My Favorite Sets of 2016 – David Rubene


It is a bit unbelievable that 2016 is coming to a close. What a year. So many great moments to reflect on in the music scene and sadly, so many tragic losses of cherished artists in the entertainment business. As I sit in my studio and think back through the year, there were so many music experiences that I was truly honored to be part of. Some of those moments include:

  • Photographing many of my ‘wish list’ bands
  • Capturing many album release shows as artists raised their flag in the music scene
  • Covering festivals and power house concerts such as Northern Invasion, Freedom Fest, and Metallica/Avenged Sevenfold/Volbeat and even traveling to California to cover Ozzfest Meets Knotfest
  • Published work in national magazines along with photo use in promotional and merchandising contracts

As Markus and I continue to expand the reaches of Twin Cities Media, 2017 is lining up to be an incredible year. With Markus covering 400+ artists on top of my 300+ artists and additional coverage from the freelance team of photographers and writers, I couldn’t be more proud of our continual growth and achievements.

In looking back at the incredible performances that I covered, I have put together ten of my favorite sets of 2016. This was not an easy task as there were so many kick-ass performances like Vicky Emerson, Dirtball Deluxe, The Langers Ball, Sarah Morris, Kick, Iggy Pop, The Revolution, The Struts, Fury Things, Yellowcard, Abisha Uhl, and Therapy. Here are my ten favorites in no particular order:

Carnage the Executioner (Mill City Nights)

This artist and his set were jaw-dropping. I was at Mill City Nights to cover the headliner, but from the first note to the the last, Carnage (Terrell Woods) had me hooked. The show could have easily ended with his performance.

XIII Arrows (Entry)

There is a new band on the music scene. This was probably my favorite EP Release show I covered this year. There is so much talent in this band, I cannot wait to see the band evolve.Their EP release show was incredible with a solid performance from the entire band.

Catbath (Entry)

Raw energy. One of my favorite Indie Punk set covered this year. The night I covered them, they were in the opening spot, but clearly held their own. Solid to the core.

The Plott Hounds (Le Mystique Room)

One of my local favorites year after year, The Plott Hounds never seem to disappoint. However, when you combine a band like this with a spectacular venue like Le Musique Room, something magic happens. This was an incredible night and was perfect in so many ways.

Nightwish (First Avenue)

There is nothing like covering a SOLD OUT show. Nightwish packed the house at First Avenue for a Monday night performance that kept the crowd roaring for more (and more).

Testament (Myth)

Testament has been going incredibly strong for 33 years now. Their performance at the SOLD OUT Myth was so awesome. It never ceases to amaze me the high level of energy that frontman Chuck Billy displays on stage.

Ghost (Myth)

I had covered Ghost at Northern Invasion a few month prior, but that did not prepare me for what I witnessed at the Myth show. The performance unfolded a new level of musical theatrics. Combined with incredible sound and compelling vocals, the whole experience was mind-blowing.

Metallica (US Bank Stadium)

With the opening of the new US Bank Stadium, the Metallica show was probably the hottest ticket of the summer, selling out months before the actual show. The huge stadium was rocked hard as Metallica turned the volume up to ‘11’.

Sturgill Simpson (First Avenue)

Sturgill Simpson showed no compromise at this SOLD OUT performance. It was likely the very moment when he grabbed his guitar and the crowd unleashing non-stop cheers.

Culture Club (Treasure Island)

Being a high school grad in the mid-80’s, Culture Club’s music was common to any party. Being able to cover them live this year was very iconic. I was floored by the utter talent that frontman Boy George display from the moment he hit the stage. Though it has been many years, his voice and showmanship is amazing.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and great success in 2017!