Say what you want about the actual show, but Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has seen some pretty impressive musical acts. This summer alone, the likes of Tom Waits, Yoko Ono, Maroon 5, fun., Norah Jones and more have graced the Late Night stage. The following are three of my favorite musical performances from July.
1. “Storms” (Fleetwood Mac cover) – Best Coast
Okay, let’s get it out of the way: no one – including Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino – can ever live up to Stevie Nicks. With that said, this is a noble attempt. The recorded version of this song actually manages to one-up this performance, but the impassioned swooning of Cosentino here is nothing to be scoffed at. Best Coast’s cover of “Rhiannon” will appear in the Just Tell Me That You Want Me Fleetwood Mac tribute album to be released next month.
2. “Bad Religion” – Frank Ocean
Is anyone really surprised that this made the list? Frank Ocean’s debut on network television could not have been more impressive. Singing “Bad Religion,” a moving track off his recent release Channel Orange, Ocean captured the hearts of the audience. His incredible vocal abilities are only overshadowed by the heart touching lyricism, which is all the more powerful given his recent coming out. This performance single-handedly made me purchase the album.
3. “New Noise” – Refused
Refused is back, and with a vengeance. You may not have heard from these Swedes since the Nineties (except for the occasional adamant claim that they would never reunite), but they have come back swinging on Fallon. Without losing even a hint of their edge and managing to rile up the crowd with shredding guitar and gnarly vocals, they made their TV debut with “New Noise.”