Reunited and It Sounds So Good: The Coolest Reunion Performances of 2014 So Far
Everyone hopes to see their favorite disbanded bands reform. It doesn’t matter whether you grew up on their cassette or CD, and maybe you discovered their music after they broke up. When a group of artists get together and make magic, and then split up, there's a certain heartbreak fans endure that can only be quelled by a reunion show. We're not saying our favorite bands should all stay together for the kids, but we can appreciate long-awaited reconciliation for the gift it is. Plus, the artists stand to make buckets of cash for reunion shows. They're pretty much win-win situations.
On the flipside, just because a group’s gotten back together doesn’t always mean they’ll sound as good as they did during the golden years. Despite the odds, some truly epic reunions have taken place in the past few 12 months, leading to tours that immediately sold out. When we’ve been really lucky, the shows even amount to new music. Here are the best reunion performances we’ve seen this year.
By far the most hyped on this list, OutKast's reunion shook the music world. People have been waiting for André 3000 and Big Boi to get back together since their 2003 double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. While neither artist has been sleeping on their solo work — both released plenty of solo material in the past decade — fans never stopped asking for the classics off albums like ATLiens, Stankonia and Aquemini. And so far, people have raved about their performances at festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, Osheaga, Fuji Rock Fest and OVO Fest. The duo still has a slew of performances lined up to finish out the tour. Get schooled on André's wicked style over the years before you catch them at one of the remaining few!
2. Neutral Milk Hotel
You couldn’t set the stage for a more anticipated reunion if you wanted to. Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is an album worshipped by fans even fifteen years after its initial release. Its creation was led by the notorious and reclusive genius Jeff Mangum, who shunned attention aggressively in the late '90s after the live shows and press stressed him out too much. When he and his bandmates announced a reunion tour late in 2013, it was as though common logic had been reversed, and the gods of eclectic, lo-fi indie rock had blessed fans with an impossible gift. The Neutral Milk Hotel crew reunited to perform tunes from their entire catalog, making stops in Europe, North America and at gatherings like Pitchfork Fest. Check out their full tour schedule here.
3. Fleetwood Mac
In January, Christine McVie, one of the core members of Fleetwood Mac announced that she would rejoin her bandmates after years apart for an upcoming “On With The Show” world tour. The group is also working on a completely new album that Lindsey Buckingham recently told The Guardian is already 75% finished. McVie’s return means the band is back to its legendary lineup: Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie. Check out the complete tour dates on their website.
4. Jurassic 5
After six years away from the game, Jurassic 5, the hip-hop crew that helped lead the way for the alternative hip-hop backpack scene, returned fully-formed to perform a formidable number of shows this summer. And if their “Word of Mouth” tour, spanning most of the US wasn’t enough, J5 also shared the first new track since the reunion, “The Way We Do It.” Listen above.
5. Nine Inch Nails
After taking a few years off from Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor came back in 2013 with the searingly dark Nine Inch Nails album, Hesitation Marks. Since then, the band's toured the world with an energy and enthusiasm not often found in bands going on their third decade performing music together. There are still a slew of tour dates running through the end of August in the U.S., fully listed on the band's website.
6. The Replacements
Despite earlier reports this year, the underground alternative rock band The Replacements not only reunited to play Coachella and Primavera Sound this summer, but will perform live sets at Osheaga in Montreal, and Bumbershoot in Seattle this August. They have a host of other dates in the Northeast US, making some diehard fans very, very happy. The fact that this seminal ’80’s rock band is playing some non-festival (read: affordable) dates, only adds to the excitement. Check dates on their website.
One of a handful of bands that helped shaped the indie rock sub-genre of shoegaze, Slowdive developed a similar cult following to Neutral Milk Hotel since their split in the mid 1990’s. So it was to much sad-eyed excitement when fans learned Slowdive would reunite, complete with all original members, and would play tunes from their cult favorite, Pygmalion, which they never got a chance to perform live after its initial release. Check out their website for a full list of European and North American dates.
For fans of ’90’s heavy alternative rock, a Soundgarden reunion is pretty much the pinnacle. A few years ago, after over a decade-long hiatus, and despite the fact that drummer Matt Cameron had been playing with Pearl Jam, the band reformed for an international tour. Following the release of an entirely new album in 2012, they continued dates through this year linking up with Nine Inch Nails to make the show a double-reunion whammy. This past year, Cameron’s been sitting out to tour with Pearl Jam, but has been replaced, funnily enough, by Matt Chamberlain, former drummer for Pearl Jam. Check dates on Ticketmaster.
Following the announcement of the rockumentary about this underground cult-favorite, Slint announced their reunion last year following several short-lived reunions in 2005 and 2007. The band toured the international festival circuit, making the rounds at Primavera Sound and Forecastle Fest in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, as well as a handful of one-off local dates around the US.
10. American Football
If you were a true emo fan back in the day, you were at least familiar with American Football. Like Slint, these seminal sappy post-punk rockers are complimenting the reissue of their only full-length album by playing a couple shows this fall. The first show will be at the Pygmalion Music Festival in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, September 28th, followed by a few others in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and their NYC show at Webster Hall, October 11th. Full tour dates and tickets available on the band's website.
August 14, 2014 via Pepsi