Bringing a list to you all that has my top 15 favorite bands I have seen live, I have seen all of these artists in person at either a festival or club setting. Hopefully those that check out this list can find some bands or artists on here they don’t really know and will check them out because they deserve the support!
15. Killswitch Engage
Active legends in the American heavy metal scene that were pioneers for modern metalcore today, they were a late in the day headliner on the second stage at Sonic Temple and they controlled the enormous crowd and had everyone entertained the entire time they were on stage.
One of the hottest up and comers in rock today that is taking the world by storm. His songs compel people through the melodies and lyrical content, his live performance is the cherry on top with his energetic and flamboyant persona taking center stage. Seeing him mid day at Sonic Temple was very refreshing because of his more modern take on rock music, a truly captivating artist.
13. Knocked Loose
One of the frontrunners in hardcore and metalcore today is Knocked Loose, having gained a huge following over the years due to their beatdown style of hardcore and influences from metal for guitar riffs. I saw them in the club setting in 2018 and was blown away by how tight these guys are and the crowd just ate it up entirely.
Probably the most eccentric band on this list is Avatar, these Swedish metal heads are killer on stage. Their music is intriguing, fun, intense, and all around great. Their outfits for stage are reminiscent of a circus ring leader and their makeup is classic metal looking makeup. Their performance is funny, theatrical, skillful, and enjoyable on the eyes. One of the most shockingly amazing bands that I saw at Sonic Temple 2019 and I can’t wait to see them again.
11. State Champs
State Champs is a band I have had the pleasure of seeing in both the festival and club show setting. In both scenes they bring the pop punk heat that we all want, always being so fun to watch and seemingly making perfect setlists of all eras of their band. Derek is an unbelievable front man and the rest of the band brings so much energy that radiates through the crowd every song.
One of the bands on this list that surprised me with how good they are live. Tobias Forge has a hauntingly infectious tone that makes his voice standout, the bands imagery and attire of the Ghouls draws attention from everyone in the crowd and their song sound perfect live. They were one of the best bands I saw at Sonic Temple 2019 and am itching to see them again.
9. Papa Roach
Papa Roach impressed me so much seeing them at Sonic Temple 2019, I was not expecting them to put on honestly, the second best set from all the headliners. For being around as long as they have been, they manage to still captivate audience members with ease. Jacoby Shaddix has a presence and energy that I have not seen besides himself. They opened with Last Resort and it was wicked, a set that I will never forget for sure.
8. Boston Manor
One of the smaller bands on this list, I saw three times in 2019 alone, the first at Sonic Temple 2019 where their crowd at the beginning had maybe 350 people but when I turned around at the end of their set there was more than 5,000 people watching. I saw their headliner shows in the US twice in the span of two weeks because they are just that good. Their modern alt-rock/pop punk sound makes everyone in the crowd bounce, run, and mosh like it’s instinctual. They are one band that I say everyone needs to check out. Also, they don’t do encores because that is corny, which I respect immensely.
7. Don Broco
Don Broco is huge over in the UK and their live shows give us the reason why, their songs were made to be played by these guys in front of huge crowds. I have seen them three times in both festival and club shows and they have blown me away each time, the whole set is nothing but dancing and moshing from the crowds. Rob Damiani has a unique tone to his voice that just draws listeners in. The rest of the band are true masters of their instruments that makes the live experience so much more enjoyable.
6. The Story So Far
Of course I have to put my favorite pop punk band of all time on this list. The reason they are on this list isn’t because they have this wild and crazy stage presence, quite the opposite actually. The Story So Far can stand completely still on stage and just play their instruments and Parker can sing the lyrics, but you look in the crowd and there will be thousands of people going nuts crowd surfing, moshing, and everything in between. My favorite club show of 2019 for sure goes to these guys.
Beartooth is the band I have seen live more than any other band and for good reason. Their recorded music is one thing but seeing them live is a whole other experience. I don’t feel more at home than in the crowd for Beartooth playing a set. Caleb Shomo is a legend and his vocal and stage presence shows that. Anyone that is considering seeing them live, do not hesitate. Go the very next chance you get, it will be unbelievable and you will not want it to end.
4. Breaking Benjamin
I have had the pleasure of seeing Breaking Benjamin once so far and it was an amazing show. The crowd was huge and singing along to every word of the long set they played for us. Benjamin Burnley has one of the most distinct voices in rock music, his voice carries, he has a beautiful tone, powerful scream, and it sounds just like recording live. Their production is intense and full of pyro which will always get them bonus point from concert goers.
3. Greta Van Fleet
Greta Van Fleet put on one of the most inspiring live performances I have ever seen. Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. Their set finished at right around 3 hours of pure rock and roll goodness and magic. The Kiszka’s and Danny Wagner are four unbelievable musicians that are some of the best I have ever seen perform. Like a lot of other artists on this list, their music was meant to be heard live. These guys are as rock and roll as they come. Anyone that doesn’t listen to these guys needs to change that right now.
2. Motionless In White
I will forever say that Motionless In White is one of the best live bands of all time. They have a sound unique to their own and in the metalcore world that is something truly special and you can only get the full affects of that seeing these guys live. I knew they were going to be good when I saw them but I didn’t expect them to be as good as they were. Chris Motionless is quite possibly the best frontman in metalcore today and his vocals live are amazing both singing and screaming, he tops the charts.
No surprise here, Dave Grohl is a deity in rock music. It was scarring in the best way possible when I saw him walk out on the stage at Sonic Temple. Seeing each member of the band come out to stage was jaw dropping, living legends came out to rock for two hours with no remorse, they wanted to rock us until we dropped dead. Their set was high energy, tight, and mind-blowing. I will never forget that set, it was the perfect end to a festival weekend. I do not think there will be a band I can see that will top what Foo Fighters did that night.