Top 10 Favorite Active Lead Singers with Sunshine

Sunshine Mayfield @Mr_Sun_Shine

I’ve seens some pretty cool shows this year and what I’ve realized over the past few months is how critical that lead singer is to the overall experience of a concert. So here is my list of Top 10 Favorite Active Lead Singers...


10. Alison Mosshart

This Psych-Rock, bluesy queen has earned her spot on the list for her showmanship and personality. Mosshart leads her multiple rock outfits (The Kills, The Dead Weather)  with a seductive grace that you can’t turn away from and has a voice like a punk-rock siren pulling you in into the dangerous waters of the stage that she floats around on.  You can currently find her touring around Europe with The Kills but we hope that she finds her way back to this side of the Atlantic very soon.


9. Terrence Richard

Richard fronts the Charlotte 4-Piece, Junior Astronomers. JA brings forth a set that is always wildly energetic, engaging, and inclusive. Though I would argue that this vibe is a collaborative effort by all parties involved, it would be a crime not to highlight the antics of Terrence. He plays the role of the energetic camp counselor on stage, making sure everyone is fully aware that JA shows are not a spectator sport. As he dances around the stage, hanging on his band mates, he howls into the microphone spouting lyrics that the crowd always seems to know. It also doesn’t hurt that Terrence and the rest of JA seem to make friends wherever they go. It makes every show feel like a family reunion where everyone leaves with a big grin on their face. You can check out JA on their Body Language Tour this summer, taking place up and down the east coast.


8. Mandy Lee

Here is another incredible entertainer that makes sure that every show is more like a party than a concert. Lee fronts Misterwives, who constantly seems to be growing in popularity. Lee belts her catchy and meaningful tunes with her powerhouse of a voice. She dances from side to side, playing to the crowd with her everlasting energy and joy. With Lee’s leadership and example, you will leave every show a sweaty mess, and you’ll love every second of it! Check out Misterwives on their Connect the Dots Tour that kicks off in June.


7. Nathan Hussey

Nathan Hussey leads the indie/alt-rock All Get Out out of ATX. Hussey is a seemingly soft-spoken man offstage who produces a sound that hits you like the audible version of linebacker. I can only imagine that he is incredibly exhausted after each performance because it is clear to everyone watching that he leaves every ounce of passion that he has on the stage, no matter what the venue. Every personal lyric is backed by the emotional punch that it was written with and that vulnerable touch to his songs are one of the many reasons they work so well.  I’ve seen Hussey multiple times over the past 10 years and I have never once left a set feeling anything short of impressed. You can catch Hussey and All Get Out on tour with Taking Back Sunday all summer long.


6. Laura Jane Grace

This is the 2nd time that Against Me! And Laura Jane Grace have popped up on one of my Top 10 List but I have a hard time believing that anyone could tell me it isn’t well deserved. Grace is an inspiring badass who wears her heart on her sleeve each and every show, while her brand of anarchist punk bleeds from the speakers. She thrashes around on stage while her gritty and powerful voice echoes throughout the venue while contemplating self-worth and self-actualization. Similar to other bands on this list, Against Me! shows feel more like a gathering of friends and family, covered in a culture of acceptance and love. I dig that a lot.


5. Max Bemis

Some might assume that this frontman for the genre-bending Say Anything, might be losing some steam. I can tell you from experience that he is doing anything but. Bemis finds himself continuosly writing music that is meaningful for him and he is happy to take others on that journey if they want to go. Bemis is flat out an entertainer, mixing the moves of Freddy Mercury and the Pillsbury dough boy. I honestly mean that as an outright compliment. He is unapologetically himself on stage while he cranks out each introspective tune. He is likable, gracious, and fun to watch. Say Anything is just about to wrap up a tour with Bayside but i have a feeling it won’t be long till we get to see them again.


4. Buddy Nielsen

If you haven’t noticed by this point in the article, music is a personal experience. People write about what they know, and Buddy Nielsen, frontman of Senses Fail is no different. If you pay attention to his lyrics of his more recent endeavors, you can find cathartic moments driven by self discovery and vulnerability. That makes it all the easier to connect with him when you see him live. He has this insane ability where he creates a personal connection with each individual regardless of the size of the venue. His high energy and his candid approach create a concert going experience unlike any other. Senses Fail finished a nation-wide tour earlier this spring but Buddy made it clear that Senses Fail isn’t going anywhere and they will promptly start work on another album.


3. Davey Havok

That is right. AFI is still touring and making music and this list wouldn’t be accurate if we didn’t mention Davey Havok. This is a man who can hold an audience in the palm of his hand. He has an incredible vocal range and is constantly active on stage. Whether he is jumping off drum kits or platforms, he makes watching his shows the equivalent of a goth-rock Cirque de Soleil. Call him an emo Jesus as he walks on top of the crowd while never losing any musicality. I also appreciate that his is a proponent of keeping ticket prices reasonable so that he can reach as large a fan base as possible. He vibes well with the rest of the band and you can tell they always want to create a showstopping experience. AFI is touring nationally as the celebrate the release of their latest album AFI (The Blood Album).


2. Annakalmia Traver

Traver fronts the indie/psych-rock project of Rubblebucket and she does it beautifully. Annakalmia knows that music should be a participatory experience. Whether she walks out into the crowd with her big-ass baritone saxophone or teaching the crowd lyrics before the song begins, she always makes sure that the audience feels a part of the show. She consistently leads the crowd through a musically spiritual journey and her love of life and music helps to make the greatest live show I have ever seen. Writing that wasn’t a mistake. Rubblebucket puts on the greatest show I have ever seen and I cannot wait to see them again. They continue to put out solid tracks as we wait for a national tour.


1. Anthony Kiedis

This one seems pretty clear to me. Anthony Kiedis has been a legend for over a quarter century. Take all of the things that I have said about the previous 9 artist and multiply them for Kiedis. He fronts what is arguably the greatest band of all time, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and they continue to put out strong tunes. Watching him on stage is utterly hypnotic as pulls the audience in with every line. He is a hall-of-famer and deserves every bit of praise that he gets.  

 - SM -