15 classic early/mid 2000s indie rock concert videos to watch right now
Cities have begun to reopen and some people are finding socially-distant ways to put on concerts, but the world of live entertainment as we know it is still far from back to normal. While you wait to finally attend a show IRL again, we recommend these awesome videos of classic early/mid 2000s-era indie bands in their primes...
The National @ El Castell Embruixat, France - 2006
The National have been in the air this year. Matt Berninger has a solo album on the way and he's been doing cool quarantine stuff, Aaron Dessner co-wrote and produced much of Taylor Swift's new album and did a livestream where he debuted a ton of new Big Red Machine material, The National recently put out a bunch of live videos from their archives, and their breakthrough album Alligator just celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. To help celebrate that anniversary further, here's The National in France on the Alligator tour. The National are probably an even better live band today than they were in '06, but it's very cool to see them as a young, hungry band, back when they were regularly playing smaller clubs, they were screaming more on stage, and "Mr. November" was just a normal song that got played in the middle of the set. [Andrew Sacher]
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Arcade Fire @ Lowlands Festival, Netherlands, 8/20/2005
Fresh off the release of their acclaimed debut LP, Funeral, in 2004, Arcade Fire had already earned a reputation as an essential live band. This 2005 Netherlands set came in the middle of a busy summer playing festivals for the band, but if they're tired, you wouldn't know it from the passion and energy of their performance. It's goosebumps-inducing from the first notes of "Wake Up" opening the set, and never lets up. [Amanda Hatfield]
Bright Eyes @ Magic Stick, Detroit, MI, 5/12/2002
Bright Eyes are back with a great new album, and in honor of that I revisited this show from much earlier in their career, a few months before the release of Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground. There's an appreciable amount of crowd noise, but that adds to the feeling of actually being in a club, and Conor sounds fired up and impassioned playing an incredible setlist of songs from Letting off the Happiness, Fevers and Mirrors, and Lifted, backed by a full band, string section included. [Amanda Hatfield]
The Shins @ Stubbs, Austin - 7/13/2002
There's been a lot of cool Shins lineups over the years, but there was a real chemistry when James Mercer was joined by Jesse Sandoval and Marty Crandall, and here's a video of that era of The Shins playing Austin a year after their now-classic debut Oh, Inverted World came out. As "pleasant" as The Shins' music may be, they had a real bite in this era, and that really came across on stage. [Andrew Sacher]
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Modest Mouse @ Nita's Hideaway, Tempe, AZ - 10/4/2000
Two years before that Shins video was filmed, they were out on the road opening Modest Mouse's The Moon & Antarctica tour (with The Black Heart Procession on the bill too), and here's a video of MM in Tempe from that tour (during which Marty Crandall comes out and dances on stage). Even today, Modest Mouse are a killer live band, but watching them play a small club in celebration of the release of their best album is a unique thrill that you won't get these days. They had a lot less members on stage back then than they do now, but somehow they were even louder and more intense. [Andrew Sacher]
Death Cab For Cutie @ The Social, Orlando - 2/17/2001
Ben Gibbard's livestreams were one of the best parts of quarantine before he took the break he's currently on, and since he did a lot of early Death Cab rarities during those streams, I've had that era of Death Cab stuck in my head a lot lately so here's a video of them from February 2001. This was still months before The Photo Album came out, but they played almost all of that album, as well as plenty of Facts songs ("Title Track," "Company Calls Epilogue," "For What Reason," "405") and some stuff from The Forbidden Love EP and Something About Airplanes too. The video quality may not be the best, but it still manages to bring you right back to when Death Cab were a modest, rising band playing 200-cap clubs. [Andrew Sacher]
Yeah Yeah Yeahs early footage
I couldn't find a full concert of Yeah Yeah Yeahs back in the day, but here's a couple videos from the band's early days that are very worth treasuring. Not only did YYYs have the songs right off the bat, they also had the commanding stage presence, and it's a real treat to watch them playing small local NYC venues like Mercury Lounge (in 2001) and Brownies (in 2002) and already looking ready to take on stadiums. [Andrew Sacher]
The Microphones @ Pete's Candy Store in NYC - 9/9/2002
After years of performing as Mount Eerie, Phil Elverum revived his early 2000s moniker The Microphones for an excellent new album this year, which has had us revisiting his uniquely great, much-loved original Microphones era. This video captures it perfectly and transports you right back to the early 2000s. Phil opened the show with a full performance of the final Microphones album, Mount Eerie, four months before the album came out. Then he did a quick Q&A with fans and played a bunch of other songs, including several from The Glow Pt. 2, a Little Wings cover, and more. It's nearly impossible to hear Phil's devastating songs without getting completely sucked in, and it seems like you could've heard a pin drop at Pete's Candy Store that day. As soon as he opens his mouth to sing in this video, he sounds as powerful as I've ever heard him. [Andrew Sacher]
The Mountain Goats @ Opolis, Norman, OK - 11/13/2002
The Mountain Goats' first album as a full band, Tallahassee, came out just over a week before this video was taken, but the show it records is a solo performance from John Darnielle. It's a great reminder of the project's origins and an awesome look back at the kind of show we haven't gotten to see him play in recent years, seated with a guitar in an intimate venue. With his first boombox recording since 2002 out now, revisiting it feels very timely. [Amanda Hatfield]
Tegan and Sara @ Coachella - 4/25/2008
Tegan and Sara released their best album so far, The Con, in July of 2007, and their tour that followed included a stop at Coachella the next year. It's an instant-classic set with killer performances of songs from that album and favorites from So Jealous and If It Was You. [Amanda Hatfield].
Spoon @ Rubber Gloves, Denton, TX - 9/10/2002
This home-state Texas show happened about two weeks after the release of Spoon's fourth album, Kill the Moonlight. With the excellent (and essential) Girls Can Tell having come out on Merge the previous year, Spoon were still in the midst of one of their most exiting eras in the early 2000s, and it's a treat to see them playing a killer setlist on a stage far smaller than those they tend to play these days. [Amanda Hatfield]
Rilo Kiley @ Mary Jane's Fat Cat in Houston, TX - 11/16/2002
This show was part of Rilo Kiley's tour supporting their second (and best) album, 2002's The Execution of All Things, and the setlist is everything you'd want, mostly Execution songs and a few from Take Offs and Landings, too. Jenny Lewis sounds raw and earnest and aching, nearly screaming on "The Good That Won't Come Out," and it's a treat to see Blake Sennett take over vocals a few times too. [Amanda Hatfield]
Sigur Ros in Iceland in 2006 (Heima)
In 2006, Sigur Ros filmed two big outdoor concerts as well as some more intimate shows in Iceland and turned it into their live concert film Heima. Along with gorgeous shots of Icelandic landscapes, Heima is a fine document of how stunning Sigur Ros' live shows are. There's footage of them playing calming, earthy music outside with a horn section, totally intense footage of them playing heavier material in the dark with a mesmerizing light show, and plenty of the in-between. It's a long one, but it's worth it. [Andrew Sacher]
Broken Social Scene at Ottawa Folk Festival, August 25, 2004
Broken Social Scene's live shows are cathartic experiences of community and joy, and this 2004 set, recorded at Ottawa Folk Festival, is no exception. It includes a couple of songs of BSS' self-titled third LP, which was still over a year away at this point, and Metric's Emily Haines and Stars' Amy Milan join the party for some of the set. And everyone looks so young! Amanda Hatfield
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Bloc Party @ Glastonbury 2005
Last year, Bloc Party played their classic debut Silent Alarm in full on tour, and with all due respect to the band's current lineup, there's nothing like seeing the original lineup playing those songs, let alone when Silent Alarm was brand new and Bloc Party were rapidly on the rise. There's a real urgency here (and sometimes a tiny bit of sloppiness... which kinda just adds to the raw energy), and the band already knew how to command a massive festival crowd, many of whom already knew every word to these songs that had only come out a few months earlier. [Andrew Sacher]
For more of our favorite live videos, head here.