Countdown: 2005: Best Gigs

No order for these, as it has been something of a top year for gigs and trying to pick the best one has been impossible…

Pop Will Eat Itself
Birmingham Academy

Right back to January for this one – a total retro-fest, with no new songs – but who cares? No ideas what the real reasons for them reforming were, but frankly who cares when they were as good as they were. Everything we could ever want to hear, and more besides, all delivered by a band who clearly loved every minute of it themselves.

Nine Inch Nails
Manchester Apollo

Waited for over 12 years to see this, and it was worth the wait. Utterly thrilling gig that more than made up for was ultimately was a bit of a disappointing new album.

Skinny Puppy
Manchester Academy 3

Not quite as good as last year's astonishing show at Kentish Town Forum, but still in rude health, and still one of the greatest live bands in existence.

Manchester Academy 3

Another long wait (six years) since I last saw Rico, and again no disappointment. No note wasted, a perfect mix of new and old, and a singer that truly seems to have lived through all he sings about.

Homecoming gig for 65DoS just prior to the new album being launched, with an incredible atmosphere – and a performance to match of dazzling intensity. Support The Miramar Disaster were a real surprise to much of the crowd, and warmed it all up well. Another to watch for the future.


Debate over whether they were really that live, but with a performance as good as this renders the point moot in my opinion. Biggest audience of the weekend for the band, started slowly but exploded into life with a run of their very best anthems, including the astonishing, euphoric explosion of Call The Ships To Port.

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