Who: The best concerts & live acts of 2014
Where: Louisville & Upstate NY
As part of Wildfire Reviews best of year lists (best Acts, Best Venues, Best Festival, Best Songs, Best Albums, Best Movies & Best TV Shows), this is the best live acts that have toured in 2014 we have covered.
Due to being relatively small media outlet, Wildfire Reviews expresses we cannot cover everything, but nonetheless our photographers and this reviewer has done dozens of shows this past year. (Which is why some acts on this list are higher where others touring acts should be.)
Now, here's what's the best that have come off of it:
1) JACK WHITE
Where: Forecastle Festival
It's a no brainer to any concert goer this year that Jack White is one of if not the best live act to see out there in all genres of music, against artists young and old. Anyone that has seen him can say that he's got enormous talent, and now might be the best time to see him. He's got an amazing band that delivers those White Stripes songs in full force. The power behind his performances is tremendous and he's a force that is not to be reckoned with. He puts everything he has into each of his concerts. 2014 proved that Jack White doesn't need a band name and that he can easily headline a 75k festival all by his name alone.
(Jack White live @ Forecastle Festival 2014, Photographer Justin Tarbell)
2) THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT
Where: Ithaca State Theater
Although they may appeal to a select number of music lovers (although their sold out show in Ithaca, NY @ the State Theater proved otherwise), The String Cheese Incident is one of the best bands you can see out there that's worth the entertainment for your buck. Every member of the band gets into the jams, and each of them have their own individual force that makes up who The String Cheese Incident are. And these guys put on four hour long concerts, so if you go see them, expect to stay a while. However, while your there and their playing in front of you, time seems to just pass on by without meaning as they can capture you with a wall of sound and a light show unlike any other.
(String Cheese Incident Live @ State Theater, Ithaca, NY Photographer Justin Tarbell)
3) LAKE STREET DIVE
Where: Westcott Theater
Lots of music outlets are reporting that Lake Street Dive are the best new group of 2014, but hey, these guys have been in on the scene for a while now. Their sophomore 2014 album sounds fantastic live, and if you go, you will not miss Rachel Wise's powerful female vocals. She's stunning and can capture the woos of the crowd for the entire night with her beauty and talent. The rest of the group are all great as well, and you can tell their hard work and music schooling have paid off into a professional indie jazz group.
4) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Where: Darien Lake
Lets face it. Tom Petty is facing age, and age sure shows now at his concerts. However, that doesn't take from Mr. Petty still putting on a fantastic show wherever he goes. The music he and The Heartbreakers deliver live is always top notch, and you'll most definitely hear your favorite tunes pump away from these music legends. For a band with members pushing into their 70s, they are worth spending the extra money to go see and are highly entertaining. Tom Petty himself is a good and humerus spokesperson as he can sometimes get into his speaches with the crowd.
(Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers below @ Darien Lake, photographer Lou Sorendo)
5) John Legend
Where: The On-center Carrier Theater
That voice and piano will stay with you a long time if you ever get a chance to see John Legend live in concert. It's as if the two were meant to be together, and John delivers such an emotional show that even he says we'll be perfect for any date. His piano skills are absolutely amazing, and he is worth every penny to spend on. It's noteworthy that Legend performs a terrific and powerful version of 'Like a Bridge Over troubled waters' that will have Paul Simon shaking in his boots.
6) SAMANTHA FISH
(Samantha Fish Below @ Westcott Theater Photographer Matt Paufve)
The power of the blues is back and can be heard better than ever at any Samantha Fish concert. She has been one of the most hardest touring people of 2014, and it seems like she's been everywhere. Which shows there's no excuse why you shouldn't head out for the night to see one of her bluesy rock driven shows. She's got the looks to go along with her talent as well as sass and a great sense of blues appreciation. For those wanting to hear new blues music, young singer song writer & guitarist Samantha Fish is the answer.
7) Nickel Creek
Where: Fore Castle Festival
It's so hard to chose who is better than who, because Nickel Creek was one of the best live groups at Forecastle Festival. While the trio only played a handful of shows for their reunion tour in 2014, they are not to be missed anywhere they go. Each member of the band connects so well with the others its like watching peas and carrots hanging out with more peas and carrots. And violinist singer song writer Chris Pine has that goofy face, demanding vocals and presence that make a Nickel Creek concert one of the most memorable times you can witness with live music.
(Nickel Creek below @ Forecastle Festival Photographer Justin Tarbell)
8) Derek Trucks
Whether he was with The Allman Brothers Band or his other group, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Derek Trucks is one of the best guitarists you can see out on the road these days. He was a busy man this year switching back between his two groups. And if you were able to catch the ABB live, than this is your lucky year because it will be the last time the group will ever come together to play. Seeing Derek Trucks with them at Mountain Jam was tremendous, especially performing their first two albums back to back.
Derek Trucks Below with Warren Haynes @ Mountain Jam X (Photographer Leo Pareti)
9) Jenny Lewis
Where: State Theater, Ithaca
Jenny Lewis have been gathering fans for over a dozen years now, and the efforts have come off. She's produced some amazing songs and records, and they show it live. Theirs nothing wrong with her live shows, and her and her band do a great job delivering the songs her fans live. She has a great voice that blends absolutely perfect with the type of music she does, and although she signifies hippie power at its greatest, her live performances are nothing to joke about.
(Jenny Lewis below @ The State Theater photographer Leo Pareti)