Top five shows of 2013

Phil Collins - December 23, 2013

Another year draws to a close and I cannot help but think back on all the great shows that happened in 2013. Here are five of my favorite shows from the last 12 months, in no particular order. Did you go to any of these shows, or what were your favorite shows of 2013? Tell us in the comments.

Titus Andronicus, The So So Glos, Sharpless at the Metro

Titus Andronicus

This stands as my only time seeing Titus Andronicus, so it is no surprise that this was one of the most memorable shows of the year. "The Monitor" is one of my favorite albums in recent years and their other work is nothing to sneeze at. Seeing them play "No Future Part Three," "A More Perfect Union" and "Titus Andronicus Forever" was something I had hoped to experience for a long time. They played all those songs and more from "The Monitor" as well as choice selections from "Local Business." The So So Glos, from Brooklyn, opened in support of their excellent new album "Blowout." I had heard a few songs from this band before but had never seen them. They were the best kind of opener: the kind you want to keep playing and you look up after the show. This show happened to fall on the anniversary of MCA's death. At the end of Titus Andronicus' set, all the bands got up on stage and covered The Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" together. It was one of those moments in music that makes a big world feel small and strangers feel like friends.

Riot Fest (Rancid, FLAG, The Selecter, Against Me!...)

The Selecter

Maybe choosing the whole of Riot Fest as one of my favorite shows of the year is a cop out, because there were probably 20-30 individual sets squeezed into that weekend, but it was without a doubt one of the best times of the year. FLAG, Rancid, The Selecter (pictured above), Against Me! and Bad Religion were among this year's best performances. I have already gone on about Riot Fest at great length on this blog, so if you want to hear more, head to my recaps of Day One, Day Two and Day Three. Oh, and I know where I will be September 12-14 of 2014.

Streetlight Manifesto at House of Blues

Of course the final Chicago show of one of my favorite bands is going to make the cut. Streetlight left the door open for some sporadic festival dates or even a short tour here and there, but as a full-time touring and recording band, they are done. They took ska to another level. Shouting their fast, complex lyrics and skanking at the same time made their shows exhausting and exhilirating. Their long-awaited album "The Hands That Thieve" is one of the year's best. It is always better for a band to go out at the top of their game, but it sure makes it hard to say goodbye. Read my recap of the show here and Steve O's recap of Streetlight's final two shows in their home state of New Jersey here.

Suicide Machines, Dead Ending, The Goddamn Gallows, Dirty Kid Discount at Reggies Rock Club

More ska! This was my second time seeing Suicide Machines, the ska/hardcore band behind the brilliant album "Destruction By Definition" and a staple of the 90's Tony Hawk skate punk situation. Yelling "Hey" during their song "Hey" is one of my favorite memories of the year. I'm sure that sounds ridiculous if you are not familiar with that song, but if that is the case, rectify that right now. My recap of the show includes a video of Suicide Machines playing "Hey" a couple years ago, which is a pretty good indication of what their shows are like. The quality of all the opening bands at this show is another reason it makes the list. Dead Ending was a thrill to see. I am listening to a lot of Dirty Kid Discount and hope they come through town again soon.

RVIVR at Township

Making a decision to fill this last slot was not easy because there were so many good shows this year. RVIVR is responsible for one of my top albums this year, "The Beauty Between." They only come around every once in a while and this was my first time seeing them. This band is going places, fast. If you have not heard "The Beauty Between" yet, drop what you are doing and stream it for free on their bandcamp page. Read my full recap of the show here.