End Of Year Round Up: Ben Smith (Live Music Editor)

From bank robbers disguised as Rick James to Mac Demarco just being himself, our Live Music Editor rounds up the year in music.

Ben Smith

Last updated: 31st Dec 2015

Image: Madonna 

Where live music is concerned, it's been the year of the front woman and the resurgence of grime. Wolf Alice and Stormzy allay primarily to that thought. Noel Gallagher pissed more people off; Madonna fell off stage at the BRITS; Mac Demarco covered Rammstein at the Albert Hall and I missed out on Glastonbury tickets yet again.  

What's been the stand out gig or club night you've been to this year?

However many great gigs i've been too, I don't think the atmosphere of Noel Gallagher playing in the unique intimacy of Castlefield Bowl could ever be replicated for a regular tour stop. Wherever you see Noel, there is no greater place to catch him than in Manchester; Noel breathes Manchester and it loves him. 

What about your best festival memory?

Switching codes for this one, it was without doubt Marcel Dettman and Ben Klock's back to back set at Awakenings in Amsterdam. As you can imagine, to summon any lost soul for the last slog of a techno festival is an almighty task, but when you're staring up towards the godly thor-like figure of Marcel Dettman, it's your duty to emerge from the aftermath of it all like Terry Butcher did against Sweden in '89. 

What were your five favourite albums of 2015?

Toro Y Moi What For?

Gengahr A Dream Outside

Bill Ryder-Jones West Kirby County Primary

Cage The Elephant Tell Me I'm Pretty

Fidlar Too

What five tracks released this year have you had on repeat the most?

El Vy 'Return To The Moon' 

Pumarosa 'Priestess' (Shura remix)

Kurt Vile & The Violators 'b'lieve i'm going down'

Gengahr 'Darkstar'

Spring King 'City'

What piece of music news struck you most this year whether good or bad?

I'd like to plunge for The Stone Roses plastering lemons all over Manchester's Northern Quarter but it's got to be the following: "Police are searching for a bank robber disguised as Rick James". Criminal activity aside, this notches 2015 comedic levels similar to Usain Bolt getting ploughed by a segway or David Cameron tunnelling a pig. I'M RICK JAMES..BITCH.  

Who has been your musical hero in 2015 and why?

Mac Demarco. He just doesn't give a fuck does he?   

What are you most looking forward to in 2016?

Well, if I avoid the annual and inevitable fiasco of missing out on the Glastonbury resale it's got to be the return of Eagulls at Islington Mill or the Stone Roses playing at the Etihad.

Probably the latter, thousands of revellers in bucket hats, swaggering like Kevin and Perry in that Harry Enfield scene. All jokes aside, I thought they were finished after catching them at Benicassim in 2012. Here's hoping they stick to the good stuff and hold back on recording a new album.  

Read End of year round up: Matt Jones