Spin releases their Top 25 Live Bands Now:

According to SPIN Magazine, the top 25 live acts in current music are as follows:

01. U2
02. The Stooges
03. Arcade Fire
04. Red Hot Chili Peppers
05. Radiohead
06. White Stripes
07. Green Day
08. The Hives
09. Prince
10. The Dirtbombs
11. Queens Of The Stone Age
12. Turbonegro
13. My Chemical Romance
14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
15. Riverboat Gamblers
16. The Flaming Lips
17. The Roots
18. My Morning Jacket
19. Art Brut
20. Gogol Bordello
21. Against Me!
22. LCD Soundsystem
23. AFI
24. The Mars Volta
25. Comets On Fire

I would love to hear our readers thoughts on this list, as I personally disagree with several selections. I was shocked to not find Sigur Ros and their amazing live show on this list. Also, where is Wilco, Explosions in the Sky and Broken Social Scene?

Furthermore, I completely disagree with placing Red Hot Chili Peppers above Radiohead AND White Stripes. But, above all, I think what floored me the most about this list was their placing The Flaming Lips 16th, under bands like The Hives, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and My Chemical Romance. To me that’s just unthinkable. In my opinion, The Lips are a top five live show, hands down.

Readers, what do you think? What would your list look like? I’m curious.

– Joshua Neal

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24 Responses

  1. SPIN used to be cool. That said:

    07. Green Day — meh
    14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs — pretty good
    16. The Flaming Lips — meh
    17. The Roots — YES!
    20. Gogol Bordello — YES!
    22. LCD Soundsystem — pretty good

    These are the only bands listed I’ve seen. I 100% agree with the inclusion of The Roots, and no it is not favoritism because they’re from Philly. I was blown away with each set (3 total) they played at their Picnic last month. The 3rd set was so great that I was bored during Gnarls Barkley’s set that followed as the headlining act that night.

    Gogol is craaazy and puts on a great show, so that I can agree with, too. I barely remember in the instances in which I saw LCD or the Flaming Lips and I hardly remember being blown away by Green Day or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

    I’ve got to give my Top 25 greater consideration (I’m about to rush out to see Tilly & the Wall/The Ruby Suns), but I’ll be back with it.
    xo

  2. I haven’t seen them live, but from the youtube videos I’ve watched, I dislike U2’s overblown theatrics in what they call a concert these days. They would not have been my number one pick.

    Arcade Fire gets my respect for being high up on a list. Any band that can perform a decent sounding encore in a crowded room by their merch table with those instruments deserves to be that high.

    Drove through a blizzard to see the RHCP and it was not worth the drive. Band worth the drive, Radiohead. They should have hands down been ahead of RHCP on this list.

    Yeah Yeah Yeahs-it is pretty entertaining to see Karen O bite the microphone and yell.

    My Morning Jacket-I will be seeing them this month, but if they are anything like Jim James’ solo set, then they deserve to be on the list.

    Against Me!-I don’t know if they would have made my cut, but they were passionate live.

    AFI-Again, I don’t know if they would have made my list, but they put on a decent show.

    I would have to think more about my own personal list. Off the top of my head, one band I’m surprised didn’t make this list is Muse. I normally always see them on these live show lists and it is deservedly so.

  3. josh i totally agree with you on the flaming lips. when i saw that, i laughed. it’s embarrassing.

  4. I haven’t seen any of these bands live, except for My Morning Jacket, who I saw open for Bright Eyes back in…..2003 if I’m recalling correctly. And I don’t really remember them cause I was fifteen and too busy creaming myself over anticipation for Conor Oberst.

    However, I would kill anyone to see Arcade Fire or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or The Flaming Lips and seriously maim anyone to see most others on the list. I’d like to have seen a little something else with this list though. I can’t quite put my finger on it though. I’ll comment more later.

    However, if there was one person in this world that needed his ego inflated anymore I can guarantee you it’s not Bono. Between his ridiculously obnoxious appearances in the Charles Bukowski and Leonard Cohen documentaries in the last couple years and that shadyass Red campaign he backed, I’m done with him. I could literally go the rest of my life and never hear another generic ass U2 song or see Bono’s face again and that would be too soon. I’ve seen bits and pieces of their live show and it’s just a bunch of smoke and mirrors to cover up the fact that their songs all sound the same and aren’t even that good. I dunno, I have major beef with U2 and Bono if you couldn’t tell and I’m gonna end that rant there.

  5. I have a violent hatred for U2. Gogol Bordello and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are pretty awesome live, though.

  6. How the hell could they leave out Modest Mouse? Isaac destroys every night. The Helio Sequence should be on a top 100 if there was one. Benjamin Weikel destroys his kit like nobody you’ve ever seen.

    Green Day? Really? Are they even still relevant?

    This is like a who’s who list of bands you need to ass kiss just to seem like you’re still up on pop music. Get a clue, SPIN

  7. I hate hate hate U2. I’m so glad you guys have my back there.

    However, I have heard nothing but spectacular things about Daft Punk’s live show. They’re not on this list but LCD Soundsystem is?

    I can’t disagree with most of the bands that are on this list. Except for the ones I’ve never heard of (such as The Dirtbombs, Turbonegro). If their live shows are so great, why have I never heard of them? Now, it could be just my own personal ignorance, but I’m actually pretty good when it comes to knowing about obscure shit. Even if I haven’t heard the music, I’ve at least heard the band’s name. While at the same time, acts that are legendary to everyone else I’ve spoken to (like Tori Amos, Motion City Soundtrack, etc.) are completely absent. It bothers me when publications attempt to make themselves sound more legit by throwing in things that no one has ever heard of, because if you don’t know who they are, they must be awesome, right?

    Wrong.

    Overall, not a bad list. Except for the elitist parts shining through.

  8. Arcade Fire is the most overrated band of all time, they’re like Bruce Springsteen for hipsters. I can’t understand how they left the NIN off the list. The Roots at 17 makes me wonder if they’ve ever seen a Roots show. Anthony Kiedis can’t even sing on pitch for more than a verse so RHCP doesn’t make sense to me. Putting the Stooges at #2 makes me think they had one guy making the list and he put his favorite band up there. Putting U2 at #1 is suspect, my mom could put a better list together. Listing arena bands requires no creativity at all. Now I have another publication to dislike more than RS.

  9. I love you all!

    Jimmy: “I was fifteen and too busy creaming myself over anticipation for Conor Oberst.”
    HILarious! Also…silly to still be that way about Conor? I hope not.

    Ajay: THANK YOU for backing me on the Roots. Josh said I was only saying that they’re amazing since they’re Philly guys. 😛 to Josh.
    Also, “…my mom could put a better list together.” hahaha Please ask her to! If my mom did, I’m pretty sure Pink Floyd, Jackson Brown and, yes, the Boss, whom you despise, would end up on hers.

    While I fear my picks will be a bit more obscure, here we go (not necessarily in any order):
    +David Ford (the looping along)
    +Muse
    +The Roots
    +Project Jenny, Project Jan
    +Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
    +Tilly & the Wall
    +Kevin Devine (is the most passionate man about music I’ve ever encountered — he’s so intense about music and his performance always blows me away)
    +Man Man
    +Tokyo Police Club
    +She & Him
    +The Rapture
    +Quintron & Miss Pussycat
    +DeVotchKa
    +Gogol Bordello
    +The Dodos

    While I’ve never seen Radiohead or Beck, I’m sure they’re stellar live.

  10. In my opinion the Roots are the best band in music period. I think they fly over people’s heads because of their own misconceptions or lack of understanding. No list is complete without Man Man! Any Philly people remember Need New Body? Foo Fighters deserve a slot although I prefer the original four piece, the current incarnation is way too bloated for me. The Dub Trio is pretty awesome to see live, being instrumental their sound may not work for some people but they’re onto something. I’ve only seen Mute Math once and they blew me away, it was a ampitheatre but they reacted with the crowd like a club show. I’m disappointed that they left Maroon 5 and Dave Matthews Band off there, the nerve of them!

  11. Oh my God, I forgot about the Flaming Lips. Amazing live show. One of the best I’ve seen.

  12. Ajay,

    I have to agree AND disagree with you about Foo Fighters. I just saw them on Saturday night and I was blown the hell out of my seat. Do they have a crazy number of guitars? Yes, they do. However, Dave Grohl knows how to put on a damn show. They should have had a slot no matter what incarnation…

  13. oh and I’m so thrilled that some of you guys can’t stand U2. Actually, my problem is Bono… and for no reason really. Somethin about him…

  14. I’m a Prince fan but I’m surprised he’s still considered relevant on this list.

  15. I take my Foo Fighters comment back, Dave Grohl is god in some parts of the world. U2 are caricatures of themselves but Achtung Baby still amazes me every listen.

  16. Ajay, we’re gonna be gooood friends! Your love for both the Roots and Man Man assures that 🙂

    Zen — Good to see you again!

  17. Jess – I said you were biased about the roots! I feel I need to point out I love them, just not in my number one spot. And the Flaming Lips Meh? Really? I agree with you though, as much as I hate them, MUSE should be on that list.

    Ajay, I have to give you some love on Dub Trio. I fucking LOVE that group. I was completely impressed by their live show.

    Ed, I have seen Green Day twice, and I thought they were pretty damn good both times. While they may be past their prime, which I’m not sure I agree with, they know how to work a crowd.

  18. I fear that the “meh” to the Flaming Lips was because I saw them at a festival and wasn’t really paying attention to them in favor of someone else. May not have even been the Flaming Lips. Ha!

  19. I’m a little taken a back by Queens of the Stone Age’s presence on this list, considering both Josh Homme’s notoriously douchy (spelling?) on-stage behavior and how I have yet to hear a good thing about their performances from anyone else. They peaked at mediocre when I saw them open for Nine Inch Nails, whose absence from this list surprises me slightly.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the inclusion of Radiohead, Arcade Fire, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs , though like Jess, I feel that Muse deserves a ranking. I guess I really should see Flaming Lips though so I can jump into to that discussion in the near future.

    I also have yet to see LCD Soundsystem but am not at all surprised to see them here. Dance music as a whole, however, deserves far more representation on a list like this. Cut Copy have been putting on positively stellar shows on their current tour, as have Crystal Castles.

    Green Day, White Stripes, and U2 are all deserving, if predictable, choices, even if I think they’re each a little higher than they should be. Honestly, lists like these mostly just make me miss Sleater-Kinney, who could outclass many if not most of these acts in a live setting any day of the week when they were active.

  20. It perplexes how someone can comment on Josh Homme’s stage demeanor when they haven’t seen a show. I’ve seen them three times and they floored me at each performance. Based on sheer musicianship they blow every rock band out of the water. Aside from Joseph Arthur and Dave Grohl I’ve never seen anyone entertain a crowd like Homme. In some languages Sleater Kinney means we make noise because we can’t write songs.

  21. Ajay, I think the Homme’s perspective comes from how widely his spat with that teenage boy was spread through Youtube. There have been several public displays of him simply freaking out on fans at shows, Axl Rose style. But you are correct in say that QofSA are fantastic live.

    But your comment won me over with Joseph Arthur!

  22. So I’ve thought about it a little more and I’m gonna say, I really think they missed out on some of what would be considered “emo.” I’ve seen Saves the Day, Motion City Soundtrack, Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday (on the Tell All Your Friends tour ya’ll, recognize) and many others and every single one of them has put their absolute ALL into their performances. Regardless of whether it’s cool or not anymore to like these bands, I think at least one of them deserves a nod.

    Also, I’m kind of perplexed that they’d leave Ani DiFranco out of the list. I’ve seen her twice and once again, she might not be the coolest in many circles but godammit she can put on a show like no other artist, and she switches it up stylistically EVERY tour. There’s no other artist I know that can say that. Looking over this list a little more, I think it’s also pretty safe to say it was made by a bunch of dudes, so I can’t say her exclusion (if that’s a word at all) surprises me.

    And how could you include fucking uBoring2 and RHCP and NOT Ben Folds? When I saw Ben Folds he improvised a 15 minute song about a cliff that he climbed in Pittsburgh that had the whole audience singing along, and then did a duet with Rufus Wainwright who he was double headlining with at the time of Careless Whisper by George Michael. The day Bono does anything remotely as cool I will drop out of college and move to a farm somewhere.

    Anyway. That’s the rest of my rant. I was going to make my own list but I am far, far too indecisive to do so, at least at this moment.

  23. Um Ajay…

    “They peaked at mediocre when I saw them open for Nine Inch Nails”

    It perplexes me how someone can comment on a comment without reading it the whole way through. I have seen them perform, witnessed said mediocrity as well as his onstage schtick first-hand and was still unimpressed.

    But too each his own. And I knew Sleater-Kinney were a love-hate affair going into that comment. I’ll leave that one alone.

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