It’s finally that time, y’all and we’ll start rolling out all our end of year coverage and this year we’re starting with my top 10 gigs of the year. I saw a lot of great music this year, and practically no shitty music, which I think is a decided improvement upon 2009′s showing. 2010 brought me to shows in four states, two countries, seven cities and while my list features predominantly California bands, not one of my favorite shows of this year happened in Los Angeles. Here’s to the greatness of 2010 and the probability that 2011 will put it all to shame:
Crazy acid rain haze Friday of SXSW ended with a smoky, incendiary set that did half justice to anything Jimi Hendrix started and that’s probably the best compliment I could give. Real psychy.
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A too-small-for-them, but, perfect-for-the-gig room echoing with real, dirty, sweaty, down home blues rock with spastic keys and the most magnetic front-man I’ve seen in, well, maybe ever. Older dudes showing us young kids how to fucking do it.
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Pavement. Two hours. Three encores. Everything I wanted to hear except ‘Harness Your Hopes’. Does anything more need to be said?
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Some of LA’s best garage rippers came to Brighton to brighten (pun intended) the most horrible day of the year and cemented in my mind the fact that they get tighter and catchier every time I see them.
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Tiny bar on a beautiful San Diego night, 30 people jumping madly for some of the best pop songs of the entire year. Best Happy Birthday show of the year. Subliminal Message!
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Was a little nervous about hearing material from the 2nd album, which is definitely a grower — The Strange Boys wowed me as usual, converting me to a fan of Be Brave, and played the best material off their perfect first album. Also, this was one of the greatest dance parties I’ve ever had in my life to ‘Woe Is You And Me’.
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Gig that wins the award for furthest traveled to see. Fergus & Geronimo were a bit meh, but still have at least two excellent songs; Happy Birthday ripped through some of the most underrated, gold pop songs. Sex Beet converted the sizable crowd of their first ever US show with their noisy and fuzzy as fuck jams that refuse to leave my head. And Thee Oh Sees. Hardest working, if not best live, garage band on the planet ruled the night playing fast and furious through tons of their best.
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03 The Black Lips @ Village Underground, London, UK | October 29, 2010
Typical crazy Black Lips show featuring a rowdy moshpit, tons of shoving and about a million stage invasions causing the PA to be turned off atleast once. London’s hipsters couldn’t even manage to be a blight upon the Black Lips though, as their countrified new material was the star of the show.
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There’s not many gigs where I know nothing of the artist, and end up walking up the wrong stairwell, grinning because of the fantastic showing. tUnE-yArDs wowed Brighton with her simulatenously tender and incredibly powerful voice, altogether homegrown brilliance, and intense and utter modesty. It was moving stuff.
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Even on the coldest day of South By, the Growlers set the brick patio of Kung Fu Saloon on fire after a spectacular 5 other showings at SXSW. ‘Sea Lion Goth Blues’, ‘Underneath Our Palms Blues’, ‘Mean People Suck’, fistpumping party, ski ball and cheap ass rum and cokes made this the only 12/10 showing of the entire year, cementing the Growlers are my absolute favorite band in the world.
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