The Best of 2019, As Told By Jessica Spottek

2019 was extremely fast for me. Like seriously, this fall semester felt like a month! I’ve been on the go-go-go and didn’t have a lot of time to sit down and check out all the great music that came out this year. I was also unable to go to many concerts this year as well because of, well, “becoming an adult”. Last spring semester, I decided to work on partnerships with music festivals for KURE to participate with press. Never in my life would I think this station would become so successful from two festivals. In addition to these amazing weekends, here are a few of my top concerts of 2019 (in no particular order):

Diane Coffee: Internet Arms Tour (ft. The Minks)

Triple Crown Whisky Bar and Raccoon Motel- Davenport, IA

I was located in the Quad Cities this past summer for an internship, and was SUPER excited to be doing press for Coffee’s show in Davenport! If you don’t know who Diane Coffee is…you gotta check ‘em out! I previously saw him and the band in Milwaukee a few years ago when I won tickets on the radio. He puts on one hell of a show with lots of color and expression! The venue was pretty intimate with only a few tens of people for standing room. Before his performance, The Minks opened with an awesome set! I haven’t heard of them before their performance, but their vibe is exactly what we have at KURE. If you want a review of this concert, be sure to read up on it in our “Music” tab!

The Killers: No tour name (ft. Death Cab for Cutie)

Summerfest Music Festival- Milwaukee, WI

Literally one of the best concerts ever, and I don’t say this lightly. I’ve been a huge fan of the Killers for my entire life and not once have I seen them live. I’m always busy every time I want to see them! The last time they came to Milwaukee was my Freshman orientation at ISU. How sad, right?! So when I saw that they were coming to the US for only one summer night in Milwaukee during Summerfest, you bet you a** I bought tickets! The show was at the new amphitheater on the Summerfest grounds which wasn’t as different-looking as I thought. There were A LOT of people for this show, but Thomas and I sat in the lawn section. Opening for the Killers was Death Cab for Cutie. Their latest album at the time, “Thank You for Today”, was a masterpiece from 2019. Definitely check out this album! Their opening performance wasn’t “spectacular”, not realizing that the band is a lot older than I thought. Overall, they were awesome live! You know when your favorite band comes on stage and there’s instant tears? Yea, it happened here. I immediately saw Brandon Flowers’ silhouette in the stage midst and starting screaming! Banger after banger, the Killers put on one of the best live shows ever! They also brought a fan on stage to play guitar to “For Reasons Unknown”. Obviously one of the best parts of the show was when “Mr.Brightside” was slow and acoustic, and every single audience member was singing along…and then the original version was played. One of the best nights ever!

Portugal. The Man- festivals tour

80/35 Music Festival- Des Moines, IA

KURE was humble to have done press at two festivals in Iowa this summer, including 80/35. This festival takes place in the heart of downtown Des Moines. This year’s lineup was crazy good! In addition to doing press and interviews, KURE also participated in the Community Village which is a free area for the public to learn about local organizations and programs. What topped off the cake at 80/35 you ask? Obviously when we were able to interview AND see Portugal. The Man. live of course! Eric Howk, guitarist for the band, spoke with us for an intimate interview (make sure to check this one out as well!).

PTM’s most recent album, “Woodstock”, was two years old during 80/35. I’ve seen PTM once before in Milwaukee back when it first came out. I remember them playing “Feel It Still” twice! Two years go by, and wasn’t a surprise that everyone knew every song! Portugal is one of those bands where the fans know every song off of the album; not just one or two hits. It’s a common thing at a music festival to know the setlist of an artist before seeing them. Because it’s such an amazing encore and ending song, PTM’s final was “Sleep Forever”. Everyone at KURE knew the song, so we were singing it together with our arms around each other on the last night of 80/35. This was one of my favorite memories from the summer!

Elle King- Shake the Spirit tour

80/35 Music Festival- Des Moines, IA

“Exes and Oh’s” and “America’s Sweetheart” is just two of King’s tracks that are as amazing as the rest! Before 80/35, I only ever heard or listened to Elle King on the radio. I wasn’t much of a big fan of “country pop”, but I also don’t want to put her in such a specific category. KURE’s Live Director at the time and I wanted to see King, as she was the headliner for Friday night. The press access and rules were super strict during her show, as we could only take pictures and videos during her first three songs. We were able to get right in the front for some great coverage, and it was an awesome spot as well! She came on stage with her band, and the bass was turned all the way up! It was like this sexy country thang-esque feel with her hair in a curly ponytail and big winged eyeliner…of course all topped off with a sleek blazer. She was honestly rockin’ it! We weren’t able to stay for her entire set, but I’m so glad I got to see most of her! I never realized how talented Elle King was! Since 80/35, I’ve been listening to her first album, “Love Stuff”, to a good extent. She’s very passionate about her lyrics, and the music production with it is a plus. Check out Elle King, and be sure to see her live!

Maggie Rogers- Heard It In a Past Life tour

Hinterland Music Festival- St.Charles, IA

I swear to God if you don’t know this by now, Maggie is my QUEEN! “Heard It In a Past Life” was one of the best albums of 2019 in my opinion. Her tour and fanbase and everything in her life became more grand this year, and I congratulate her on becoming so successful! One of my oldest friends is totally obsessed with her as I am! After she told me about Maggie Rogers, I just fell in love. KURE charted her on NACC top 30 for multiple weeks, becoming #1! Check out “Heard It In a Past Life” if you haven’t already! Maggie is the sweetest, kind-hearted, most free-bird woman celebrity you’ll ever meet. From her lyrics to her stage wardrobe, she goes all out on being herself. And her voice? Don’t even get me started! I was lucky enough to be in the pit to shoot for her during her set. As she came on stage, I had instant tears! I also knew every song she played, even some covers! This was one of my favorite concerts by far because of the amount of positive energy and dancing and fun-time-ing we were having. Even through the hot Iowan summer heat, I got to see one of my favorite emerging artists!

St.Paul & The Broken Bones- festivals tour

Hinterland Music Festival- St.Charles, IA

If you haven’t heard them enough on my radio show this semester, I’m not sure how you would not have heard about them by now! St.Paul & The Broken Bones, all the way from Alabama, was also one of my favorite concerts from this past year. I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Paul Janeway, the lead vocalist for the group, a few months ago before Hinterland (which is also up on the KURE website!). I’ve always been a big fan of those groovy songs with a little soul, rock, and R&B. It’s like southern contemporary if you ask me, but the band might put it differently otherwise. It was a good mix for St.Paul to perform at Hinterland because a lot of the other artists were too country or indie folk for my personal taste (I could say this about Maggie as well). It was my first time at Hinterland, and camping music festival for that fact, so I didn’t know what to expect. The stage was huge! Because St.Paul is a large band, they fit well on the stage. Paul Janeway is known for his infamous high pitch singing, and he very well did so! I was in absolute awe with their performance at Hinterland. Janeway came out in a glittery cape with all sorts of colors and patterns. He also sang in the crowd and up in the balcony of the soundboard area (“front of house”). St.Paul & The Broken Bones KILLED IT at Hinterland! I want to see them again real soon!

Jade Bird- North American tour (ft. Flyte)

Wooly’s- Des Moines, IA

Of course I saw Jade Bird at Hinterland, but her performance at Wooly’s blew everyone away! I’m pretty sure that most of the people attending this show were fans of her Hinterland show as well. Me and a few others were there to cover press for the show, but also to have a great time seeing Jade Bird live again. I am obsessed with her self-titled album…so awesome! A masterpiece from top to bottom! With being her most known work, she performed much of this album at the concert. Some of my favorite songs by Jade Bird include “Uh Huh” and “Ruins”. Her opener, Flyte, was ok. Not my favorite, but would’ve been better if it wasn’t an acoustic set. Jade Bird brought them out for a few songs. Some of my favorite parts in her show was when she would only sing and play the piano, or just her voice. The audience was so focused on her sound and the atmosphere that she made from her performance. It was almost body-tingling! Like Maggie Rogers, Jade Bird is so outgoing and such an independent woman. Many of her songs are about breakups and holding your head high. I’m so happy that I got to see her twice in one year!

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