5 amazing live videos to watch while you’re home and every show is cancelled
Basically no shows are happening due to the coronavirus outbreak (though some artists are doing livestreams instead), but if you're already jonesing to see a show, or just need a brief distraction from the insanity of the world right now, thankfully there's YouTube which has an amazing array of live footage from throughout the history of pop music, from clips from concert films, TV performances and other pro-shot footage, to tons of fan-shot video from shows. If you're looking for a place to start, we've been picking some of our favorites. Here are five more:
Nirvana @ The Mason Jar in Phoenix, AZ - 2/19/1990
Nirvana became one of the biggest rock bands in the world after releasing 1991's Nevermind, but they have a treasure trove of great music that predates that album, including not just their 1989 debut album Bleach but all kinds of demos, rarities, covers, and more that prove they were already a fantastic band before most of the world caught on. They were also a great live band, and some of those pre-Nevermind shows contain some of their best performances. It's especially cool to hear them do soon-to-be-huge songs like "Breed," "Dive," and "Polly" before they were even released, all three of which they did during this killer February 1990 set, which some saint uploaded to YouTube in amazing quality.
XTC on Rockpalast February 10, 1982
XTC singer/guitarist Andy Partridge suffered a mental breakdown on-stage in the middle of the band's Paris show in March of 1982. The band only played a few more shows after that and never toured again. It's a real shame as XTC were an amazing, energetic and incredibly tight live band, as you can see in this episode of German music program Rockpalast that was filmed about a month before that fateful Paris show. The band's fifth album, English Settlement, had only been out for a week and their set is heavy on those songs, including singles "Ball and Chain" and "Senses Working Overtime," with the 15-song set rounded out by now-classics like "Respectable Street," "Making Plans for Nigel," "Generals and Majors," "Sgt Rock," "Life Begins at the Hop," and "Towers of London." XTC's sound would change significantly after English Settlement and this show finds them at the height of their nervy powers.
Nine Inch Nails @ Woodstock 1994
Trent Reznor told Rolling Stone he agreed to play Woodstock '94 to "offset the cost of the tour we're doing right now," but Nine Inch Nails' set was far from a phoned in cash grab. Completely drenched in mud, they played a set heavy on classics from Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral, the latter of which wasn't even a year old yet at the time. Thanks to pro-shot video and remastered audio from engineer Kevin C, it looks and sounds incredible, too.
Sonic Youth @ Electric Factory in Philadelphia - 10/18/1995
If you missing Sonic Youth as much as us, this show at Philadelphia's Electric Factory on their Washing Machine tour in 1995 should definitely scratch the itch. It's not only a high quality video, it was a great set. It kicks off with a roaring version of "Expressway To Yr. Skull" that sets the tone for the rest of this chaotic, ripping live performance, which leaned heavy on Washing Machine material. Props to the band's sinister, dimly-lit set design, and to the cameraman as well, who sacrificed almost two hours worth of arm stamina to deliver a time capsule of one of indie rock's greatest live bands.
Type O Negative @ Dynamo Open Air Festival 1995
Brooklyn was well represented at the 1995 edition of Dynamo Open Air. Type O Negative, Life of Agony and Biohazard -- not to mention NYC's Madball and Orange 9mm, NJ's Dog Eat Dog, and upstate NY's Earth Crisis and Snapcase -- were all on the lineup of the Netherlands heavy music festival. Unlike their friends from the hardcore and crossover thrash scenes though, Type O had achieved recent fame thanks to the mainstream success of their more gothic doom rocking second (proper) album Bloody Kisses, which also made them fit in with Europe's gothic and death doom titans Tiamat, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride who were also billed really high at the fest that year. Short and sweet -- with just a 30 minute set (including, amazingly, a Bon Jovi commercial because this pro shot recording was captured off TV) -- nearly half the video is the encore of Bloody Kisses hit single "Black No.1" (after Evan Seinfeld of Biohazard comes on stage to hype up the crowd). We miss Pete and this band more every day, but this bittersweet video -- which includes that sweet sight of thousands of European fans dancing in unison to the band who was mostly still playing clubs back on their home country and city -- is a great reminder of their greatness from a time when they were at the height of their powers, despite only two (unless you count Origin of the Feces) albums to their name.
For more of our favorite live videos, go here.