There's no single answer to the question of what makes for a good live act. Bands could bombard you with pyrotechnics, holograms and industrial-strength lighting rigs; but a lone guitarist with a song to sing and a story to tell could speak to you on a different level entirely as he regales you with his simple tales of love, death and alcoholism at an open-mic night. Similarly, the sweaty back-room of a pub can be every bit the arena for soul-stirring excellence as even the biggest of stadiums; whilst a naive band of plucky upstarts could invigorate a room with a potency of which a gnarled bunch of seasoned veterans could but dream. What makes for a good live act is, like everything to do with music, a deeply personal affair. As a result, in compiling this list I drew exclusively from my own experience. I've had the honour of seeing most of these bands; and for those who I'm yet to see I'm at least familiar with their work or their reputation. That, or I know people who have seen them. The stories they've told were in themselves enough to make me add said bands to my list of acts to see before I die; and that alone is enough to suggest to me that they're worthy of being counted amongst the greatest live acts of the 21st century. So whilst reading this list, bear in mind that it's my list. It's by no means definitive. If any bands come to mind whilst you're reading it, don't think of them as omissions. Rather, think of them as additions! Tell us about them in the comments. We'll get a list going. I'll also readily admit that the sounds, bands and genres that interest me are slightly limited in their scope. For instance, you'll find no rap in this list simply because I can't see how shouting over a backing track could possibly make for a good live experience. I'm almost certainly wrong, though, and I'd like nothing more than to be convinced otherwise in the comments. In compiling this list I've taken a lot into consideration. I suppose the main factor I've been looking for is an effort, on the part of the act, to bring something to proceedings that will ensure an unforgettable evening. This elusive quality comes in many forms. At the risk of copyright infringement, we'll refer to it as that Magical X-Factor; that little something that acts as the difference between a good gig and a great gig; between a merely good live act and an absolutely unmissable live act for the ages. And because, as far as I'm concerned, each of these bands offers something unique, the list is to be thought of as being IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER. Happy trails!