Everyone has a favorite artist or band to see in their lifetime that they have missed or just never had the opportunity to witness live at a festival. While it is easy to tell someone to put in more effort to go see their favorite act their could be an actual reason why it is so difficult. There are many reasons why bands do not tour on a regular basis due to personal issues, money, boredom and a slew of other problems. This list highlights the top ten artists still around who do not appear on a regular basis at multi-genre music festivals, but are well known for their live prowess.
The English trip-hop band, Massive Attack, was formed in 1988 and has since released five critically acclaimed albums of mind bending material. With only three U.S. shows announced the band is a rare sight to see in the states and there is no telling when they will return. Spending most of their time in Europe, the band has continued to mesmerize audiences with unique guest filled performances that are backed by intricate instrumentation and a face-melting light show. Even if you have never heard of them the influential pioneers of trip-hop will continue to further cement their legacy in the highly competitive music industry, gaining new listeners as they go.
The initial rise of American singer-songwriter John Mayer was swift and meteoric. Gaining a huge amount of popularity in a quick amount of time due to his hit 2006 album Continuum. Mayer is somewhat of a surprise on this list because he actually tours quite a bit each year and plays at various festivals around the world. The primary reason for his inclusion is that these festivals are usually not well known and a good amount of the time Mayer plays second fiddle to more well known acts. There are people who think his style of soft rock would not hold itself well if he was booked as a headliner and if you listen to his albums even I may be inclined to agree. However, like many artists Mayer is a whole different beast in a live setting. His guitar playing ability is at a high level and the charisma he brings to the stage is infectious. Mayer has the talent to headline top tier festivals and perhaps his time will finally come in the near future.
Armenian-American rock band System Of A Down has not gone on a decently sized U.S. tour since 2012, let alone headline multiple U.S. festivals. Having reunited in 2011 the band has been content with touring large venues and festivals around the world. While they only announce a small handful of these dates a year it has been some time since the “Chop Suey” hit makers performed more then a couple shows in the states. Adrenaline fueled and loud from start to finish, SOAD delivers a clinic in progressive metal that has only gotten better with time. Already booked to headline a few festivals in 2015, fans may be getting a more extensive tour announcement in the coming months. Decimating crowds around the world SOAD is a tough act to beat on any line-up and will hopefully headline even more festivals in the future.
Los Angeles based alternative metal band Tool, has not been on a full length world tour since 2009 and has not released a new album since 2006’s, 10,000 Days. The band has faced several obstacles such as a multi-million dollar lawsuit and general lack of interest from various band members. However, this is all coming to a head as the band is preparing to release their first new album sometime next year. Fans should be ecstatic at the prospect of new songs, but even without new material the band has another ace up their sleeve and that is their incredible live productions. Tool takes the word “concert” to a whole other level and has transcended their live performances into an art form that few bands in their genre can match.The band has toured throughout the world, but they have done so inconsistently and only headline one or two festivals a year. This could all change when the new album comes out, but for now fans of the band must be patient.
Icelandic outfit, Sigur Ros finished their most recent world tour in 2013 and are currently laying low. Not too much has been heard from the band in regards to a new album or tour, but there will likely be a long wait for both. You may contest that the band does in fact tour fairly consistently and play numerous festivals. While you are right that the Icelandic outfit promotes their new material well, it takes the band more then two years in between albums for them to tour around the world. This pattern makes them a rare act to see on a regular basis and that in itself is a damn shame. Their ambient, sprawling music is powerful and moving. A popular choice for headlining smaller festivals, Sigur Ros deserves top billing at any event.
Seasoned English shock rockers, The Cure have been headlining festivals around the world on and off for years. Instead of going on long full length tours the band enjoys selecting various festival destinations to perform at. The lords of Gothic Rock are set to release a new album in the near future and will have new material to sate the die hard fans around the world. The band is well known for their career spanning sets and with thirteen albums to choose from you can be certain to hear classic hits like “Friday I’m In Love”, “Pictures of You”, “Just Like Heaven” and even rarer recordings performed live. As one of the most consistently road traveled bands on the list, no one can deny Robert Smith and his outfit the legendary status they have earned. With very few festivals chosen over the years, The Cure is a valuable asset to any line-up and a solid headliner choice.
Easily one of the most frustrating acts to see on this list, Depeche Mode tours erratically and does not play many headlining festival slots in the states. The new wave electronic band recently went on a short U.S. stadium tour in 2013 and played Austin City Limits Festival as their sole headlining performance in America. The last time the English rockers had a full length tour was in 2009 and while they finished up a short tour this year, there is still the hope that one of the most commercially successful bands in music history will go on a more thorough festival headlining tour in the states. A unique blend of hard hitting electronica and crashing guitars make Depeche Mode one of the most sought after headlining acts in the world.
The mastermind behind the “Minneapolis Sound”, which is a hybrid mixture of funk, pop, rock, R&B and new wave, Prince is one of the most influential musicians on this list. Known for his elusive behavior on and off stage, the Purple One is a rare find on the festival scene. Primarily playing on and off at small to medium sized venues, frequently announced last minute, Prince is practicing the art of surprise across the world. Whats even more rare is witnessing the legend headline large scale festivals. This is unfortunate because he is still one of the most rocking musicians from the 1970’s that is still going strong today. His live shows are one of a kind experiences that demonstrate his unique artistic views and combines complicated funky riffs with soulful ballads. With the recent release of two full length albums titled Plectrumelectrum and Art Official Age, Prince could very well embark on a full length tour in support of the two records next year. An enormous discography combined with unearthly performance skills and charisma make Prince number one on almost any music lovers concert bucket list.
Pioneers of the Britpop movement, Blur is one of the most successful UK rock bands formed in the 1980’s. Having disbanded and then reunited several times over the years, the Damon Albarn led rock act has aged gracefully. A perfect example of Guitar pop at its finest, the band has played the majority of their reunion shows at large scale festivals like Glastonbury, Coachella, Primavera Sound and T In The Park. Unfortunately these festival shows have been few and while it is understandable that the band does not want to focus primarily on touring because of other projects, the wait for inconsistent touring is long and painful. Despite the irregular show dates Blur has been around long enough to know how to put on a fantastic performance that is filled with hits and crowd favorites. The always energetic Albarn is constantly moving throughout the set and his bandmates play as if they were still rocking small venues in the UK. Having only played one U.S. show in the last 10 years, Blur is long overdue for a more extensive jaunt through America and perhaps even the world.
English indie rock band Florence And The Machine have been flying under the radar for the last couple of years. With news of work on a new album there is hope for fans of the band, but with no tour announcements in the near future, FATM is becoming a rare act to see on any concert bill. One of the UK’s most successful live acts to make it big on an international level FATM is long overdue for a world tour. Having only played one short U.S. set this year at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit Concert, the band is one of the most beloved artists on this list. Future major festival headliner in the making, the band has all of the tools to reach the very top. With Florence Welch’s powerful vocals, backed by an expansive band of skilled musicians, FATM is one of the best live acts around. They have stayed near the top for awhile and as soon as the band announces a tour you can be sure that they will be headlining numerous festivals around the world. Do not miss Florence and her merry band of musicians as the group is not support for any show, they are the show!