Best Live Music Events of 2016

It’s that time of the year again, y’know the time where we reflect on the year and categorize everything into a “best of” list. Today’s topic is the best live music events of 2016. On Violet Roots, I feature a lot of live music. It’s a huge part of my life and I enjoy sharing both underrepresented and mainstream talent with you.  

Plus, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing that you found someone new to listen to through me. It reassures me that I’m providing value to you and it’s nice to see which artists you connect with. 

Below you’ll find 13 of the best live music events of 2016. I’ve attended more shows than what you see here but today’s feature focuses on the concerts I enjoyed the most. They are not listed by rank just in order of when I saw them.

It would have been way too hard to rank them all and each show deserves more than just a number attached to it. So, instead, you’ll find a few thoughts from me as well as a link to the full recap!



Melanie Martinez at Playstation Theater

Concert Highlights

I thrive off creativity and the drive of other creatives and Melanie Martinez has both in spades. Her debut album, Cry Baby is a twisted fairytale and the whole persona she’s created around this story is perfection from start to finish.

I really appreciate when an artist commits to their vision and it’s obvious that Melanie had a cohesive concept. If you have some time go through all her videos she has one for almost all the songs on the record and they tell the tale of her Cry Baby character tremendously well. 

When I attended her show I was entertained throughout and was somehow lucky enough to have a clear view despite her ravenous super fans. 


Aurora at Bowery Ballroom

Concert Highlights

Aurora is like an ethereal dream! She’s really like no one else and her voice is so pure and serene. Attending her show was probably one of the most well-behaved concert going experiences I’ve ever had. Despite Aurora being so young, the audience was mature and polite. The overall vibe was supportive and loving and I left the venue feeling like I truly just saw something special. 


PVRIS at Webster Hall

Concert Highlights

PVRIS (pronounced Paris) fans are feistier than most but that doesn’t take away from this band. Lynn Gvnn, is a phenomenal frontwoman who knows how to command the stage, get the crowd amped up and who also looks fantastic in a leather jacket! I get starry eyes just thinking about how awesome she is! 

I’ll let you in on a secret, even though I’m writing about multiple acts here, I’m listening to PVRIS as I write this post. PVRIS has become one of my favorite bands despite only having heard of them as a recommendation via Apple Radio. I’m telling you, it’s so easy to find new music you love!


Ellie Goulding at Madison Square Garden

Concert Highlights

Ellie Goulding has pretty much been a solid performer for quite some time now. This show was my second time seeing her and it was wonderful to see the expanded stage and packed house at the iconic Madison Square Garden. Ellie’s voice might not be for everyone but, in my book, she never disappoints! 



Broods at Webster Hall

Concert Highlights

This New Zealand brother-sister duo is close to my heart. Several of their songs remind me of when my partner, A and I were just beginning to date so there are a lot of sentimental vibes going on. #allthefeels

I’ve featured them plenty of times on VR before like when I listened to their sophomore album or when I covered the first time I saw them perform. They’ve grown in popularity and in skill since that first time and I can’t wait to see where they go next!



Mad Decent Block Party 2016

Festival Highlights

I spent most of the Mad Decent Block Party 2016 recap gushing over Kesha’s return to the stage. That was definitely a highlight of the festival but I can’t forget about DJ Snake. I mean, he was one of the headliners and no matter what you think of the Biebs I think we can all agree that the above song is a good one. 


The Hush Sound at Webster Hall

Concert Highlights

The Hush Sound anniversary tour was so much fun! I was immediately transported back to my high school days and although I NEVER want to go back to high school I do miss some of the music from that time period. The early 2000s were kind of a mess, but like always, we still had great music to listen to.

This concert was a major throwback and definitely one of the best live music events of 2016. Everyone in attendance was there to just have let the nostalgia wash over them and sing their hearts out to the words. Good times!


Adele at Madison Square Garden

Concert Highlights

The argument could easily be made that Adele’s 25 tour was THE best live music event of 2016. I would agree with you and not have a single complaint. It is Adele after all and her voice is like no other! Seeing her live was akin to a transformative experience and I can’t wait to be able to do it again! 



Global Citizen Festival 2016

Festival Highlights

What do Rihanna, Metallica, Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, Demi Lovato, and Ellie Goulding have in common? They all performed at the Global Citizen charity concert this past September. It made my birthday month that much more epic and did I mention is was all free? Yep. I’m one lucky girl!


Lissie at Bowery Ballroom

Concert Highlights

Global Citizen scores again! I was able to attend this intimate acoustic show thanks to the wonderful people over at Global Citizen. Lissie is a raw talent with a beautiful raspy voice and a sense of humor that makes you want to swap numbers and be instant BFFs! Acoustic shows can run the risk of being a bit dry if the performer doesn’t have a magnetic stage presence or a friendly disposition and thankfully Lissie had both. 


Troye Sivan at Terminal 5

Concert Highlights

Every year I find an artist that quickly makes a home in my music library and quietly shoves the rest of my music to the side. This year that artist is undoubtedly Troye Sivan. I saw him earlier in the Spring and then again this Fall.

He continues to get better as his fanbase grows and his venue size increases. I’m thrilled with the progress his career has made and I’m so happy that there are role models like him out there in the world for kids like my cousin, who I mentioned in the recap. 


Kiiara at (le) poisson rouge

Concert Highlights

Seems like we were just talking about Kiiara . . . oh, wait because I just covered her show in detail last week! In an effort to not repeat myself so soon I’m going to direct you to the above link. There you can check out the full review and hear about her awesome opener Cruel Youth! If you did miss the recap and want to know what to expect just know that you’re in for some electro fun with a hint of hip-hop and a ton of bass. 


What concert or festival do you think qualifies as the best live music events of 2016? What was the best show you attended this year?

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