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Music, Year in Review 2014

Year in Review: The Best Concert Photos of 2014

Best Concert Photos of 2014For the third year in a row, we are proud to share our year-end list for the best concert photos of 2014. From Tanya Tagaq’s raw energy, to The National’s signature brooding stage presence, to Vag Halen’s Vanessa Dunn being topless on stage at The Horseshoe Tavern, these are the photos that amazed us, shocked us, and took our breath away.

Thank you for reading Aesthetic Magazine, and see you all in 2015!

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Artist: Mac DeMarco
Venue/City: The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
Date: November 6
Photographer: Morgan Hotston 

This photo really captures Mac’s energy and the gap-toothed grin that never seemed to falter that night. The great lighting and fan-provided street sign in the foreground are wonderful bonuses.

– Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky

Mac DeMarco. (Photo: Morgan Hotston/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Mac DeMarco. (Photo: Morgan Hotston/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Tanya Tagaq
Venue/City: The Carlu, Toronto
Date: September 22
Photographer: Curtis Sindrey (@SindreyCurtis)

Tanya Tagaq’s Polaris Prize Gala performance was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. This photo is dynamic and really captures the almost-tangible raw energy of her throat singing.

– Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky

Tanya Tagaq. (Photo: Curtis Sindrey/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Tanya Tagaq. (Photo: Curtis Sindrey/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Dan Deacon
Venue/City: Adelaide Hall, Toronto
Date: May 29
Photographer: Angelo Marchini 

This photo is great because it really captures the feel of what it’s like to be at a Dan Deacon show; the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd are infectious.

– Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky

Dan Deacon. (Photo: Angelo Marchini/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Dan Deacon. (Photo: Angelo Marchini/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Fucked Up
Venue/City: The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
Date: September 26
Photographer: Krystle Merrow 

I love the interaction between the vocalist Damian Abraham and the fan, as well as the undiluted ferocity in his expression.

– Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky

Fucked Up. (Photo: Krystle Merrow/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Fucked Up. (Photo: Krystle Merrow/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Dum Dum Girls
Venue/City: Lee’s Palace, Toronto
Date: March 29
Photographer: Matt Klopot 

The colours and composition of this photo are stellar; Dee Dee Penny’s relaxed stance and bedazzled tights, the plastic flowers on the mic stand, and the neon heart in the background came together and created magic.

– Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky

Dum Dum Girls. (Photo: Matt Klopot/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Dum Dum Girls. (Photo: Matt Klopot/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Joel Plaskett
Venue/City: Beau’s Oktoberfest, Vankleek Hill, Ottawa
Date: October 3

Photographer: Scott Penner 

Joel Plaskett + a lot of really good beer and slightly muddy shoes = a fantastic Friday night. Yes, I was there, but was a few beers in by the time Plaskett got on stage, and my photos were nowhere near as good as those snapped by Aesthetic Magazine’s photographer.

– Laura Beaulne-Stuebing

Joel Plaskett Emergency. (Photo: Scott Penner/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Joel Plaskett Emergency. (Photo: Scott Penner/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Tanya Tagaq
Venue/City: The Carlu, Toronto
Date: September 22
Photographer: Curtis Sindrey (@SindreyCurtis)

Tanya Tagaq gave a powerful performance at the Polaris Prize gala, leaving me in shivers. And I was watching on my laptop, sitting at my kitchen table – I can’t imagine how everyone at the Carlu felt while watching. I couldn’t look away.

– Laura Beaulne-Stuebing

Tanya Tagaq. (Photo: Curtis Sindrey/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Tanya Tagaq. (Photo: Curtis Sindrey/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist(s): Hey Rosetta!, The War on Drugs, Coeur de Pirate, The Wooden Sky
Venue/City: Ottawa Folk Festival, Ottawa
Date: September 14
Photographer: Scott Penner

The final day of Ottawa’s annual fall folk festival was an auditory treat. The Wooden Sky played tunes from their 2014 release Let’s Be Ready, an album I really dug this year, and The War on Drugs wowed the audience with a hands down excellent performance. And then, of course, there was Hey Rosetta! filling in for the Gaslight Anthem, who backed out at the last minute. That was totally fine with me – Ottawa loves these guys (and gals) and got a chance to hear new material before they released Second Sight in October.

– Laura Beaulne-Stuebing

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Artist: The National
Venue/City: Massey Hall, Toronto
Date: April 9
Photographer: Adam Pulicicchio

The National played three nights at Massey Hall – and I have to admit that I went to two out of the three. Matt Berninger was broody and weird, drinking wine and acting like a mad man on stage, and they ended each evening with a sing-along acoustic version of ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks,’ which was pretty much perfect.

– Laura Beaulne-Stuebing

The National. (Photo: Adam Pulicicchio/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

The National. (Photo: Adam Pulicicchio/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: illScarlett
Venue/City: The Dickens, Burlington, ON
Date: December 4
Photographer: Jon Wishart

This is a fabulous picture of drummer Swavek Piorkowski noticing the camera and owning it. The reggae-rock inspired band illScarlett has a great following of fans because they are fun and exciting to watch. You are having a good time listening because this is the feeling they are releasing to the crowd. I have been lucky enough to catch one of Piorkowski’s drumsticks at a concert, and hopefully I’ll catch more in the future.

– Olivia Goheen

IllScarlett at Burly Calling 2014. (Photo: Jon Wishart/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

IllScarlett at Burly Calling 2014. (Photo: Jon Wishart/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Mac DeMarco
Venue/City: The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
Date: November 6
Photographer: Morgan Hotston

Mac DeMarco is known to be a lovable, fun and cheeky individual; this is noticeable just by his smile. The reviews for his concerts are positive because he makes an effort to entertain and engage his fans. If you’re shows are memorable for playing awesome songs and crowd surfing, don’t stop what you’re doing, because you’re doing something right. Keep those good vibes coming DeMarco.

– Olivia Goheen

Mac DeMarco. (Photo: Morgan Hotston/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Mac DeMarco. (Photo: Morgan Hotston/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Elephant Stone
Venue/City: The Silver Dollar, Toronto
Date: November 21, 2014
Photographer: Steve Danyleyko

Elephant Stone is a Montreal based band with a distinct and unique sound. The group classifies themselves as Hindi-rock by mixing traditional Indian music with Rock ‘n’ roll. This is all made possible by the groovy sitar instrument. It seems as though The Beatles are channeling through this band with the obvious ‘60s psychedelic inspired sound.

– Olivia Goheen

Elephant Stone. (Photo: Steve Danyleyko/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Elephant Stone. (Photo: Steve Danyleyko/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Venue/City: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa
Date: October 26
Photographer: Scott Penner

There is a reason Fleetwood Mac performed to a sold-out crowd in Ottawa; it is because they are the classic sound of the ‘70s. This picture captures the band as a whole again and fans, young and old couldn’t be happier with this reunion.

– Olivia Goheen

Fleetwood Mac. (Photo: Scott Penner/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Fleetwood Mac. (Photo: Scott Penner/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Capital Cities
Venue/City: The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
Date: November 4
Photographer: Ferenc Cabarle

Any indie band that incorporates big band instruments should get an extra round of applause because those instruments encourages people to dance and have a good time. The Los Angeles group Capital Cities put on grand performances because of their high energy that captures the audience’s attention. Get caught in the grand show put on by the band next time they are in town, you won’t be disappointed.

– Olivia Goheen

Capital Cities. (Photo: Ferenc Cabarle/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Capital Cities. (Photo: Ferenc Cabarle/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Slipknot
Venue/City: Air Canada Centre, Toronto
Date: November 30
Photographer: Dale Benvenuto

I love this shot of Slipknot. It’s as if the singer took a moment to stop and pose for the photographer. Great shot!

– Jason Hodgins

Slipknot. (Photo: Dale Benvenuto/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Slipknot. (Photo: Dale Benvenuto/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: TI
Venue/City: Kool Haus, Toronto
Date: November 14
Photographer: Matt Klopot

With great lighting and such vibrant colours, this is a great shot of rapper TI in action. I also like how Matt shot it at a wider angle, capturing all of TI.

– Jason Hodgins

TI. (Photo: Matt Klopot/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

TI. (Photo: Matt Klopot/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Cheech and Chong
Venue/City: Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles
Date: October 25
Photographer: Kathy Flynn (@wickedgoddess)

It must have been pretty cool to see Cheech and Chong play even one song live. I love how this photo captures Chong rocking out on his guitar while Cheech sings his out heart. This has great lighting and Kathy captured a great moment.

– Jason Hodgins

Cheech and Chong. (Photo: Kathy Flynn/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Cheech and Chong. (Photo: Kathy Flynn/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Vag Halen
Venue/City: The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
Date: September 26
Photographer: Krystle Merrow

It’s not everyday you go to a show and the female singer takes her shirt off while continuing to sing. This shot is pretty unique; featuring Vanessa Dunn topless giving the devil horns to the crowd.

– Jason Hodgins

Vag Halen. (Photo: Krystle Merrow/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Vag Halen. (Photo: Krystle Merrow/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Anthrax
Venue/City: Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal
Date: August 9
Photographer: Tim Snow

This is a great up close and personal snap shot of Anthrax’s lead singer Joey Belladonna on stage.

– Jason Hodgins

Anthrax. (Photo: Tim Snow)

Anthrax. (Photo: Tim Snow)

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Artist: Run the Jewels
Venue/City: The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
Date: November 26
Photographer: Victoria Charko (@victoriacharko)

Ragged, exhausted, angry but ultimately triumphant. That’s the state of mind Run the Jewels were in the night they rolled into the Danforth Music Hall. After a series of run-ins with the worst luck imaginable, Killer Mike and El-P should NOT have been able to make into town. But luck be damned, they made it anyway. Somehow, that unimaginable mix of emotions resonates in this one photo.

– Daniel Gerichter

Run The Jewels. (Photo: Victoria Charko/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Run The Jewels. (Photo: Victoria Charko/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Cold Specks
Venue/City: The Drake Underground, Toronto
Date: July 30th
Photographer: Alyssa Balistreri 

This shot beautifully captures what it’s like to be part of a Cold Specks crowd. Whether accompanied by her band or singing Capella, whether at an ornate theatre, or some dingy basement, it’s just you and Al Spx. Everything else around you is inky nothingness.

– Daniel Gerichter

Cold Specks. (Photo: Alyssa Balistreri/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Cold Specks. (Photo: Alyssa Balistreri/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Usher
Venue/City: Air Canada Centre, Toronto
Date: November 2
Photographer: Matt Klopot

I’m not a huge fan of Usher, nor am I huge fan of much top-40 R&B in general. What I do understand is that Usher is now a 17-year vet of the music business. He’s a born performer and commands the stage the way his biggest influences (Michael Jackson, James Brown) did in their respective heydays. This photo (and the set it’s from) capture Usher for what he is: a seasoned, passionate, visionary performer.

– Daniel Gerichter

Usher. (Photo: Matt Klopot/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Usher. (Photo: Matt Klopot/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: The Flaming Lips 
Venue/City: Downsview Park, Toronto
Date: September 6
Photographer: Angelo Marchini

Two things I know about Wayne Coyne: 1) He sees every show as a personal invitation to wow and entertain you, which he takes VERY seriously 2) He wants to fill every micrometer of your eyeballs with colour and wonderment for as long as he has on stage. Considering they had only 40 minutes to work with, the Flaming Lips applied both – liberally. Their set included the now-classic tropes of any Flaming Lips set: giant dancing cartoon characters, an infinite-coloured light show, a metric ton of confetti and Coyne in the translucent crowd ball (that must smell AWFUL inside at this point). This picture perfectly brings the grandiose feel of their set into one frame.

– Daniel Gerichter

The Flaming Lips. (Photo: Angelo Marchini/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

The Flaming Lips. (Photo: Angelo Marchini/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Kanye West
Venue/City: Grand Park, Los Angeles
Date: August 31
Photographer: Jeff Kravitz

Now an end-of-summer tradition, this year’s Made in America festival lineup included Toronto-based bands The OBGMs and Metric, as well as heavyweights like John Mayer and Iggy Azalea. But of that diverse lineup, no one rocks a main stage like Yeezy. With a full year of the Yeezus tour behind him, not to mention a full decade’s worth of classic material, Kanye West lit up both the Philadelphia and Los Angeles crowds with career-spanning sets and his now ubiquitous rants in between songs.

– Daniel Gerichter

Kanye West at 2014 Budweiser Made In America Festival in Los Angeles. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty)

Kanye West at 2014 Budweiser Made In America Festival in Los Angeles. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty)

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Artist: Schoolboy Q
Venue/City: Sound Academy, Toronto
Date: November 21
Photographer: Victoria Charko (@victoriacharko)

This photo really captures what it’s like to be at a Schoolboy Q concert. He’s such a great entertainer and knows how to hype up a crowd and you definitely get a sense of that from this photo.

– Julio de la Torre

Schoolboy Q. (Photo: Victoria Charko/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Schoolboy Q. (Photo: Victoria Charko/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Noah Gunderson
Venue/City: The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
Date: October 31
Photographer: Morgan Hotston

I love this photo because, if you’ve ever hear Noah you know how talented this man is and how much he cares for his music. He truly puts all of his heart into every song and I think you can definitely get a feel of that from this photo.

– Julio de la Torre

Noah Gundersen. (Photo: Morgan Hotston/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Noah Gundersen. (Photo: Morgan Hotston/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: The Drums
Venue/City: Adelaide Hall, Toronto
Date: September 24
Photographer: Krystle Merrow

It’s hard to explain why I love this photo so much. The lighting and the tones and his facial expression is such a great representation of what The Drums sound like. This is exactly what I envision when I listen to their music.

– Julio de la Torre

The Drums. (Photo: Krystle Merrow/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

The Drums. (Photo: Krystle Merrow/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: The Black Keys
Venue/City: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa
Date: September 17
Photographer: Scott Penner

This photo is go great. This is one dynamic duo and I love how this photo captures both of them just rocking out. It looks like they are just jamming out together as if they were practicing in a garage somewhere just them two.

– Julio de la Torre

The Black Keys (Photo: Scott Penner/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

The Black Keys (Photo: Scott Penner/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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Artist: Neon Trees
Venue/City: The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto
Date: July 4
Photographer: Amanda-Susan Carson (@xoAmandaCarson)

I love the passion in this photo. I get fired up just looking at it.  I love the pink tones in this photo and the use of the lights as well.

– Julio de la Torre

Neon Trees. (Photo: Amanda-Susan Carson/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Neon Trees. (Photo: Amanda-Susan Carson/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

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