The entire CHAOS family got together to talk about their favourite releases and live shows of 2020! Despite there being a lack of live gigs and festivals, we all still got to see some of our favourite bands and we are happy to share them with you! Find our favourites below.

Florian Baudouin (chief editor, CHAOS France)

Album: Trivium – What The Dead Men Say
I’m going to start off by making my mea culpa: I didn’t listen to a lot of albums that have been released this year, but mostly releases from 2019. I could have discussed for example the double album War  and Peace by Demon Hunter, Trauma by I Prevail or obviously We Are Not Your Kind by Slipknot. But here, it is about 2020 albums. This year, Trivium released their new album. I have to confess that I have listened to it a lot less than for example “The Sin and The Sentence”, but one thing is certain: when Trivium releases a new album, it’s difficult to compete with. However, I would like to give a honourable mention to Guardians by August Burns Red and A Quiet Place To Die by Alpha Wolf.

Song: Five Finger Death Punch – A Little Bit Off
Maybe it’s me, but I feel like that F8 kind of is the third wheel in Five Finger Death Punch’s discography. However, paradoxically, ‘A Little Bit Off’ is one of the songs that would have impressed me the most this year and which would have accompanied me on my most locked down days. Even though this song hasn’t been written about the virus, he-who-must-not-be-named, it echoes what a lot of us could feel during this strange year. The feeling to be a little bit off, as well as sending a primordial message: it’s ok not to be ok and it’s just a phase.

Concert: Slipknot + Behemoth – Halle Tony Garnier, Lyon (February)
It isn’t really complicated to answer this question since I only have seen two concerts this year: Slipknot and Behemoth’s one in early February and Polar (with Up to The End and Beyond The Fate as supporting acts) a few weeks later. And with all the respect I have for Polar and friends, seeing Slipknot live was a moment I had been waiting for for almost ten years and their grandiloquent show didn’t disappoint me.

Susanne van Hooft (chief editor, CHAOS NL)

Album: Nothing But Thieves – Moral Panic

Song: Fontaines DC – I Don’t Belong To Anyone

Concert: Cage The Elephant – 013, Tilburg (March)
The Netherlands was slowly getting enthralled by COVID-19. The first measurements were immediately notable at this concert: no hand dryers in the toilets anymore. I think that was all. It was warm and crowded in the room. I probably don’t have to explain that this was my last big concert before lockdown. Everyone was standing close to each other, they still knew how to party. The band gave away an excellent and attention grabbing show and also support act SWMRS was contagious. Everything together, for me, it was a legendary show.

Bente van der Zalm (chef editor, CHAOS NL)

Album: Talk Show – These People
At the moment I heard These People by Talk Show I said: I want to see this band live! It was quite unusual for me to have to wait to see a band live after discovering their music, usually it’s the other way around; I see the band live and then I discover their music. I think it was in the middle of April and maybe a month later I heard the news that the band was booked for Left of the Dial, a showcase festival in Rotterdam. Of course I was happy because that’s what I wanted but after months of uncertainty, the festival was cancelled at last minute due to “circumstances”. Hopefully these circumstances don’t take too long anymore and there will be a day when I see Talk Show.

Song: Declan McKenna – Beautiful Face
This happy sounding, but secretly a bit of a cynical song gave me a lot of energy at the end of march and that was exactly what I needed back then: cynical happiness and carelessness.

Concert: Canshaker Pi – De Nijverheid, Utrecht (February)
I remember that we arrived at this venue soaked to the bone. I had never been there before and I was amazed by the quirkiness of this place. The nice thing was that there was a big wood-burning stove on which we could warm up and dry ourselves. The concert was great as well. Because of the new formation of the band I didn’t really know what to expect from the concert. I had listened to the album, but you never know how it turns out as a live performance. It was so good that I bought the album after the concert and took it back home under the dripping rain.

Laura Rosierse (coordinator, CHAOS EN)

Album: James Kennedy – Make Anger Great Again

Song: Malan – Busy Bee
Malan wrote the perfect reminder for all of us to make sure to take a breath and give ourselves a break! As soon as the UK went into lockdown I realised that now is the time to focus on our own mental and physical health instead of working 24/7!
“Take a break busy bee,
You’re working so tirelessly, oh
Constant frenzy in your mind…
Don’t let it catch up with you,
All this work that you have to do,
Don’t you wish you could sit back and unwind…”

Concert: Tranqua Lite, Un-Convention – Niamos, Manchester (March)

Anouck Bosma (writer, CHAOS NL)

Album: Boy Pablo – Wachito Rico
This album was released at the end of October and soon became my favourite. It contains a lot of cheerful songs but at the same time different songs for every mood.

Song: Fil Bo Riva – Cold Mine
This remains to be one of my favourite artists and with this song he again doesn’t let us down. I can’t wait for the next album!

Concert: Jungle By Night – Doornroosje, Nijmegen (July)
This was the first concert I went to during COVID-19 and even though it was strange to have so much space between the other visitors, it felt good to be at a concert again. The ambiance was very good and it was a very nice night.

Jenn Foster (writer, CHAOS EN)

Album: The Hunna – I’d Rather Die Than Let You In

Song: The Hara – Until It Happens

Concert: Tom Grennan – Virgin Money Unity Arena, Newcastle (August)
With all gigs being brought to a standstill this year, I’ve been craving some feeling of being alive that I would feel at gigs. Even though it was all socially distanced, the atmosphere was immense and Tom put on an exceptional show. I’m also extremely proud of the fact the arena was based in my hometown.

Evelyne Gorter (writer, CHAOS NL)

Album: Nothing But Thieves – Moral Panic.

Song: Tom Tukker – No Matter How
There are so many beautiful songs, but my Spotify Wrapped was telling me that ‘No Matter How’ by Tom Tukker was the song that helped me through this year.

Concert: Eefje de Visser – 3FM Awards Breda, ChasséTheater (October)
The intimate setting where the audience was seated on the stage together with the band made it very special.

Jay Landman (writer, CHAOS EN)

Album: Twist Helix – Machinery 

Song: Maida Vorn – Automatic
I think ‘Automatic’ by Maida Vorn has an incredible bassline with a tonne of attitude. The overall vibe of the song would also make it suitable for a Tim Burton film

Concert: The Pylons, JJ Draper, Cat Ryan and Aley V – Cobalt Studios CIC, Newcastle (February) 

Koen Ruijs (writer, CHAOS NL)

Album: Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters 

Song: Many Voices Speak – Want It Kept

Concert: Damien Jurado – Stevenskerk, Nijmegen (February)
On a cold wednesday night I went to Nijmegen to admire Damien Jurado. Just like Damien, I travelled alone to the Stevenskerk. Damien Jurado had been on my bucket list for a long time. And on the 19th of February in 2020 the moment was finally there. Dana Gavanski was the support act. The performances of her songs were well taken care of and still she performed them just like she was in your living room. Damien continued this trend. He entered the stage wearing a sweater and jeans. In his arms he was carrying two folders with the majority of his repertoire of the past years. After the first song he told us that he never makes a setlist before he enters the stage. While flipping through the folder he chose some songs to play. In the meantime he told us an anecdote about a conversation he had with his children at the dinner table, a few weeks before. He had written out a few important details in his notes on his phone. He took these while he calmly kept going about the conversation at the dinner table. The special thing about this concert for me was the calmth and sobriety that Damien had in him. If you see him it could be your introvert uncle or neighbour. But while playing he knew how to silence a full Stevenskerk. The contrast between accessibility of Damien and the grandeur of the Stevenskerk had an enchanting effect. Damien Jurado proved this evening that you don’t have to sing perfectly and you don’t have to be dressed beautifully to bring across a story. He touched me, just by being himself. Since all the COVID-19 measures, this memory of this intimate seated concert only meant more to me. Because how strange it is now to sit in between two total strangers in a chock-full church and enjoying the same music.

Nina de Sanders (writer, CHAOS EN)

Album: Lady Gaga – Chromatica

Song: The Pussycat Dolls – React

Concert: The Murder Capital & Working Men’s Club for Annie Mac Presents at 100 Club, London (March)

Eddy Taatgen (photographer, CHAOS NL)

Album: Native Harrow – Closeness
I met this singer from the USA last year in the UK. She’s very kind and on this album all the 2020 problems are mentioned.

Song: Jim White – The Divided States of America
He describes the lousy situation of the US in a few songs, this speaks to me because my daughter is living there.

Concert: Gill Landry – TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht (January)
He has a fantastic voice and he is a very kind guy.

Fabien Trève (writer, CHAOS France)

Album: Fake Eyes – A Drip Is All We Know
The EP “A Drip Is All We Know” by Fake Eyes is just a 22 minutes long throwback to the 90’s. An obvious influence from the band Hum, which has also released an album (comeback) this year. Fake Eyes had released an EP with two tracks two years ago, after listening to it, we were definitely asking for more. Thanks then to Fake Eyes for quenching that thirst this year with this excellent EP. The track “Illuminate” could totally have been my song of the year.

Song: Paerish – Archives
Even though we couldn’t listen to their (still expected) new album, Paerish hasn’t forgotten us. Indeed, the french band delivered three excellent new tracks during the past few months, such as Archives, which for me is on repeat mode since it was released.

Concert: Thee Oh Sees – Le Transbordeur, Villeurbanne (Postponed!)
If I had to choose a band to see live after these concertless months (for example because of a global pandemic…) I’d choose without hesitating Thee Oh Sees’ pure energy. I’m looking forward to finally seeing them.

Hanna de Vries (writer, CHAOS NL)

Album: Hayley Williams – Petals For Armour
When 13-year old me saw Paramore on MTV for the first time, I immediately fell in love with Hayley Williams. After all these years I’m still in love with her. Petals for Armour is, besides from some singles, Williams’ first solo work. Even though the album is produced by ex-members of Paramore, it isn’t anything like what we’re used to from Paramore. In fact, Williams knows how to create such a unique sound that I haven’t dared to compare it to anything yet. The lyrics are mostly about a personal growth in hard times. Number one with a bullet, for me this really is the most special album of 2020.

Song: Razorlight – Burn, Camden, Burn
My favourite genre secretly is Zeroes Britpop. We’d like to forget the fact that this song was released in 2020 by accident.

Concert: Indian Askin at 2 A.M – night club Warhol, Groningen (January)
Now it feels like ages ago, but in January we were still allowed to stand packed together in way too crowded night clubs. During Eurosonic Noorderslag the entire city of Groningen transforms in a continu festival where you can encounter bands playing a show at the weirdest places and at the strangest times. In the past I already claimed that Indian Askin might be the best live band of The Netherlands, and even though lead singer Chino Ayala probably drank a little bit too much of something I don’t have to try myself, for me this was the ultimate Eurosonic and festival feeling.

Dennis de Waard (writer, CHAOS NL)

Album: Dijf Sanders – Puja
An insane trip through Indonesia in an eclectic mix of field recordings, folk and electronic music. A record that grows, the more you listen to it, but it’s certainly worth the journey.

Song: Romy – Lifetime
I am a sucker for melodramatic music and Romy of the XX knows very well how to write this. Quarantine banger of the year. Period.

Concert: Spinvis – Carré, Amsterdam (July)
After not having seen a concert for almost half a year Spinvis (just him and Saartje) hits you very hard. It was an immensely tearjerking-show and come on, how often can you say that you were at a concert of Spinvis in Carré with only a hundred people?

Paul van de Zalm (writer, CHAOS NL)

Album: Frazey Ford – U Kin B The Sun
Early in the year it was already one of the albums that might up in my favourites of the year, but when the crisis broke out this soulful album didn’t get the attention that it deserved.

Song: Black Foxxes – Swim
It was a great comeback of Mark Holley with new band members.

Concert: Monomyth – Lijm & Cultuur, Delft (October)
This was one of the two concerts I got a chance to go to during the time of corona and for this reason it will stick to me for a long time in the future. And of course Monomyth is a fantastic live band!

Ivana van der Zant (photographer, CHAOS NL)

Album: Vandenberg – 2020
This album is amazing. It sounds like the old Vandenberg, but then renewed. The new singer fits the music and the songs that have been written for this album very well.

Song: Ozzy Osbourne and Elton John – Ordinary man
The first time that I heard this song I already got emotional. The lyrics are lyrics to think about. Elton John and Ozzy Osbourne are a good duo; their voices are very different but they suit each other.

Concert: The Growlers – TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht (February)
It was a very energetic show.

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