My only concession to the terrible, ubiquitous trend of Best-of lists will be the following summation of my best live gigs of 2010. And, in a huge feat of rebellion, I have chosen 6 of the best, rather than the usual 5, 10, 25 or 100 Best-of’s. Yes, I’m really walking on the wild side these days!
1. Sheila She Loves You, La Catrina – A tiny Mexican bar, packed to the rafters and with queues of people waiting outside. In amongst the skulls, tequila and Frida Kahlo‘s eyebrows, Sheila She Loves You rocked the place apart with a Jesus complex, lots of hair, and enough heart, soul and passion to sink a battleship. Pure, beautiful pop, tending towards the dark side at the end as they debuted some new material – a taste of things to come. There were tears. Missed the last train home, all around eventful evening.
2. Placebo – A tie between Annecy Arcadium and Zurich Openair Festival. The gorgeousity of Mr Molko and co. was only heightened by standing outside in the pouring rain for hours and hours at Annecy. Torrential rain continued to be a theme at Zurich Openair, where even the notoriously taciturn Molko was moved to comment on our survival (swimming?) skills. Their polished professionalism and forceful, potent dark glam rock made me see them 5 times during the Battle For The Sun tour. Nothing to do with The Molko’s pretty, of course…oh no.
3. The National, Royal Albert Hall – Matt Berninger’s voice could launch a thousand ships – it sends shivers up my spine everytime he opens his glorious mouth. It was the ultimate experience to see them in this most beautiful of venues. The show ended with a very drunk Berninger literally climbing the walls and stalls of the theatre.
5. The xx, Zurich Openair – Brooding guitar, bowel-shaking bass, spotlights and wreaths of atmospheric mist. The weight of Romy and Oliver’s measured, deliberate silences was deadly. The set was too short by far – I wanted it to go on all night. Alas, it was not to be.
6. Yeasayer + Hush Hush, Exil – I went to the gig a Yeasayer novice, and came away converted. I admit to getting a little fangirly over Anand Wilder, who was standing not more than a foot away. The sheer force of the band’s presence threatened to lift the lid off the tiny venue. Oh, and support act Hush Hush was unforgettable with his scenes of bloody cunnilingus.
So there you have it. It’s been a year of amazing gigs and experiences. Can’t wait til 2011 to do the whole shebang all over again.