2015’s Most Spine-Tingling Live Shows

The last 12 months has seen the good and the great of the music world showing off what they do best – putting on spectacular gigs big and small, from dingy clubs to festival stages. Here’s 10 of the best NME has witnessed over the course of 2015.

The Strokes
Hyde Park, London
June 18, 2015

With shows leading up to the New York band’s return to London being hit and miss, it was never guaranteed that Hyde Park would be a gig to remember. But The Strokes turned up on form, putting fresh joy into classics like ‘Last Nite’ and ‘Heart In A Cage’. Even Alex Turner and Miles Kane couldn’t contain their excitement – one fan filmed them getting very into dancing along.

Wolf Alice
O2 Academy Brixton, London
September 26, 2015

This year has arguably belonged to Wolf Alice, with their debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ narrowly missing out on taking Number 1 in the charts, a Mercury nomination and rapturously received gigs all around the world. Their finest moment came with a sold out Brixton show in September – a euphoric combination of glitter, riffs and a band on unstoppable form showing just how far they’ve come.

Run The Jewels
ATP Iceland, Keflavik
July 2, 2015

There’s a reason we gave Run The Jewels the first award of the NME Awards 2016 with Austin, Texas, naming them Best Festival Band. They packed tons of festivals into their summer, with one highlight being their set at ATP Iceland, where they brought the brutality and beats of ‘RTJ2’ to a packed aircraft hangar.

Kanye West
June 27, 2015

Yeezy’s Worthy Farm performance may have been more stripped back than some expected, but that didn’t mean it was any less of a spectacle. Performing under a massive ceiling of lights, Kanye’s only special guest was Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, but he still delivered on the hits – and a bizarre detour into a crane that very slowly lifted him over his adopted kingdom for the night.


Taylor Swift
Staples Center, LA
August 25, 2015

As well as performing all the best bits of world-conquering LP ‘1989’, Swifty’s globe-stomping tour featured multiple costume changes, eyeball-boggling dance routines and audiences glittering like stars thanks to the light-up wristbands presented to everyone in the crowd. She brought out a plethora of guests every night, the sum total of which amounted to a who’s who of 2015 music. This night at Los Angeles’ Staples Center she kept it indie, inviting Beck and St Vincent to the stage. And then she brought out John Legend too.


Kendrick Lamar
John F Kennedy Center For Performing Arts, Washington DC
October 20, 2015

It’s been a big year for the Compton rapper and though his sets at this year’s Reading & Leeds festivals were sublime, it’s his performance with the National Symphony Orchestra back in the US that was probably his most special gig of 2015. Just a mile away from the White House, Kendrick recreated his acclaimed ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ album with strings and brass, giving a unique experience of a much beloved record.

The Libertines
The Blues Kitchen, London
July 28, 2015

Like the glory days of old when the Libs would turn up at dingy clubs like Whitechapel’s Rhythm Factory and play ramshackle sets for intimate groups of fans, this secret summer show started as a rumour. If there was any doubt about how into this latest reunion the boys in the band were, this show quashed it, with stage diving, enthusiastic covers and Libertines songs old and new before it all ended with Pete and Carl in a drunken heap on the floor.

Sunflower Bean
Hotel Vegas, Austin
March 19, 2015

Right now, New York trio Sunflower Bean are one of the buzziest new bands going. It was at SXSW in March, though, that that hype started to swell. With their sludgy psych-rock, Sabbath-indebted riffs and back-and-forth vocals from bassist Julia Cumming and guitarist Nick Kivlen, the three-piece stunned Austin as a new band with killer songs, undeniable presence and an aura of eruditeness beyond their teen years.

Jamie T
Hackney Empire, London
June 12, 2015

After his brilliant comeback last year, the singer-songwriter stripped things back for one sweltering, special summer evening. Playing an acoustic gig at Hackney Empire, he ran through old songs, new efforts and unheard rarities. Occasionally joined by his backing band, Jamie put on one of the year’s most enthralling and enjoyable gigs.

Empress Ballroom, Blackpool
June 10, 2015

The Britpop veterans might have headlined a triumphant Hyde Park show this summer, but it was in the smaller venues where they warmed up that they really came into their own. In Blackpool, it took barely two songs for the rabid crowd to break the barrier keeping them off the stage, before mass singalongs (‘There’s No Other Way’), pogoing (‘Song 2’) and teary moments (‘The Universal’).