Friday, 20 December 2013

Feature: Five of the Best...TV Performances of the Year

I know, I know, you're sick of lists. Best albums, best tracks, best artwork, best EPs, best outfit, best guitar's been pretty exhaustive as usual. But bear with me. I've seen a helluvah lot of impressive live performances on TV this year, but no list to commemorate them. What an oversight! Luckily, I'm here to save the day with a special feature: the five best TV performances of the year. Enjoy.

1) Kanye West - Bound 2 - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Kanye West - Bound 2 (Feat. Charlie Wilson... by BlakMusicFirst

Bound 2 is already a glorious conclusion to a pretty stunning, if divisive, album. But Kanye manages to bring it to life on this live performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Backed by a junior choir and a full live band, this track has old-school Kanye vibes, which isn't exactly in line with the sound and atmosphere of the rest of Yeezus, is made to sound like a bona fide pop classic. A rare example of a live version becoming undoubtedly better than a studio version of a song.

2) Deltron 3030 - City Rising From The Ashes - Late Show with David Letterman

Here's a pretty stunning performance. Hip-hop supergroup Deltron 3030 absolutely go to town with this live version of City Rising From The Ashes, backed by a full orchestra, choir and band. It's fast, it's frenetic, and it's pretty bloody exciting. Kid Koala tears it up on the decks and Del's flow is absolutely relentless throughout. Why can't all live hip-hop be like this?

3) Tyler, the Creator - Rusty - Late Show with David Letterman

More hip-hop now. Although this performance lacks the grandeur and panache of Kanye and Deltron, the gritty, aggressive flow of Tyler, Earl and Domo makes for an intense show. And for live TV, it's pretty rare to be so enthralled by a performance like this. No band, no live music, just three MCs at the top of their game. The build up to Tyler's explosive verse (possibly his best?) and finish is quite something.

4) Arcade Fire - Afterlife - YouTube Music Awards

OK, an admission. I wanted to put John Grant's performance of Black Books on Jools Holland here...but it's mysteriously disappeared from the internet. Grrr. Still, this is a more than capable replacement. If only for the amazing Greta Gerwin dance.

5) Arctic Monkeys - Hold On (We're Going Home) - Radio 1 Live Lounge

Is it just me who thinks this is miles better than the original sung by Drake? I doubt it. The Arctic Monkeys manage to totally bring this already-great pop tune to another level, complete with Alex Turner's embarrassing-drunken-uncle dancing and Helders' I-can't-believe-he's-from-Yorkshire backing vocals. 

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