Obviously these are the best shows I have been to in 2016. So many great gigs other people have been to will not be on the list. The list is rather flawed as my number system works on rating the band itself rather than the show. Many bands haven't been rated, and some have been scrapped from the list because of repeated scores. But this is roughly the best shows I have seen this year.
Unsurprisingly Jeff Lynnes' ELO (9.6/10) are at the top of my list. While many aspects of live shows I usually go to were missing, (cheap tickets, meeting the band after, getting to mosh/dance around) ELO had incredible stage projections, musicianship and a set list packed full of classics, which made 90 minutes feel like half an hour. Bring Me The Horizon (9.2) proved why they are one of the few modern British metal bands to break through into the big leagues with a fantastic set at the FKANIA*.
The Zombies (9.2) are one of the most effortlessly brilliant live bands I've ever seen. Much of their Lunar Festival set was made up of the band talking about their own legacy. However this didn't feel egotistical in the slightest as they had a warm humour and understanding of the importance of their music. As such they played most of their classic 'Odyssey and Oracle' LP and some Argent hits too. Bentley Rhythm Ace (9.2) put on a show like no other band I've ever seen. A live Drum N' Bass/big beat extravaganza, complete with fire breathers, exotic dancers, an air raid siren, and a converted Mini Cooper DJ sound-system. BRA know how to party. Mercury Rev (8.8) are surprisingly brilliant live, as unsurprisingly are King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (8.8) whose 90 minute Hare and Hounds flew by. It was a crazy show, full of extended solos, moshing and psych blasted madness. Another highlight of the Lunar festival were Rhino and The Ranters (8.8), who put on a hugely entertaining set of rockabilly tunes in a packed out tent. Another big surprise was the dutch 'comic jazz' group The Busquitos (8.4). A free show in Solihull's Mell Square which was loads of fun. Featuring about 90 minutes of trad jazz standards, with added serenades for certain audience members. I am proud to say that I saw Skepta (8.4) in one of his few 'Konnichiwa' shows at the Rainbow Warehouse. A straightforward no thrills hour of non stop bangers. Crywank, ALLUSONDRUGS, Black Mekon and Dorcha all scored 8 respectively. All of these are favourite bands of mine yet hugely different in style. Super Furry Animals (7.6) were a tad disappointing, but made up for it by dressing up as Yeti's and playing 'The man don't give a fuck' in it's entirety. BMTH's Support act Don Broco (7.6) were nowhere near as shit as I was expecting. Given a few years they could headline arenas themselves.
Some unrated acts include MC Starstrukk, who impressed me with his gnarly take on grime beats and lyrics that Sacha Baron Cohen, would think a bit too rude. Max Raptor at the rainbow and God Damn at the Sunflower Lounge were both loud as fuck. But only the latter turned the small room into a sauna of moshing. While INME's Dave Mcpherson played a great set at The Sunflower Lounge of heartfelt acoustic Ballardry
In case you were wondering, the lowest rating I've given to a performer all year goes to Badly Drawn Boy (4.8). For his rather disappointing and depressing set at the Lunar Festival this year. Although even he may not be the worst act I saw this year.
Ultimately I feel annoyed that I have missed so many great shows later in the year. Including many I've had tickets for. 2016 has proved that my obsession with live music shows so signs of ever stopping.
*The venue formerly known as the National Indoor Arena.