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  • Feature: The Best Live Bands Today - including Korn, The Roots, Slipknot, U2 + more

    Mon, 18 Jun 2012 15:14:07

    Feature: The Best Live Bands Today - including Korn, The Roots, Slipknot, U2 + more  - Who's on your list of favorite live band?

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    Summer is prime concert season, and we here at ARTISTdirect.com take that as our cue to celebrate the best live bands around today. And don't worry, the actual band "Live" will not be included on that list- as much as we loved Throwing Copper. So without further ado, these are our favorite bands to see in living color today!

    ARTISTdirect.com contributor Mark Phillips compiled this list of the best live bands on the planet with some input from AD Editor-in-Chief Rick Florino. Check out the list and videos below and be sure to tell us who your live favorites are!


    Metallica launch the first-ever Orion Music + More festival June 23 and 24 at Bader Field in Atlantic City, NJ, and like everything they've ever done, it's bound to be revolutionary. The greatest metal band of all time will close out night one with Ride the Lightning in its entirety and night two with The Black Album. Each tour gets bigger and better, and the band always surprises in epic fashion. If you haven't seen Metallica, you haven't lived. [Rick Florino]


    Aside from being one of the best artists of the last thirty years, U2 also happens to be incredible live. Not only are they sonically magnificent, but my goodness, do they know how to put on a show. Their last tour, the U2 360 tour, broke records near and far, placed what appeared to be a space ship on stage, and was held in some of the biggest stadiums in the world. If you didn't see it, you missed out on a downright unforgettable event. Better make plans to see them next time!


    There is nothing like the musical exorcism provided by modern heavy metal's premier collective. It's violent, vibrant, and visceral. Slipknot remain as brutal as they are brilliant every single time they hit the stage from the throat-slashing sonic butchery of "Disasterpiece" and "Eyeless" to the pensive dark poetry of "Vermillion" and "Snuff". Get ready for the most unforgettable festival of the summer KNOTFEST Friday August 17 at the Mid-America Motor Complex in Council Bluffs, IA and Saturday August 18 at the Somerset Amphitheater in Minneapolis, MN. It's Satan's answer to Coachella... In addition, don't miss the band headlining the Rockstar Mayhem Festival all summer. [Rick Florino]


    These musical geniuses from across the pond have reinvented rock music, the way recorded music is sold, the wheel- heck, you name it, they reinvented it. Every time they come through your city, the town is abuzz with thoughts of Radiohead, and for good reason. These guys have at least four of the best albums in the last three decades. Thom Yorke may be a “creep,” but you still want to spend a night with him! See what I did there? Eh? Sorry...


    With inhuman instrumental talent and Maynard James Keenan's inimitable voice, Tool create an all-encompassing sensory experience with every show. You'll feel it, see it, and, of course, hear it. As a result, you'll most likely be changed. If you aren't check your pulse because you're probably fucking dead. [Rick Florino]

    Five Finger Death Punch

    When I say Five Finger, you say... See? You already know what to say. [Answer: “Death Punch!”] These guys have been tearing down sheds, stadiums, and any building that's brave enough to house America's most dangerous band. Be sure to check them out on the Trespass America Festival this summer- headlining along with Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Pop Evil, God Forbid, Emmure, and more- and be sure to update your health insurance plan before you hit the mosh pit!

    Pearl Jam

    No set list is ever the same. They've made some of the greatest albums of all time. They're willing to play longer and harder than any of their peers. Pearl Jam always put on an unforgettable and moving show. They happen to be on fire too this summer. They'll be playing Music Midtown Festival, Deluna Fest 2012, and the Made In America Festival. However, a real special gig is happening September 30 in Missoula, MT at the Adams Center. Be sure you hit one, if not all, of those shows this summer… [Rick Florino]


    Muse is a band that when you see them live, you just can't believe they are a three piece. How can they sound so full with three instruments on stage? However, they are entirely meticulous, powerful, and transcendent. With progressive and operatic tendencies, these three will be selling out stadiums for years to come.


    Korn's latest album, The Path of Totality, reinvented hard rock by incorporating dub step/ EDM elements into their sinister sound. Those inventive sounds have beautifully spilled over into their unbelievable live sets. They'll be hitting the road this June, and touring Europe in August – so be sure to see them perform tracks from what many are calling the most exciting Korn record in years.

    Smashing Pumpkins

    The Pumpkins have one of the most highly anticipated albums of the summer. Oceania, out now, is a concept album in the truest sense of the word, and the rock world is abuzz waiting for it. We at ARTISTdirect have heard it, and it's incredible – classic Smashing Pumpkins with a Pink Floyd edge. Now doesn't that sound like something you'd want to see live? Check them out this fall in the States.

    Death Grips

    Ever since making waves at Coachella earlier this spring, Sacramento's craziest rap group has been turning heads with their bloodied, visceral live performances. They put the “punk” in “hip hop” (wait, is that a saying?). This group is downright performance art- and it’s different from anything out there right now.

    The Roots

    This classic rap-band outfit have been crowd-pleasers for many a year now, but these days you can see them live on TV as Jimmy Fallon's band. That’s right – not only are they delivering jams, they’re bringing the comedy as well! It’s like some sort of “Comedy Jam”... Something- Comedy Jam.... Maybe there’s a name in there somewhere...


    There's no experience in life as crushing as a Slayer show. They're relentlessly raw and real, and that's what makes every concert something satanically special. Like a fine-tuned killing machine, Slayer still destroys every crowd in front of them. Three decades of aggression and there's still no one tighter and tougher. Don't miss them on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival all summer. [Rick Florino]

    Foo Fighters

    Isn't it funny? The Foo Fighters have slowly (albeit loudly) become one of the best rock bands of all time. And they did it through consistently delivering amazing album after amazing album, winning Grammys, and delivering a frenetic live show that somehow feels different from their albums- unleashed, real, immediate.

    Rise Against

    We first saw these guys open for the Mad Caddies at the Troubadour many years ago. My, how far they have come. Today, they are one of the biggest punk bands around. Tim McIlrath howls at the moon, and boy, does it want us want to join his wolf pack. Man, that sounds weird. Anyway, go see them live!


    Are you looking for a show with the scope of Pink Floyd, the instrumental prowess of Metallica, and the bombast of Iron Maiden all rolled into one? Go see Mastodon then. They're massively pummeling and then calculatedly psychedelic. They're like 21st century Led Zeppelin with the right mix of mystery and metal. You need to see them, stat. [Rick Florino]

    So, who are we going to see first? And more importantly, who's driving? We'll see you at the show- we'll be the guy jumping off the mezzanine. Wear a helmet!

    And just who is your all-time favorite live act?

    —Mark Phillips

    p.s. Bitchin' live pics by Kevin Estrada

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    Tags: U2, Slipknot, Radiohead, Tool, Metallica, Five Finger Death Punch, Pearl Jam, Muse, Korn, Smashing Pumpkins, Death Grips, The Roots, Slayer, Foo Fighters, Rise Against, Mastodon, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Pop Evil, God Forbid, Emmure, Mad Caddies, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Jimmy Fallon

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