2019 saw a raft of excellent debut releases, whether from impressive new acts, or well-known brands from all across the music spectrum. As we sit at the end of 2019, we look back on some of the most important moments and favourite albums of the year, presented by our respected guests, bands, labels and artists that we’ve been collaborating here on IDIOTEQ for years. Today’s installment gives you the exclusive list and commentary from an adventurer, activist, humanitarian, vocalist, and an inspirator, Greg Bennick!
The first three months of 2019 were gross. Like the kind of gross where you wish you could just get propelled out into the galaxy and either live on a planet alone or just float through the void of space until the sun dies because you’re so heartbroken and lost. You don’t have times like that? Well good for you and your perfect stupid life. The rest of the year was way better.
Here is my list of the best things that happened in 2019.
Ancestors of God “The Beginning” ep
This Seattle metal band is my most listened to recording of the year. Its got this middle eastern flair to it. I really can’t describe it accurately but fans of metal take note.
Sunn O)) live at The Showbox, Seattle
I had never seen Sunn O))) before. Watching them is like having your guts rearranged by guitar tone and volume while waves of smoke and lights obscure your sense of reality. For those who don’t know, they basically come out on stage and play one note and that note and it’s variations last 90 minutes. It is like meditating with metal monks. Your brain dies and comes back to life like 20 times in their set.
Birds in Row, live at Casseopeia, Berlin
Birds in Row is so cool, and so powerful, and so French. I like everything they do, musically, in terms of their heartfelt and connected messaging, and their politics.
NOTE: The following live clip was not recorded in Berlin. The video was shot at East Side Burgers in Paris, on June 21st, 2019
Knocked Loose, Stick to Your Guns, Rotting Out, Candy, See You Space Cowboy live at El Corazon Seattle
With that lineup do you even need a description? Incredible show.
The knife fight in John Wick 3
I love John Wick. I want to be John Wick. But since I can’t be, and since I’ve never had a dog, I will just celebrate his awesomeness in end-of-year posts about him taking out like 90 dudes with throwing knives.
Bystander live at Fluff Fest
Yep, I just named my own band. Its because this show was a miracle in that we didn’t fail or break up. Literally divine intervention is the only explanation. We had never played seven of our songs together even once and managed to pull it off without total disaster. If there is a god, her existence is proven by the fact that Bystander didn’t fall to pieces onstage.
The country, the people, the hot springs. I could name another hardcore show or release. Or talk about doing a spoken word tour in Iceland, but there’s no need. The entire country is incredible. Go there. Rent a truck and live in it for a couple weeks and sit in hot springs. You will be so happy that you did, even if you put extra money into that rental to live in.
Adelaide, Australia hardcore
On my spoken word tour of Australia this fall I got to play a show with All In and Hurricane, both from Adelaide and both really good. All In is a fast youth crew style hardcore band, and Hurricane sounds like Get the Shot from Quebec. After the show, about a dozen of us hung out and talked for hours and had the best time. If you go, don’t skip Clarity Records!
Tegan and Sara – “Hey, I’m Just Like You” LP
Tegan and Sara’s last few records are priceless pop gems. And this record, of what I understand to be demos which were reworked, is more of the same. Just catchy or emotionally laden or both. This might be one of my favorite of their releases.
Iron Maiden live at the Tacoma Dome
SERIOUSLY? How does your band get so huge that you can have a stage prop which is a giant full sized airplane onstage for your first song? Or have a singer be able to walk around onstage with not one but two flamethrowers in his hands? It makes no sense. While this wasn’t my favorite Maiden show I have ever seen it was definitely a highlight of the year!