pretty amazing stage show but they mine a lot of the same southern mythology that the Band did.
posted by octothorpe at 4:47 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Cream's Farewell Concert. Musically very different and a bit before them but amazing energy.
posted by TheRaven at 5:41 AM on August 10, 2015

The Hold Steady! The band was literally founded when two of the current members went to see The Last Waltz, looked at each other, and said "why doesn't anyone make music like that anymore?"
posted by Itaxpica at 5:52 AM on August 10, 2015

Catch the Tedeschi / Trucks Band supported by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings when they come to your town. An utterly exhausting mutli-racial, multi-gendered, multi-cultural, multi-instrumental, multi-genre, dynamic (in all senses) four hour wall of sound. These folks understand their past while playing for the future.

For the inspiration for TTB, see if Netflix can get you the movie of Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Ostensibly, a tour band to support Joe Cocker, Leon Russell assembled a traveling musical circus ove over forty performers.

The Colossal Triumph of Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs And Englishmen.

"Gimme tickuh forrerraplane . . ."
posted by Herodios at 12:37 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've seen a few very powerful shows in the last few years of different genres that may fit the bill.

I'll start with perhaps the least likely sounding one: Lorde. The "Royals" singer. Fantastic show. Her voice and writing is for real, and the performance itself was energetic and incredibly well designed. Weirdest mixed crowd I've ever been in also.

Mingo Fishtrap is a soul/funk band. As near as I can tell they're not incredibly well known, but they seem to tour widely, so it might be cheap and easy to catch them. Crazy tight band, especially for how big of a rotating cast they sometimes have.

tUnE yArDs. Merrill Garbus is one of the craziest voices singing today, and the dancers she has now just don't quit. Definitely a show that gets you moving and demands attention. Lots of african-influenced beats.

I went to see Dr. Dog knowing nothing whatsoever about them. They're not even a band that I listen to recordings of on my own, but I'd go see them live any chance I got.

This may be expected, but Queens of the Stone Age. Definitely a wall of sound. Awesome visuals, and yes, that's the drummer from The Mars Volta (not in that video, but with them now, or at least for the last album and tour).

Lastly, Cake. You know Cake. "Short Skirt/Long Jacket,""Frank Sinatra," etc. You know them. I like Cake fine but, again, I would be unlikely to play a Cake album at my leisure. Quite possibly the best concert I've ever attended. They just plain know how to work a crowd. Also, they played the only request I've ever shouted out at a show. It was "The Distance" during the encore that actually did not seem planned as a matter of course.
posted by cmoj at 4:57 PM on August 10, 2015

I have seen these guys live, and I can tell you: Sweat. Drips. Swedish psych rockers GOAT.
Someone else who apparently puts on a good show in a roots/stoner rock vein: All Them Witches.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:47 AM on August 11, 2015

Wait, no GWAR?
posted by cmoj at 9:03 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

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