Year in Review: Best concerts of 2013

A look back at the shows that made the biggest impression on our reviewers

As selected by Magnus Barkman …

1. Sigur Rós, Roskilde Festival, July 6
When the Icelandic band opened their set on Arena stage I knew right away that this was gonna be something else. The sound was loud and the audience was spellbound by the four silhouettes filling the huge tent with oceans of bow-strung guitar and distorted drums. I’ll remember this one for a long time.

2. Fuck Buttons, Pumpehuset, November 16

Fuck Buttons, shown here performing at Blå in Oslo (Photo: Bernt Rostad / Flickr)
English band Fuck Buttons started a bit low on the sound volume, but soon found their level, which was high – very high. This electronic duo are heavily influenced by post-rock bannermen Mogwai and are out to flatten your body with walls of noise-drones and distorted synths. It all went well, and I was pancaking it home that night.

3. Kurt Vile & The Violators, Amager Bio, May 29

Kurt Vile (Photo: georgia.kral / Flickr)
Surrounded by his trusty backing band The Violators, Kurt Vile played for a packed house at Amager Bio. There’s a distinct garage rock look and feel to his band, and I see Vile as a wicked cross between Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain.

4. Spids Nøgenhat, Pumpehuset, November 9
On this night, the inside of Pumpehuset was lit by a four-wall visual show with spinning mushrooms of all the colours of the rainbow. Through this amazing visual show poured loud, dark, psychedelic garage rock. Frontman Lorenzo Woodrose is maybe better known from his other, more conventional rock’ n’ roll project Baby Woodrose.

5. The National, Roskilde Festival, July 6
Few acts can really connect with the audience at the Orange Stage like The National did that summer night. Partly thanks to Matt Berninger’s ability to get drunk and crowd-surf while singing his perfect baritone and complex lyrics, and partly because the band writes some of the best material out there. I was humming their songs for days after. 

As selected by Justin Cremer …

1. Baroness, Loppen, October 5
Coming back to Copenhagen just 14 months after a tragic accident that nearly ended their career, Baroness played a triumphant and intense show in Christiania. Joined by fellow Georgia rockers Black Tusk and Royal Thunder, the band called the gig “one of the most intense and physically demanding shows in [their] ten year history”. It was, and it was great. Read the full review

2. Russian Circles and Chelsea Wolfe, KB18, November 9

When Russian Circles rolled into Copenhagen, it was as a band at the absolute top of their game. Just weeks after releasing their excellent fifth album, Memorial, the band’s new material fit seamlessly with the old. Drummer Dave Turncrantz is an absolutely mind-blowing beast to witness in person, and co-headliner Chelsea Wolfe also delivered a great set. Read the full review

3. Metallica, Roskilde Festival, July 6

Metallica: they still got it (Torkil Adsersen/Scanpix 2013)
The late additions to the Roskilde line-up played a two-hour-plus set that highlighted the strength of the band’s 30-year career. It was the icons’ first appearance at the festival in ten years, and they clearly enjoyed their return, giving a pummelling and tight performance that belied their advanced years. Read the full review

4. Kurt Vile and the Violators, Amager Bio, May 29
It seems like Kurt Vile can be counted to visit Copenhagen every five months or so, but rather than wearing out his welcome, the Philly singer-songwriter always manages to put on a great concert. Backed by his Violators, Vile rocked a packed Amager Bio and left fans eagerly awaiting his next visit.

5. Tomahawk, Store Vega, August 31
With a low-key stage entrance, the ‘supergroup’ – fronted by Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr Bungle and Fantomas, among others – launched into ‘God Hates a Coward’ and then hardly looked back during a nearly 70-minute set that highlighted the wonderful weirdness of Tomahawk. Read the full review.

As selected by Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk …

1. Sigur Rós, Roskilde Festival, July 6
I didn’t see Sigur Ros, I experienced Sigur Ros. The Icelanders produce some of the purest, soul-searching music you will find for miles around – a trance-like journey that rekindles deep-hidden memories with an edifying caress that no other band can muster. Sigur Ros were shamanic at their show at Roskilde.

2. Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Lille Vega, June 17
The Screaming Eagle of Soul rocked Denmark to its core during his encore at Lille Vega this year. For a man in his 60s who only just recently rocketed to fame, Bradley’s teary, nervy, sweaty, emotional soul trip is the story of a man who made it in America after decades of bad luck and strife. Read the full review. 

3. Crystal Castles, Store Vega, March 2
Crystal Castles pulled off a seismic show at Store Vega towards the end of the winter – a chaotic, cathartic experience that saw lead singer Alice Glass crowdsurf her way to what looked like the middle of the audience at Store Vega. I have never seen anything like it before or since. Read the full review

4. Modeselektor, Store Vega, February 14
Berlin’s Modeselektor have been making music since the wall came down. As driven today as they were back then, the electronic duo are a symbol of the German capital and frontrunners in the world of electronic music. Props for their party-starting credentials and props to Vega for a very well-organised show that included an ‘artist chat’ session at Ideal Bar. Read the full review

5. Chinese Man, Roskilde Festival, July 4

French turntablists Chinese Man were on cue at their show at Roskilde Festival, taking the audience on a journey through dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass, hip-hop and everything in between with a prowess that made it seem as if the genre of turntablism had been around since the dawn of time. Witty, daring and exceedingly cool.