Top 20 best Twin Cities concerts of 2014 (so far)

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Photo by Erik Hess

Exceptional local and national musicians play our Twin Cities clubs every night. Plenty of shows are worth the price of admission, but then there are the nights that are transcendent affairs.

As the year reaches its summery midway point, Gimme Noise looks back at what we've seen and heard. Here are 20 of the best concerts of 2014 so far.

See Also:
The best Twin Cities concerts of 2013, part two
The best Twin Cities concerts of 2013 (so far)

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Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen

20. Betty Who at 7th Street Entry, January 18

"Betty Who is reminiscent in both sound and looks to Robyn and Pink, and just like those two, she seems bound to play bigger rooms to an ever-growing audience. The sugary powerpop pulse of 'You're In Love' and 'Alone Again' emphatically got the show started, and soon enough the crowd was bouncing in time to the towering beats, and balloons materialized out of nowhere and were batted about playfully on and off the Entry stage, adding to the celebratory nature of the night. Newham was effortlessly charming, and her buoyant personality infused her material with a convivial appeal. She even vamped while doing a choreographed dance with her band, humorously busting out the Dinosaur as they all moved in time with the music."

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Photo By Steve Cohen

19. Heiruspecs at Amsterdam, April 26

"Heiruspecs took the stage to big cheers from the excited audience, which essentially filled the whole of Amsterdam. Opening with 'On the Ground,' Midway Felix and Muad'dib immediately proved their newly developed skills with harmonizing vocals by filling in for Chastity Brown, who tackles the song's hook on the record. Night Falls incorporates a number of big sung choruses and melodic verses into the mix, and it was impressive to see the vocalists handle that end in addition to rapping and beatboxing. 'I can't tell you how weird that is onstage,' Felix said after 'Been Around,' presumably talking about the melodies permeating through the song, both in the hook and the rapped verses. If any of the songs were outside the band's comfort zone, it was impossible to tell, as they confidently rolled through a long, solid set."

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Photo By Mark N. Kartarik

18. Cloud Nothings at Turf Club, May 1

"That's right: the show was so good, I briefly forgot I was supposed to be covering it. Unprofessional? Maybe, but I chalk it up to the power of the band. In all my years of doing this, not once has that happened. Cloud Nothings are quite possibly the band that many have been looking for over the last two decades. 0 percent fat. Not even one note was present that doesn't have a specific purpose. There were no extra anythings -- it was all lean and trim and the hooks are so sharp they could slice a diamond in two without a struggle."

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Photo By Erik Hess

17. Jeremy Messersmith at First Avenue, February 22

"Jeremy Messersmith's grandiose Heart Murmurs record release show at First Avenue is something he's been building towards for his whole creative life. The Minneapolis transplant's modest, acoustic-driven early work hinted at a scope and scale far larger, but his recent material demands a bigger stage. Messersmith got that and then some at his sold-out homecoming show on Saturday night. His 10-piece backing band -- including the Laurels String Quartet -- gave vibrant life to a career-spanning, 95-minute set showcasing his songwriting gifts."

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Photo by Tahiel Jimenez

16. Deafheaven at Triple Rock Social Club, June 23

"After just a brief intermission, the moment had arrived: Deafheaven. Vocalist George Clarke, dressed in head to toe black like the rest of the band, stood eerily illuminated by dull stage lights behind his mic stand. He leaned menacingly over the audience, mirroring drummer Daniel Tracy's playing with abrupt arm movements and pausing often to tilt his chin upwards, eyes closed, bathed in light. There was no definitive break in between songs; short, beautiful interludes filled in the empty spaces."


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78 comments
Brandon Van Vliet
Brandon Van Vliet

The CHAIN GANG of 1974 at the 7th Street Entry June 12th,, #duh

Steve Len
Steve Len

Trey Anastasio/First Ave/Feb 2014

Dan Mathews Sr.
Dan Mathews Sr.

Daniel Ellsworth and The Great Lakes at the Turf Club. Excellent! !

Cassie Vaughan
Cassie Vaughan

Backstreet Boys at Excel Energy Center on June 10th :D

Courtney Lehman
Courtney Lehman

Rock the Garden was a blast! Matt & Kim KILLED IT!!!

Gerald Scott
Gerald Scott

DEEP SLEEP OPERATOR / Throw the Fight ! Awesome !

Preston Saari
Preston Saari

The Currents playlist. What a shocker? Really out did yourselves on this one

Anna G
Anna G

Phantogram and Chromeo are missing from this list, IMO!

Steven James Røste
Steven James Røste

ZZ Ward at The Skyline was pretty great too! Aesop Rock at First Ave was amazing, but his opening act, Bus Driver was horrible.

samprice021
samprice021

seven lions at first ave? not even chromeo?

Gregory Roth
Gregory Roth

Playing For Change at O'Shaughnessy in June 2014.

Curtis Brothers
Curtis Brothers

CHER & Cyndi Lauper! Having a group of awesome backup dancers didn't hurt either! Incredible entertainment!

Nolan Murphy
Nolan Murphy

Nicki Bluhm and the gramblers at the cedar

Paul Hartzheim
Paul Hartzheim

Mayer Hawthorne with Quadron at First Avenue was excellent.

t-roe79
t-roe79

I'd say Temples, Mogwai, and Broken Bells all deserve to be in the top 20.

hoffm83n
hoffm83n

apparently nobody was at darkside

EricChristopher
EricChristopher

St. Vincent's show would have been higher if PEOPLE WOULD HAVE STOOD UP THE WHOLE SHOW!


Anne Weitz
Anne Weitz

Soundset but Maxwell comes in a close second.

Dan Stephenson
Dan Stephenson

With out a doubt nick cave and the bad seeds at the state theatre!

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