It’s time to leave the festival season behind and focus on the best of the best. In part one we unveil the kings of the live show, the best new band and the tracks, albums and gigs that made your year. Let’s get to it.
The Best Live Band In The World Right Now
Biffy Clyro (26%)
Biffy Clyro are always in and around the top of any fan vote StrictlyRandL puts together, but 2013 was the year when they turned that groundswell of support into an avalanche. Doubters were turned into believers during their stunning sold out arena tour, but that proved to be a mere warm up for the main event: Biffy’s long awaited headline set at Reading and Leeds. Who cares if Sonisphere got there first, this was the moment when Biffy stated their claim to the rock and roll crown – no longer the oncoming storm, Biffy Clyro are the new standard in rock.
The Band/Artist Of The Year
Arctic Monkeys (21%)
Just pipping Biffy Clryo to the post (by two votes if you’re keeping score) are the Arctic Monkeys. Biffy might have been Reading’s definitve guitar band, but Arctic Monkeys were the band who stole the show on the national stage. NME’s 10/10 review might have been hyperbolic but fans in the UK and US fell head over heels for AM. No band can truly claim a year as their own without one big nationally televised moment and Arctic Monkeys had theirs when they got Glastonbury off to a flying start with an all guns blazing, redemptive, headline set.
The Best New Band
Wow this one has taken me completely by surprise, Bastille are a hugely successful band and “Pompeii” was one of the year’s enduring anthems, but some of our readers have been less than complimentary about the band in the last 12-months. Still, Bastille held the NME tent in the palm of their hands at Reading and clearly made one hell of an impression on our readers.
The Album Of The Year
…Like Clockwork – QOSTA (5%)
Winning by a paper thin one vote from AM (Arctic Monkeys), Opposites (Biffy Clyro) and Holy Fire (Foals) is …Like Clockwork. What made the album so special? Well it brought together everything that the Queens do well. It was sexy, hugely ambitious, deliciously creepy, thunderously pumpelling and gloriously theatrical – it might not have the pop delights of their earlier work, but …Like Clockwork was a proper album that rewarded multiple start-to-finish listens.
The Track Of The Year
“R U Mine?” – Arctic Monkeys (11%)
A clear winner in a category that is usually incredibly scatter shot. Arctic Monkeys tracks made up 19% of the entire vote, and “R U Mine?” is an excellent choice of winner. It’s a rip roaring track that is devastatingly meaty live and offers plenty of lyrical intrigue on record. It’s a banger with brains, and brutal beatdown with enticing melodies; “R U Mine?” is a true crowd pleaser.
The Gig Of The Year
Vampire Weekend @The O2 Arena (3%)
Sometimes me (the editor) and the readers agree. I gave Vampire Weekend at The O2 Arena the full five stars and called it the gig of the year and, well, it appears a significant minority agree with me. Here’s what I said at the time:
“It wasn’t conventional and it wasn’t big in any recognisable sense, but Vampire Weekend successfully delivered the kind of forward thinking and undeniably poignant performance that will stick long in the memory. Daring, demented, new and utterly magnificent: Vampire Weekend at the O2, the gig of the year.”