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Old 12-19-2011, 06:01 PM   #1
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Your Top Concerts of 2011

What are the best concerts you've been to this year? List a ranking of the shows you've seen. Along the way, write your favorite specific memories from each show. I usually find that most of the concert fades after time, but a few standout memories stay with you. What are those standout moments for you?

1. U2 at New Meadowlands Stadium (07/20)
2. St. Vincent at Webster Hall (11/03)
3. LCD Soundsystem at Terminal 5 (03/28)
4. Elbow at Terminal 5 (09/25)
5. The National at Beacon Theatre (12/14)
6. Astronautalis at Santos Party House (03/05 and 11/04)
7. Linkin Park at Madison Square Garden (02/04)
8. Foo Fighters at IZOD Center (09/26)
9. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax at Yankee Stadium (09/14)
10. Los Campesinos! at Bowery Ballroom (11/16)
11. Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy at Brooklyn Academy of Music (04/01)
12. Governor’s Ball at Governor’s Island (06/18)
13. Dum Dum Girls at Bowery Ballroom (03/04)

- The Achtung Baby opening of “EBTTRT”, “The Fly”, “Mysterious Ways”, and “UTEOTW”. Hearing “Zooropa” and “Hold Me Thrill Me” live. Getting “Out of Control” as the last song. Plus, by the time I had walked out of the stadium, it passed midnight and officially became my birthday. No better way to start that day!
- St. Vincent’s scream at the end of “Actor Out of Work”, the insane light show, and her stage dive during “Your Lips Are Red”.
- Shouting along to “All My Friends” and crazily dancing to “Yeah” during LCD’s three-hour extravaganza.
- Hearing the audience on the balcony harmonize with the GA crowd during “One Day Like This” and watching Elbow play “Weather to Fly” to each other towards the back of the stage.
- Matt Berninger’s scream during “Squalor Victoria” and “Available”, the chilled-out video footage of “Little Faith”, the National screwing up the beginning of “Fake Empire” and having a good laugh about it, the unplugged singalong for “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”
- Astronautalis freestyling on everything from Doctor Who to Thor to Stalking Whitney Houston’s pets and accidentally hitting my friend gently with the microphone wire in his excitement.
- Mike Shinoda rapping a bit of “A Place for My Head” during “Bleed It Out”, Linkin Park playing “Blackout” off A Thousand Suns.
- Krist Novoselic coming out to play accordion with the Foo Fighters during “These Days”, reuniting the two surviving members of Nirvana.
- The one-two punch of the Big Four together on stage playing a Motorhead song, followed by Metallica’s crazy laser show for “Battery”.
- The moment where the orchestra began playing “One-Winged Angel” and Sephiroth appeared on the backing screens.

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Old 12-19-2011, 06:50 PM   #2
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Linkin Park better than Los Campesinos? I loved Hybrid Theory and Meteroa back in the day but for realz?

Let me try and remember...

1. The National (Palais) / The Flaming Lips (Palace)
I can't split these two. The National were probably better in terms of just putting on a brilliant show that showcases not only how good their songs are, but how good they are live, but the Flaming Lips were just something else. That there is still confetti in my car (a grabbed a handful off the floor and threw it around my car) a month on should be a testament to that. Two of the best gigs I've seen, falling just behind U2 and LCD Soundsystem.
2. Big Boi (Palace)
The best hip-hop gig I've seen by such a long way it's ridiculous (and that's including Jay-Z's excellent show opening for U2. U got The Fray? lololololololololol). Felt like a great party. Songs sounded incredible, particularly with a full band.
3. Liam Finn (Corner)
Maniacal set cut short because Liam had broken a few pieces of equipment trying to get the crowd into it. One of the most committed performers you're ever likely to see.
4. TV on the Radio (Palace)
High octane-set that only ranks a bit lower due to its short length (1hour10/15/20min) and lack of slower songs.
5. DJ Shadow (Prince)
Got a cheap ticket, participated in a Q&A (asking, "if you thought hip-hop sucked in '96, what do you think of it now"), got a sick poster (which I should find and hang up!!) and my deluxe copy of Endtroducing signed. Met an awesome girl. And the gig was pretty damn good too.
10. Xzibit (Trak Lounge)
Trash. Annoyed I even had to pay $30. The night was fun with some mates, but the gig went for all of about 35 minutes. Multiply was pretty sick but beyond that dude should just stick to Pimp My Ride.
97,623,480. Aussie Hip-Hop Rap Battle (Laundry)
If you think you've seen a shit gig, you are wrong. Will never, ever forgive myself for going to this.

Harvest was, of course, incredible.

I went to other gigs I'm sure, but I'm forgetting them. Definitely keeping a record in 2012.


- Matt's scream during Squalor Victoria (got to hear that twice this year!!)
- The climax of England
- The a capella Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks
- Race for the Prize
- Every fucking second of the Lips gig, actually
- Liam Finn drumming with his brother
- Liam Finn going from straight-up indie to heavy metal and back again within a minute
- The combo of Repetition & Wolf Like Me
- I Was a Lover
- The bits DJ Shadow dropped from Endtroducing
- SpottieOttieDopalicious

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Old 12-19-2011, 07:43 PM   #3
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These would probably be my favorites in chronological order.

Destroyer - March 25 - Mohawk
Cut Copy - April 22 - Stubb's
Okkervil River - April 25 - Scoot Inn
Arcade Fire - May 3 - The Backyard
Bon Iver - September 13 - The Long Center
Kanye West - September 16 - ACL Festival
Stevie Wonder - September 17 - ACL Festival
St. Vincent - October 24 - The Moody Theater
Lykke Li - November 4 - The Moody Theater
M83 - November 5 - Funfunfunfest
Childish Gambino - November 5 - Funfunfunfest
Purity Ring - November 5 - Funfunfunfest
Flying Lotus - November 6 - Funfunfunfest
The National - December 4 - Austin Music Hall

Some choice moments:

- Cut Copy turning a terrible venue into a frantic dance party.
- Okkervil River with about 300 other people. Backyard BBQ vibe. Played the entire new record before its release. Got drunk in a lawn chair.
- The lights during "Blood Bank" at Bon Iver and how amazingly loud it was.
- All of Kanye. Every last second of it.
- Stevland walking out with an extended keytar solo and doing Stevie Wonder things.
- Looking at Annie Clark.
- Looking at Lykke Li.
- Midnight Fucking City.

Splurging for VIP at Funfunfunfest definitely elevated it to weekend of the year along with my Las Vegas trip.

Here is what I can remember of the other bands I saw this year, mostly so I can dig this post up years on and reminisce:

Little Dragon - January 30 - The Parish
Broken Social Scene - February 18 - La Zona Rosa
Warpaint - April 9 - La Zona Rosa
The Kills - April 20 - La Zona Rosa
Childish Gambino - May 11 - Emo's
Coldplay - September 15 - The Moody Theater
ACL Festival - September 16-18
Arcade Fire
Fleet Foxes
Bright Eyes
Cut Copy
TV on the Radio
Big Boi
Iron & Wine
Broken Social Scene
James Blake
Wild Beasts
Washed Out - October 17 - Mohawk
Funfunfunfest November 4-6
Cloud Nothings
Okkervil River
Car Stereo Wars
Big Freedia
Public Enemy
Keep Shelly in Athens
The Joy Formidable
Major Lazer
Asobi Seksu
Mates of State
Wilco - December 1 - The Moody Theater

Plus tons of stuff during SXSW and plenty I forgot at ACL and FFF.
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:51 PM   #4
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Old 12-19-2011, 08:13 PM   #5
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1) U2 - Miami - Sun Life Stadium (29 June)
First-ever U2 show, best concert I've ever seen so far. Everything about this show was perfect. The set-list, The Claw and it's mindblowing lightshows, the half-shitty and half-amazing Miami crowd, seeing the show with my Dad. Just incredible. I wish I could go back and see the show over and over again.

Highlights - The whole show. The intro of Space Oddity leading into the Achtung Baby opening, 'Zooropa' (fucking epic!), 'Where The Streets Have No Name' (no words to describe how I felt during the song and see the crowd go bonkers when the spire lit up), and the whole second encore ('Hold Me, Thrill Me', 'With or Without You' and 'Moment of Surrender')

2) Maná - San Juan - Coliseo de Puerto Rico (16 June)
I hadn't become a fan of their music until the past few years. They played more hits than the new material from the new album, except one song I really wanted to hear, but wow. What an amazing show. The stage was terribly great as well, full of lights and video screens.

3) Shakira - San Juan - Coliseo de Puerto Rico (15 October)
I saw Shakira live back in 2003, but I hardly remember that concert. After being asked to go, I went and thought it was a great show. The stage wasn't that impressive, though there were plenty of lights, one huge LED screen, and a walkway leading to a B-stage. It was short as well - she started close to 10 PM and only lasted close to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

4) Ozzy Osbourne - San Juan - Coliseo de Puerto Rico (26 February)
I had gone to Ozzy's show not knowing any of his material (except very few songs). The stage looked like a festival stage (few lights and a black curtain in the back), but the crowd was amazing and his energy was great as well. Only drawback was that he played for a little over 1 hour (with a 10-15 minute guitar and drum solo segment). $150 for a lower bowl ticket was a little too overpriced.

5) Enrique Iglesias - San Juan - Coliseo de Puerto Rico (29 February)
My least favorite show of 2011 - and it was the first concert on my list that year. It was pretty good, mostly fun, but I'm not a fan of Enrique Iglesias, but it was just to accompany my sister. The stage was, unlike Ozzy, full of lights, had multiple walkways, and small video screens.

So, in the most part, it was a great year. I seriously hope I get to see more next year, as going to concerts seems to be one of my favorite things to do now.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
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1) U2 at Anaheim Stadium 6/18/11
2) Foo Fighters at The Dragonfly 2/4/11
3) Arcade Fire at the Ukranian Culture Center 2/11/11
4) Prince at the Forum 4/30/11
5) Elbow at the Greek Theater 10/1/11
6) Rage Against the Machine at the LA Coliseum 7/30/11
7) The Airborne Toxic Event The Music Box4/28/11
8) The Kills at the Fox Theater 5/14/11
9) The Clinton Foundation Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl 10/15/11
10)The Joy Formidable at the El Rey 9/14/11

- So yeah Anaheim 2 was mindblowingly awesome. I mean, the first half of that set was just amazing and the band was great that night.
- My first ever show on the rail, well the venue was so small there was NO rail, i rested my arms on Dave's monitor. Foos are great live and seeing them in that small of a venue has spoiled me for life.
- Can't believe I actually got into the Arcade Fire show and it was as good as I thought it would be. They just play with so much joy.
- I spent 25 to see one of the most fun shows I've ever seen. It was the best LA crowd I've ever seen. The entire forum danced and Prince was just so mindblowingly good. Also, bonus Gwen Stefani singing and a great cover of Whole Lotta Love with Nikka Costa.
- Another first show. And I now have a crush on Guy Garvey. His voice is like velvet and he has the best between song banter.
- Rage at the Coliseum. Enough Said.
- I didn't know what to expect here and fell in love. They are such talented musicians and I can't believe they aren't bigger than they are.
- Alison Mosshart is a hell of a frontwoman.
- Yeah Bono, Edge, GAGA, Juanes, and Stevie Freaking Wonder! Oh and they randomly pull out A Man and a Woman, Staring at the Sun and a beautiful arrangement of One. Great show.
- I can't wait to see them when they have more material. They have great potential and were wicked fun.
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Imperor View Post
Midnight Fucking City.
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:39 PM   #8
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Trumpy, you can do stupid things! /MST3K

I only went to two shows this year, but they both were awesome.

1. U2 at Rice-Eccles Stadium (5/24)
2. The Decemberists at Pioneer Park (Sometime in...I wanna say August)
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:35 AM   #9
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I tried to get this down to a top ten, but it's going to have to be a top 15 (of about 75). Still a couple of shows to go but this list is fairly solid. I suppose Sleepmakeswaves on Friday may have a shot of breaking into this top 15:

1. Pinback at the Corner Hotel, Richmond on 21 August
- The standout moment has to be Slopsy and I singing the chorus of Fortress with Rob Crow. Also, the amazing ending of Bouquet that has totally ruined the studio version for me.

2. Alcest at the John Curtin Hotel, Carlton on 27 October
- How fucking HUGE Solar Song became at this gig. And chatting with Neige at the end.

3. Don McGlashan at the Northcote Social Club, Northcote on 30 July
- The crowd coaxing him into playing There Is No Depression In New Zealand by his former band Blam Blam Blam as an encore. I should point out that this gig was just Don, his guitar, and his euphonium, while in the Blams, he played drums. Yet he pulled it off flawlessly.

4. Explosions In The Sky at the King's Arms, Auckland on 16 December
- The abso-fucking-lutely massive climax of The Only Moment We Were Alone. Holy fucking god.

5. Russian Circles, four concerts in Melbourne between 7 and 19 September
- I can't even pick a single concert, just the whole experience of a beloved band who I never thought would come to Australia suddenly turning up and playing four shows around my city. So many memories - probably the best musical memory is the first notes of Malko at the Gershwin Room gig in St Kilda, but the most cherished memories are of just how friendly and generous the band were and how keen they were to hang out with their fans every night.

6. Alpine at the Corner Hotel, Richmond on 25 February
- The band throwing everything into Heartlove. Lou and Phoebe just about threw themselves off stage.

7. The Subliminals and The Clean at San Francisco Bath House, Wellington on 25 November
- Much as I love The Clean and much as it was truly awesome when they played Thumbs Off, it was co-headliners Subliminals who stole the show with a blistering set. The highlight was a truly intense version of Uh-Oh.

8. Warpaint at the Northcote Social Club, Northcote on 9 February
- I walked in a casual fan and walked out utterly captivated by their stage presence, pulsating live bass, and how good the songs from Exquisite Corpse were.

9. Kyuss at the Tivoli, Brisbane on 6 May
- Whitewater. 50 Million Year Trip. That's all I have to say.

10. The Bats at the King's Arms, Auckland on 19 November
- My Bats highlight for the year was actually at their East Brunswick Club gig on 14 October when they did my favourite song, Time To Get Ready. But overall, this was the better gig - the mixing was outstanding, Smoking Her Wings and I Go Wild were huge surprises, goddamn what a great version of Boogey Man, and Paul Kean's terrible sense of humour and random stories were just wonderful (to the point of Kaye Woodward revoking his microphone privileges).

11. The Laurels supporting Swervedriver at the Corner Hotel on 19 February
- They upstaged Swervedriver with a thunderous and frantic shoegaze/noise rock set. One of the guitarists was just all over the place, throwing himself at every note. Felt like the passing of the baton from the old to the new generation of shoegaze.

12. Neon Indian at the Toff In Town, Melbourne on 3 January
- Goddamn was Ephemeral Artery an intense way to end the main set. Also, bonus points for having Kyü as the support act; they're amazing live.

13. The Renderers at the Old Bar, Fitzroy on 15 April
- Partly for their awesome set, culminating in Brian Crook assaulting his guitar first with the mic stand and then with a stone, and partly for the unforgettable moment in support band Panel of Judges' set when the venue nearly burned down. One of the amps caught fire, and if it had been extinguished only a few seconds later, the curtain at the back of the room would've gone up and I'm not sure if I'd be posting today!

14. Liam Finn at the Corner Hotel, Richmond on 19 August
- Liam getting drunk, losing his mind, engaging in a drum duel with his brother, and then breaking half their gear was pretty insane.

15. "Monday Night Mass" free gigs at Northcote Social Club, Northcote, June to December
- For all the good ones anyway (hey Mad Nanna, you fucking blow). This series of gigs showcasing new and underground Melbourne bands has been a defining part of 2011 in music for me. Special memories: Getting absolutely wasted with djerdap and Slopsy during Horse MacGyver's witch house/dark ambient set; Parking Lot Experiments being great in their bizarre, musically inept way; Gruntbucket somehow clearing the room despite being awesome; Scul Hazzards' chick on bass exuding coolness; Pneumatic Slaughter's drummer invading the stage during Shit Weather's set; No Anchor's riveting set of sludge and doom; and Tax and True Radical Miracle absolutely killing it last night at the last Monday Night Mass of the year. And, of course, the cheap chicken parmas. Om nom nom.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:57 AM   #10
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1. Elbow at the Palace Theatre/Pulp at the Festival Hall
I just couldn't pick between these two equally awesome concerts. The highlight of Pulp was easily Common People - I couldn't believe that I was actually experiencing it live - and Jarvis Cocker's onstage antics and British eccentricity. The highlight of Elbow was Guy Garvey's warm, natural banter with the crowd and One Day Like This, which surely has to be one of the greatest joyful concert closers ever.

2. Grinderman at The Palace
Nick Cave is always awesome, but at this show he was probably in the best mood I've ever seen him at a gig and watching him a mere metre away was incredible (and ok, a bit unnerving in a good way). And the whole band was on fire: dirty, mean and rocking.

3. Imelda May at Prince Bandroom
She was one of the most infectious and vibrant performers I've seen. My usual dancing style at gigs is "turn a little to the left, turn a little to the right", but I danced myself silly at this show, especially to Johnny Got a Boom-Boom.

4. Martha Wainwright at Melbourne Recital Centre
Martha's voice + French =

5. Michael Buble at Rod Laver Arena
I loved the show, but for me the most memorable moment of the night was watching the Buble fans walk to and from the venue alongside the fans of Iron Maiden who were playing at Hisense Arena on the same night. You couldn't think of greater contrast
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:24 AM   #11
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I love that you went to 75 gigs Ax. That's awesome. You are a true Melbournian. Even if you don't shove coke up your ass and go to Revolver at 3pm on Sunday.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:36 AM   #12
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My favourite concert was Soofyan Stevens and my favourite moment was when he played Impossible Soul and the audience laughed when he did the autotone bit

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