My Favorite Sets of 2018 – Markus Akre


I look forward and dread our annual favorite lists equally. As much as I enjoy reminiscing on shows I have seen, how do I declare one better than the other? If it’s an opener, does that say bad things about the headliner? I made a point in 2018 to pick artists that I was not familiar with and sure enough 4 of my five favorites are “new to me”

First the “Honorable Mentions”

Loki’s Folly – if there is a “hot new band” in the Twin Cities right now – those guys are it. They are punk, fresh and oh so much fun.

Gully Boys – voted “Picked to click” by music journalists I caught them at the Icehouse and loved their vibe.

Lisa Stansfield – Her set took me back a few decades and it was like no time had passed at all.

Erasure – One of my favorite bands and one of the most fun shows of the year

Uriah Heep –  I was not expecting to like their set that much. Long songs, long jams that go on for minutes – all stuff I don’t enjoy. Yet the title of my review? “I Stand In The Presence Of Gods”

Now for the winners (for what it’s worth)

Grayshot – All i knew of them was one video. But this Minneapolis band delivered a set that had me smiling and get many of their songs added to play list

Mae Simpson – I first saw them at IPR for the graduating students “Big Show”. My daughter had been telling me for weeks to be ready for something spectacular. Well, she was right. Soul and R&B delivered with enough energy to make a hardcore punk band take notice

Cafe Tacvba – First Avenue crossed the border for one night. From the shouts of “Mexico! Mexico!” as the took the stage it was clear were they were from. There was a very cool vibe at First Avenue that night as the Twin Cities Latin community came out in force.

Jain – I had hear her hits on the Current and they were cool and stuff. But her set introduced me to so many songs that have become favorites and get turned up each time they come on. I also love her stage show and use of technology.

David Byrne – To call me excited to finally see him live would have been and understatement. And then he went, took everything we knew about concerts and live music and tossed it right out the window. His stage setup was simple and complex at the same time and the intricacy of the coordinated movement of every moment of his set was beyond belief.