Social Distortion LEAD

I love experiencing live music. The little nuances that make each song unique from the studio recording, the between-song banter that makes you feel like you’re getting to know your favorite artists on a deeper, “friend” level, the energy of being surrounded by a group of like-minded people all sharing the experience with you…at the risk of sounded corny, it all adds up to something truly magical. But I can’t lie to you, dear readers, I don’t always love everything that comes with heading out to a show.

First, there’s the $20-$200 you pay for the tickets themselves, plus $20 parking and $8+ a pop for however many drinks you fancy (if you live in LA, you know I’m not exaggerating here). And even if you’re one of those loaded mf-ers (p.s. I hate you), you can’t control how good the sound or lighting will be. Depending on the venue, it could be great, or it could leave your favorite indie rock group looking and sounding like your favorite acid trip. Oh, and on top of all that, there are those super-fun audience members I could do without (this list sums it up nicely).

So many variables must fall into place for a truly perfect concert experience, but that’s why I love watching live music videos! With so many great websites offering high-quality performance videos of the bands I love, I can get my live music fix from the comforts of my own couch and save a few bucks in the process.

Of course, nothing compares to a truly excellent concert experience, and I can name a dozen I’ve had in the last year that were well worth any minor inconveniences, but if you’re ever in the mood for some live music without the fuss and financial crunch that comes with heading out to a show, just check out my favorite websites for live music videos (in no particular order), along with a couple of my favorite videos from each site:

Baeble Concerts

Got some serious time on your hands? You’re going to want to head over to BaebleMusic as they feature some of the very best full-length concert videos on the web. Great quality. Great acts. Great venues. Don’t have time for a full show? The site breaks down the set list for every concert, allowing you to click through to your favorite songs. How’s that for convenient?

Mumford and Sons

Watch the full video at Baeblemusic.com

Local Natives

Watch the full video at Baeblemusic.com

NPR Tiny Desk Concerts

The Tiny Desk Concert series is totally in keeping with the no-BS NPR brand. Recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen in the NPR Music office, these sessions show the artists in a setting far removed from the dimly lit clubs and cavernous venues we’re used to seeing them in. Plus everyone from the artists to those working behind the scenes just seems so darn nice all the time. It’s refreshing.

Black Cab Sessions

One Song. One Take. One Cab. Not sure who came up with the premise for this series, but I love the Black Cab Sessions. It’s a quirky twist on the normal concert setting, and seeing the band members crammed together in the backseat always reminds me that these people don’t just make music together, they travel together, they eat together, they exist together…really, could you stand being that close to anyone other than your best friends?

VV Brown

Band of Horses

Band of Horses from Black Cab Sessions on Vimeo.

Daytrotter Videos

Though Daytrotter is probably better know for their free audio downloads, they do post the occasional video. While most consist of only a song or two, they sometimes feature longer performances, like the one below of folk favorite, Iron and Wine. Definitely worth checking out the videos on the site next time you’re downloading an audio session.

The Late Night Shows

Late night talk shows feature some of the best artists making music today. From Conan, to Jimmy Fallon, to Jimmy Kimmel, today’s late night hosts have their finger on the pulse of the music scene. Not a night owl? Not to worry. You can head over to any of their websites to catch the latest performances to grace their stages.

Wolfgang’s Vault

This is THE site to go to for footage of live music. From Skynyrd and the Stones to the Hold Steady and Portugal. The Man, these concert videos span over four decades, and you’re sure to find SOMETHING you like amongst the hundreds of archived videos. My only complaint about the site? They won’t let you embed any of their videos! You’ll just have to follow the links to see a couple of my favorites: The Mountain Goats and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.