Fan poll: Top 5 live bands of 2023 | Revolver

Fan poll: Top 5 live bands of 2023

See who beat TOOL and Metallica for the top spot
babymetal live 2023 1600x900 , Steve Thrasher
photograph by Steve Thrasher

Between all the major heavy-metal and hard-rock festivals, and a seemingly constant deluge of awesome tours traveling across the continent at any given moment, 2023 was an especially great year for live music.

From bands making their long-awaited return to North American stages, to reliably badass headlining acts killing it on the arena and even stadium level, there was a helluva lot of live show competition to choose from.

With that in mind, we asked our readers to pick the single greatest live band of 2023. The top five vote-getters are ranked accordingly below.

babymetal 2023 louder than life PROMO 3, Steve Thrasher
photograph by Steve Thrasher

5. Babymetal

This year was a big one for Babymetal. The kawaii-metal stars released their first-ever concept album, The Other One, welcomed new member Momometal into the fold and embarked on their first North American tour since 2019.

All of that excitement was palpable during their big trek with Dethklok — excellently dubbed The Babyklok Tour — which saw Babymetal snapped back into action as a trio and put on a dazzling audio-visual-choregraphical spectacle. Clearly, Revolver readers loved it.

metallica 2023 PROMO james hetfield 2023_04_29-0724.jpg, Ross Halfin
photograph by Ross Halfin

4. Metallica

Metallica's M72 tour was, statistically speaking, the biggest metal trek of the year. 'Tallica broke attendance records at two of the U.S. venues they played, and the stadium-packing journey was a pilgrimage for old-school and newbie Metallica fans alike.

'Tallica's setlist changed every night according to the unique "No Repeat Weekend" format; they debuted a bunch of rippers off 72 Seasons; and the band sounded fucking great at each stop (even if Kirk Hammett flubbed the intro to "Nothing Else Matters" a couple times). We wouldn't be shocked if M72's 2024 leg lands them on next year's version of this list, too.

pantera anselmo rex brown 2023 KEVIN WILSON metlife, Kevin Wilson
photograph by Kevin Wilson

3. Pantera

Obviously, Pantera had to make this list. The power-groove titans made their momentous return to the stage late last year in South America, but their first U.S. shows in 22 years took place throughout this past spring and summer.

Of course, a decent portion of the fanbase was skeptical that new members Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante would maintain the high bar set by the deceased Abbott brothers. But, as Pantera's position here proves, those doubts quickly melted away once all-time classics like "A New Level" started blaring through the monitors.

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photograph by Jacquelin Goldberg


TOOL didn't even play their first show of 2023 until May, and they didn't launch a bona fide tour until October, and they're still being heralded here as the second-greatest live act of the year. That's the kind of impact their shows leave.

The prog-metal titans dominated the festival circuit (Welcome to Rockville, Sonic Temple, Louder Than Life, Aftershock and Power Trip) and then hopped across North America on a trek during which they finally restored "Rosetta Stoned" to the setlist.

The 10,000 Days deep cut had long been a white whale live song for many TOOL fans — the band hadn't properly played it with vocals since 2009 — and the die-hards finally got to see the guys perform it again alongside plenty other career standouts, all while getting lost in the group's reliably psychedelic stage show. Hard to beat!

gojira joe duplantier 2023 live KEVIN WILSON 3, Kevin Wilson
photograph by Kevin Wilson

1. Gojira

Gojira didn't drop a new album in 2023 — they just toured their asses off. Shortly after their summer run with Mastodon and Lorna Shore, Revolver readers dubbed them the greatest live band right now, and that designation has carried over to this pool of voters.

It's pretty easy to see why. The French environ-metalists are famously one of the most rigorously practiced bands in all of heavy music, and now that they have a wealth of hugely popular anthems to perform in front of gigantic audiences, they're uniquely positioned to deliver the best performances possible.

Their stage show whips ass, but it's the tightness and intensity of their playing that truly makes Gojira a staggering live band to witness. They're our readers' pick for the best live band of 2023 — now for that new album!