In many cases, the ultimate test for a band is how you perform in a live setting. Sounding great on a record is a challenge in itself, but when it's just you, your bandmates and no studio magic to hide your imperfections, the core of your band is exposed every night. The nominees in the 3rd Annual Loudwire Music Awards for Best Live Act of 2013 bring their A-game night in and night out.

In 2013, these 10 nominees hit the road hard and served fans with unforgettable live experiences. From metal legends to rock upstarts and everything in between, these are the nominees for Best Live Act of 2013. Vote for your favorite in the poll below!

  • Metal Blade
    Metal Blade

    Between the Buried and Me

    Between the Buried and Me conjure a true live experience while onstage. This year, the progressive metal band played all 72 minutes of 'The Parallax II: Future Sequence' live without stopping, creating an ultra-dense, Pink Floyd-like feel. BTBAM also began adding a visual element to their shows this year, telling the 'Parallax' story through images projected onto the stage.

  • Loma Vista
    Loma Vista

    Ghost B.C.

    Swedish metal cult Ghost B.C. have conducted rituals around the world, leaving followers buzzing with the divinity of Satanic truth. Bringing with them a chapel backdrop (and even a confessional booth at times), Ghost B.C. create an immersive experience while performing the best tracks from their two full-length albums. Ghost is perhaps the fastest-growing metal band around today, and the live show is a huge reason why.

  • Metal Blade
    Metal Blade


    There is nothing, and probably never will be, anything like a GWAR show. Warmonger aliens play metal while fighting off monsters, killing off celebrities and public figures while the blood and guts of murder spray upon the crowd. GWAR are a hard-touring band, so if you're in anywhere in the world, there's no excuse to miss GWAR live.

  • Kathy Flynn,
    Kathy Flynn,


    The 2013 Grammy Award winners of Halestorm seem to always be on the road and the energy of their shows provides a solid live experience. Led by sister and brother team Lzzy and Arejay Hale, power and confidence radiate from Halestorm while the group is onstage.

  • EMI

    Iron Maiden

    Epic themes, giant robotic Eddies, fire, costumes and brilliant stage presence are just some of the dynamics of an Iron Maiden show. The 2013 leg of the 'Maiden England' tour hit five continents heavy with material from the 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' album. Iron Maiden is truly an ageless band, delivering one of the most powerful and energetic live shows in metal.

  • Prospect Park
    Prospect Park


    With the return of Brian 'Head' Welch, Korn fans raced to venues worldwide to see the guitarist play with his brothers once again. The heavy hitting nu-metal act know how to energize a crowd, creating a live experience more intense than most, but with Head back in the fold, fans went even more mental.

  • Frazer Harrison, Getty Images
    Frazer Harrison, Getty Images


    'Metallica Through the Never' is one of the most impressive live metal shows ever caught on film. That along with the band's 'Orion Music + More' performances, their night at the Apollo, the Antarctic 'Freeze 'Em All' gig and multiple shows held on all seven continents, Metallica easily grab a nomination for Best Live Metal Act of 2013.

  • Rick Fagan
    Rick Fagan

    Rob Zombie

    The mind of Rob Zombie has always been fiercely visual. The hard rock / industrial legend's music videos have always painted a visual soundscape of what he's trying to convey, and perhaps even more affective than his videos, Zombie does the same onstage. Rob Zombie's live show is a living, breathing haunted house.

  • Universal

    Steel Panther

    Steel Panther won Best Live Act last year at the Loudwire Music Awards, so the thawed-out '80s metallers may become the first band to secure back-to-back victories. On top of the comedic experience, each Steel Panther member is actually very talented musically. You'll have the time of your life at a Steel Panther show, watching the band perform hilarious heavy metal tracks while boobs are flashed from all directions.

  • Nuclear Blast
    Nuclear Blast


    Some bands just melt your face in a live setting. Testament sound great on tape, but in person, the thrash legends are even more captivating. You won't find a much tighter band than Testament, which is comprised of Chuck Billy, Alex Skolnick, Eric Peterson, Greg Christian and Gene Hoglan. How's that for a lineup? Testament crushed fans on the 'Dark Roots of Thrash' tour with Overkill this year, also supporting Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage later in 2013.

More From Loudwire