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Perth has held the title of Dullsville in the past because, much to the displeasure of music lovers, we are often left off world tour schedules and groan at the sight of ‘national’ tours that only cover the east coast. But pay attention and there’s plenty to get excited about. Not only did this year bring legendary global acts over our way, but we were also treated to an abundance of top quality Aussie talent, both locally and nationally. Favourite concerts are subjective of course, but here’s the X-PRESS top 20 gigs for 2018. Click on the title for the full review, and let us know what we’ve missed and which ones you agree with – one thing’s for sure, we haven’t heard a single person who was at our #1 concert for the year (and only 10/10) who disagrees on it being first. 

20. Jen Cloher @ The Rosemount, March 16
w/ Bells Rapids & Carla Geneve

“Cloher’s charisma is palpable. It was impossible to look away. She was warm, almost visibly proud of this material, had seriously expressive stage moves, and was full of comedy gold between numbers. There was not a single tall poppy syndrome sentiment in the air; her Perth audience are clearly as energised by her recent success as she.” – LIBBY NOBLE

19. Mount Eerie @ Mojos Bar, January 21
w/ Rabbit Island

“Elverem slipped off stage as quickly and meekly as he had appeared, but to much applause. It was a harrowing and sometimes awkward show. At times I felt more therapist listening to his patient than audience member. But it was certainly special and deeply effective. A concert that won’t soon be forgotten.” – NEIL SOLACE

18. Future of the Left @ Badlands Bar, January 11
w/ Rag ‘n’ Bone & The Love Junkies

“It all culminated in Falco dismantling Eggleston’s drumkit, as one by one he pulled each separate drum apart from and away from the kit, Eggleston reaching ever further to keep the beat going until he had effectively taken over the entire stage. It was simple, rock and roll theatre at its finest.” – MICHAEL D HOLLICK

17. Queen + Adam Lambert @ Perth Arena, March 6

“As well as the amazing musical performance, it was a huge scale stadium show as you would expect – designed by Stufish, the same company who designed Roger Waters’ incredible stage show. The shape of the stage was modelled after Brian May’s famous ‘Red Special’ guitar, with the neck being a runway out into the middle of the audience. There was a giant screen at the back, and an incredible, massive, custom lighting rig suspended above. It featured a huge curved screen on the front, and could move up and down and all sorts of amazing things as we would soon see.” – ALFRED GORMAN

16. Primal Scream @ Metropolis, February 15
w/ SSHH & Death Disco DJs

“Make no mistake, last Thursday was indeed one of those magical, memorable nights in question where Bobby Gillespie – that eternally evergreen and waif-like elder statesman of rock – and the band seemed able to do no wrong as they thrilled their audience with a hugely enjoyable greatest hits set of undeniable potency.” – ZACK YUSOF

15. Leftfield @ Metropolis Fremantle, February 3

“As one man succinctly summed it up in the men’s room, “That was fookin brilliant!” Aye. Indeed it was. A one-off, brilliant, better-than-the-record, live recreation of one of the greatest and most influential albums ever made. Monumental.” – ALFRED GORMAN

14. Jojo Abot @ Chevron Gardens, March 5
w/ Stay Jay

“From there it was a party of communal smudge stick burning, balloon (energy balls) tossing, hugs and high-fives, and call and response. A group of audience members were bought on stage to shake their things which, rather than distract, added energy to the show. There they remained till the finale and a dance floor livening set of songs.” – NEIL SOLACE

13. Bruno Mars @ Perth Arena, March 28
w/ Dua Lipa

“Five songs in and it was getting no less spectacular. The production was such that every single song felt like an event, even on lesser cuts like Versace on the Floor which returned to the Rubik’s Cube theme, this time with gold blocks suggesting Versace opulence. Yes, a power ballad called Versace on the Floor. Phone torches lit up the arena, tongues were in cheek and it was a little comical.” – HARVEY RAE

. Mogwai @ Chevron Gardens, March 2
w/ Tobacco Rat

“They say familiarity breeds contempt but that has yet to be the case with these Glaswegian heavyweights who remain powerhouse performers both live and on record. 20 years down the line and Mogwai are still proving their absolute worth in more ways than one. File under still essential.” – ZACK YUSOF

11. Pink @ Perth Arena, July 3
w/ The Rubens

“A Pink show isn’t exactly a rock concert. It’s a mish mash of commercial pop, circus, contemporary dance and musical theatre hell bent on being eye popping entertainment. Point in case: she emerged at her first of four Perth Arena shows … hanging from a pyro-spitting chandelier singing Get This Party Started.” – HARVEY RAE

10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Badlands Bar, September 18
w/ Feels

“The music was raucous but tight – the band could stop and start on a dime, and Nielson’s guitar excursions, while reigned in, still never failed to amaze.” – MATIJA ZIVKOVIC

9. Bloc Party @ Red Hill Auditorium, November 24
w/ Haiku Hands

“It was the sort of gig that you throw your arms around your friends and shout along to, eyeball to eyeball, then reminisce about the whole thing because you were right at the time and you still are now: Silent Alarm is a truly, truly great record, and on their day Bloc Party are still an inspiring live band.” – HARVEY RAE

8. Belle & Sebastian @ Astor Theatre, May 2
w/ Carla Geneve

“The stereotype of the typical Belle And Sebastian fan is that they are bookish and awkward as they stay at home listening to the fey records of their heroes when the weather outside is too hot or too wet for them to leave the house. It is a picture that couldn’t be further from the sense of joy and celebration that is evident at a Belle and Sebastian live show. With this in mind, the band weren’t enforcing people to stay in their seats, suggesting to the crowd that they can get up and dance as it was a “Belle and Sebastian show, so you can do what the fuck you want.” – CHRIS HAVERCROFT

7. Perfume Genius @ Chevron Gardens, February 28

w/ Mama Kin Spender & the WAAPA Gospel Choir

“Angelic, fragile and at times appearing to be in pain, he sashayed around the whole of the stage, occasionally disappearing into a cloud of lights and smoke at the back. His jerky, prostrating burlesque style showed off his flexibility, and the most prominent snail trail since Madonna’s Holiday video. Every so often he’d break the act to flick a bashful smile to the crowd while laughing at an inner joke or knowing he’d nailed the tune.” – Q

6. Slowdive @ Laneway Festival, February 11

“Slowdive were loud, punchy and layered in all the ways that would be expected. Three decades is a long time, but when the indie gods are smiling, good things do indeed come to those who wait.” – CHRIS HAVERCROFT & MICHAEL D HOLLICK

5. Tropical Fuck Storm @ Chevron Gardens, February 18
w/ FingerFingerrr & The Trees & The Wild

“Smiles radiated and a shared, communal joy could be felt among patrons, certainly due to the talent on stage, but also in a sense of gratitude to the venue and festival itself. Perth Festival’s continued ability to assemble such unique and diverse line ups from all over the world, such as this, really hit a bullseye on this night.” – MICHAEL D HOLLICK

4. Amyl & the Sniffers & Rackett, @ The Rosemount Hotel, July 14

w/ Hussy & FOAM

“The opportunity to see two bands from such different worlds, both yet to release an album and both among the hottest names in Australia right now, was a credit to the team at Rev Film Fest. Here’s hoping a music program as good as this year’s becomes a regular on our winter calendar, and as for Rackett and Amyl & The Sniffers, fingers crossed they’re back even sooner.” – HARVEY RAE

3. Taylor Swift @ Optus Stadium, October 19

w/ Charli XCX & Broods

“No expense was spared as screens in the centre of the stage parted and Taylor Swift emerged, shortly before dancers rose out of the twin catwalks either side of her and …Ready For It worked the crowd into a frenzy.” – HARVEY RAE

2. Kendrick Lamar @ Perth Arena, July 10

w/ SiR

“A communal experience where people shared verses with others they’d never met in the crowd, Kendrick Lamar’s Tuesday night triumph provided a thrilling, up-close glimpse at one of the most fascinating stars on the planet.” – HARVEY RAE

1. Roger Waters @ Perth Arena, February 22

“It’s almost impossible to put into words, the sights and sounds and deep emotional responses this night provoked, but it’s fair to say it’s a show no one will ever forget, and one of the best you’re ever likely to see from a true living legend. Roger Waters doesn’t fuck around.” – ALFRED GORMAN

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