Leading Ladies: Favorite Live Shows

I love concerts. They’re one of the best ways to experience music because it’s a full body experience. You can feel the music physically course through your body and you can feel everyone’s energies manifest into something tangible, exciting.

So here are my top live shows that I’ve seen so far.

1. Lianne La Havas

Lianne La Havas

So in love with Lianne La Havas

Seeing Lianne La Havas at the 9:30 Club was a spiritual experience. I’d listen to her debut album a few times before deciding that maybe seeing her in concert would be worth it.

I was right, because seeing her perform, putting her heart and soul into her music, right there on stage, made me appreciate her music and talent even more. She has such a positive presence on stage that even the full venue was completely enraptured by her. That night, I witnessed a heavenly being bless the audience with her presence.

The moral of the story is that 1) Lianne La Havas can sing and play guitar and sounds magnificent in concert 2) I’m pretty sure her smile can power 10 cities for 100 years 3) she radiates such good vibes that I was in a great mood for the next two weeks after that concert.



I saw them at 2013 Governor’s Ball in New York City and, for me, it wasn’t a contest because their set was on at the same time as The Vaccines. I was there with one friend at the time and she preferred to see The Vaccines so we split. This was in June, before their debut album dropped, so it was understandable; though the buzz was growing, they were still a somewhat relatively unknown band with only a few songs out.

I’m so glad I made the decision I did because their set was amazing, just pure energy and great musicianship.

Este’s Bass Face™ was hilarious but not annoying at all – usually, it’s one of my pet peeves to see a musician make ridiculous faces during performances. But her face just showed the pure joy she had rocking out – she was into it and not afraid to show it. That made me get into the music and soon, I was singing along to songs I’d never heard of and screaming for a band of sisters I’d kill to be a part of (okay, no I wouldn’t kill, but probably cry or something compelling).

3. Ana Tijoux


Photo source: NPR

Seeing Ana Tijoux was empowering because of her message of resistance and solidarity. Even though I couldn’t understand the lyrics most of the time since the Chilean rapper performed in Spanish, I didn’t really need to because I could feel it through her music. She was a humble presence on stage but had a quiet, clear confidence that resonated in the small space of U Street Music Hall.

[Note: Haha, I don’t have a photo from this concert because I was trying to keep up with everything. But here’s a very important song she did with Palestinian rapper Shadia Mansour that you should listen to anyway.]

4. Icona Pop


So. Much. Fun.

From start to finish, Icona Pop’s set at Gov Ball was a non-stop party. I saw them again at last year’s Virgin Mobile Freefest (#RIP) and did not get bored hearing the same songs because they’re so alive and exciting when they perform. They could probably do a remix of Mr. Roger’s opening song and I would still get hyped to that.

5. Lorde

New Zealand pop singer Lorde was a hit in DC.

New Zealand pop singer Lorde was a hit in DC.

Whatever my personal thoughts on Lorde are, I will not deny the fact that she is a very talented musician and a great performer. She was sincerely humble and earnest, even facing a mass of screaming, frenzied fans. She has great vocal control and a captivating stage presence; even with her songs being as dour as they were, she was able to make it interesting and invigorating.

I was mad that she didn’t play “The Love Club” but hearing her sing “Ribs” was a real treat.

BONUS: Azealia Banks


I lost it completely at her set for Gov Ball. She’s effortlessly cool on stage and also a great performer. I just…yeah, she was great.

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