My Favorite Sets of 2018 – Cameron Campbell


2018 was a year of new and olds for me. Some of the bands I have wanted to see since I was a young teen and others of whom I have never missed a show. So to narrow my list down to five shows – it took me a lot of time and thought. There were a lot of shows that didn’t make my top five for one reason or another. Here are my honorable mentions:

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls: The Myth

Brian Setzer: State Theater

Courtney Barnett: Surly Festival Field

#5: Jack White- The Armory

The first time I picked up a guitar, I sat there for hours trying to figure out “Seven Nation Army”. Since the age of 12, I have been waiting to see the infamous Jack White. As I stood in the sea of fans at The Armory, my phone locked away, I was blown away by the cult of White. The crowd was energized as he raged through classic White Stripes songs and banger new tracks. I was jumping and singing and forgot that a phone was even a thing. Jack White made the wait worth while.

#4: The Hold Steady- Surlyfest

The hiatus was over for one of the greatest MN bands of all time. The highly praised Hold Steady tore up the giant festival grounds before going into the 7th Street Entry for the first time the night after that. When I arrived I heard the announcer start introducing THS and declaring October 14th “Hold Steady Day”.  As Craig Finn shouted lyrics located in the Twin Cities I couldn’t help but feel right at home. I felt the JOY that the band felt on stage and had a smile on my face the whole time.

#3: BECK- The Armory

I remember the first time I heard the song “Loser” I was young and immediately obsessed. I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped into The Armory, this time without my phone being locked away. Opening for Beck was the band of famed Stroke’s frontman Julian Casablanca – The Voids. Their set was decent, but the real treat was getting to see such a legend in the alt-rock scene. When Beck came on the stage, colors and lights danced around the stage and took the crowd by storm. I was instantly mesmerized, as he opened the night with bangers, “Devil’s Haircut” and “Loser.” The wait to see Beck was worth it, as he blew all my expectations out of the water that night.

#2: Soul Asylum- Super Bowl Festival

I have seen Soul Asylum about a “hundred” times, but this experience was something I will never forget. As the band took the stage I stood in the back in the midst of a massive snow fall with my girlfriend and one of my good friends, when the band took the stage our jaws were in the snow. The lights of the stage hit the snow and electrified the night life in the city. As the band played their classics such as “Runaway Train” and “Somebody Shove” I remember standing there thinking that if I had frostbite, it was well worth it and I would do it again.

#1: Car Seat Headrest- First Ave

I went to this show on a whim. My younger brother is a huge fan said they would change my world. They did. The opening band was “The Naked Giants”, a band who now I really dig. Their early 2000’s rock sound captured me from the get go. The band then took the stage again, as a part of Car Seat Headrest. I knew of Car Seat Headrest but I had never got into, but when they hit the stage it didn’t matter. I have never seen a more powerful show at First Avenue. I honestly believe they are the best live going right now. With a mix of their hits and Neil Young covers they swept my feet from under me and left me feeling like nothing I saw after them would be the same. I never thought before I went they would be my top show of 2018 but the second they left the stage I knew nothing for the rest of the year would live up to Car Seat Headrest.