Best Live Artist - 2013
Retribution Gospel Choir
It's one thing for a band to sound big, to fill up a room, or to just plain rock out. But it's another thing altogether for a band to make its audience feel as though time has stopped, and to transport them to other places. Retribution Gospel Choir might as well be relaying their songs from another planet. Singer, guitarist, and musical shaman Alan Sparhawk seems as though he's channeling something otherworldly. Such is the Duluth maestro's intensity when he gets onstage with the gnarly, white-hot side project to his other band, Low. This trio has always been exceptional to see in person, but after they worked out the two 20-minute jams that became 3 during a Turf Club residency last summer, they took things to a whole other level. With snarling riffs and an insistent rhythm section, their sound drenched in reverb, RGC are a band exploring the outer limits of their instruments. So long as they keep pushing those boundaries, we'll keep worshiping at the rock 'n' roll altar.