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Photo by Jen Cray

Bishop Briggs

Orlando's best concert moments of 2017 

OW’s music writers weigh in on the shows that moved them the most this year

In terms of the humdrum everyday, concert attendance often gets edged out in favor of Netflix or just trying to recover from the challenges of a working day, but to us, there's a crucial witchcraft in seeing good live music performed that hits pleasure receptors in a way that few other things do. Our writers recall the shows this year that reminded them of what they loved about music in the first place.

Bishop Briggs the Social, May 16

When Bishop Briggs sold out the Social someone forgot to tell her that it was a small club and not an arena. The electropop songstress, with a soulful gospel-choir voice and hip-hop beats, barely had room onstage for all the band members and LED light drops she had brought with her. Still she dominated and amped up the energy of a crowd already hyped on the opening act double-punch of Shaed and Manatee Commune. This was the kind of show that made both the club kids and the music snobs salivate. – Jen Cray

Karl Berger Improvisers Orchestra Timucua White House, March 19

An amazing and unique live experience with the renowned jazz composer Karl Berger coming to town and bringing together the city's musical best and brightest, in addition to world-class filmmaker Julian Benedikt documenting the whole thing. This was a concert of creative outpouring that reminded us and connected us to a bigger world of art that transcends: a place our beloved Sam Rivers occupied, bringing home the spirits of Don Cherry, Jeff Buckley, the Blue Note Records legacy and well beyond. – Kyle Eagle

Bryan Ferry Hard Rock Live, March 12 Haves&Thirds, Blacksunblackmoon The Falcon, June 24

I'm reconceptualizing my terminal indecision into a loftier "editorial mandate," when I say that it was impossible to choose just one show this year. But honestly, how could I? Behind stage door No. 1, you had the eternally debonair avant-crooner Bryan Ferry vaporizing hearts at Hard Rock Live. Particularly emotional impressions of the night include Ferry's touring band triumphantly nailing every single fucked-up solo in Roxy Music's "Remake/Remodel," a full-hearted "More Than This" causing the floor to drop out from under me, and briefly seeing Billy Manes and Tony Mauss before the show, resplendent in suits and sunglasses (in the dark), naturally gliding towards the VIP area. Behind door No. 2, there was a gathering of Florida underground electronic stalwarts crammed into the Falcon to support a rare and heart-stopping out-of-Tampa performance by the mysterious postpunk project Haves&Thirds. Blacksunblackmoon returned to Orlando and bewitched and bewildered us with fragile, improvised keyboard runs, filmmaker Kate Shults screened stunning new work and Temperament crafted black ops drone with the house lights painfully up. We left the night overwhelmed and inspired that this was all Florida-grown sound. – Matthew Moyer

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