Happy New Year! Reflecting back on 2014, it was a rare year for me. Despite travelling a fair bit I never actually left the United States (I re-explored a number of states and got as far as Alaska to tick off all 50 US states). It has been many years since I stayed in only one country for a year!
For half of 2014 I was mostly in Florida. Being there started a very lean period for me of seeing live music, especially heavy metal that I enjoy so much. I was starting to worry I would see very few bands at all. I dubbed the start of 2014 “The Great Metal Drought of Florida“. The best I had been able to do in January was catch the amusing and highly entertaining Shatner’s World with the one and only William Shatner in Jacksonville, Florida.
Luckily the year improved and I ended up seeing over 60 bands for the year which was actually more than 2013! St. Petersburg, Florida became an early shining light of music for me and heading west certainly helped beef up this tally in places like Seattle, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
“The Great Metal Drought of Florida” finally breaks!
After almost 4 long months I headed to St. Petersburg to finally see a band that I would enjoy and it was one I love. It was time to bring on some metal on metal with those mighty Canadian thrash metal legends, Anvil!
Not long after this I saw a number of metal bands over there including: ReVamp (The Netherlands), Sabaton (Sweden) and Iced Earth (USA). These were all excellent gigs but unfortunately not long after a mini music drought set in again…
June & July 2014
A Summer Baseball Concert Series Save the Day!
Once again St. Petersburg provided some music relief from the dance and hip hop obsessed Florida and it was thanks to MLB team the Tampa Bay Rays who play at Tropicana Field there. Each summer they put on a series of concerts after a game. I got to see Weezer (sweater!) after one game in June and the one I was really happy about was Joan Jett and the Blackhearts in July. I love rock and roll!
August & September 2014
By mid summer I found myself in Seattle, Washington during the Bumbershoot music and arts festival (August). The line-up was pretty good so I headed there to catch the Sunday show. This was a diverse mix of music and I managed to catch sets by a number of bands from the US: Bootsy Collins & The Bootsy Rubber Band (funky!), Kishi Bashi, Los Lobos (La Bamba), Luscious Jackson, Pickwick, Red Fang, Sandrider, The Dismemberment Plan, The Replacements and We Are Scientists.
A great comment I overheard a guy saying to his girlfriend in the drinks line at Bumbershoot summed up my sentiments exactly:
“I don’t want to listen to music with feelings. I just wanna rock!“
September saw the kick off of the NFL season and the reigning Superbowl Champions the Seattle Seahawks had an impressive way to start the season. Outside CenturyLink Field they put on a free concert with Soundgarden and Pharrell Williams. This unlikely combination put on a great show in front of a huge crowd on a glorious sunny Seattle day. No Black Hole Sun though unfortunately.
I spent quite a bit of time in Utah in September but only caught one gig in Salt Lake City. Luckily it was a classic. The only and only George Thorogood and the Destroyers supported by Trampled Under Foot. A good night to get b-b-b- b-bad, bad to the bone!
October, November and December 2014
A move out to California helped open the flood gates for music at venues like the Whisky a Go Go and The Viper Room. By years end I had seen plenty of acts including 80’s female metal legends Betty Bitch of Bitch and Ann Boleyn of Hellion; The Iron Maidens (all female Iron Maiden tribute), Bob Seger (old-time rock n’ roll at Jimmy Kimmel Live), Tom Kiefer (the voice of Cinderella), Faster Pussycat, Steel Panther, Judas Priest (metal gods!) and Stephen Pearcy (the voice of Ratt).
Viva Las Vegas
This also meant I had relatively easy access to great shows out in Las Vegas, Nevada too. On two trips out to Vegas I caught shows including The Lt. Dan Band (Gary Sinise) featuring Christopher Cross (a USO free concert), Heart (amazing), Kip Winger (an excellent solo acoustic performance), Lita Ford (a dream since the 80’s for me) and Warrant (Cherry Pie!).
That was a great year but now it’s time to bring on the music for 2015. Rock on!