We’re at the end of the year, and as of this writing, my show-going year is complete. 2010 was by no means a record breaker for me (It was close: I got to go to 19 this year), but it was, regardless, a truly magical year for seeing live bands perform. After a show-stopping performance from Les Savy Fav as my last show of the year, I thought it would be fun to put together, as a primer for the imminent Best Of 2010 list, the best moments in seeing bands play live.
- jj is Actually My Biggest Fan
I reported on this when it happened, but it’s obviously worth mentioning. I went to see The XX, which was a good excuse to see my favorite band of the last year(-and-a-half), jj, and it turned out that, for a band that essentially made a small name for themselves in the blogging community about being reclusive, were nice as can be. Elin, the frontwoman, hugged me after playing “Into The Light,” and Joakim, the guitarist, does the same, professes his love to me, gives me his sunglasses, and kisses me. In short, really, the best way to feel less crazy about your obsession for a band, is for that band to shower you with affection, instead of anyone else in a sold out show.
- I am Sexually Assaulted By Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav
Going to a Les Savy Fav show is like the punk rock equivalent to sitting front row at a Gallagher show: if you’re not looking to get covered in something, maybe you should have reconsidered where you’re watching. The last time I went to one of their shows was pretty intense, in that Tim Harrington crowd surfed on the top of a ladder (and not a step ladder) while still managing to sing the song they were playing. This time, Tim took the stage in 70s attire, with a wig and a large can of Carnation evaporated milk, and started saying… something about the milk. Following this, he proceeded to spit a bottle of aspirin into the crowd, fuck the face of the drunk woman next to me… and make me put my hand on his crotch, poured a bottle of water on my head, and French-kissed me. I know what you’re thinking, and no, it was totally awesome. I also got to sing the line “and their tits are tan” during “Sleepless In Silverlake,” my favorite song off of their new record, Root For Ruin. Also, if you’re wondering, Tim Harrington tastes like Budweiser.
- Stephen Malkamus: Childhood Completer
This year, I got to see Pavement, which marked yet another band off of my list of bands that I needed to see that I was obsessed with as a child (still on this list: Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, and Circle Takes The Square, who I’m holding out hope for). It wasn’t until late ’09, though, that this mark-off even became a possibility, when the band announced a set of reunion shows, one of which was here in good ol’ Portland. And so, a year after announcing a reunion, they took to the stage, and, in the parlance of our times, rocked my fucking face off. Starting with “Gold Soundz,” and ending with “Range Life,” my youth felt validated once more.
- Sufjan Stevens: Mind-Reader
Sufjan Stevens is, as you may or may not know, a flake. It took him five years to make any new music that counted as a follow-up to Illinois, or the best album ever, and when he did come back, he released a 60-minute EP for free, a month and a half before dropping The Age Of Adz, a sprawling masterpiece that ended with a 25-minute explosion of insanity. When I saw him, he played almost exclusively material from All Delighted People (the EP) and The Age Of Adz, until after the crazy-ass live performance of the aforementioned 25-minute song, “Impossible Soul.” At this point, he played one more song, and two for the encore. Playing through “Chicago,” “Concerning the UFO Sighting…,” and “Casimir Pulaski Day,” it’s as if he knew exactly what songs I wanted to hear most, and I confess, I did cry during “Casimir Pulaski Day,” which he must have also known. To be fair, if this were a list of best shows of the year, this concert would be the top, but this is not the case. Regardless: best show in my entire lifetime, so far.
- Randy of No Age is Actually a Really, Really Nice Guy
There’s not much of a story here, but it’s still pretty neat: Last weekend’s No Age show marked the very first time a musician has ever come up to me and started a conversation. He came up to me, introduced himself, started chit-chatting while signing my records, and invited me to the after-party, which I regret not going to. It was pretty rad!
With 6 shows already lined up for the next year, I’m already looking forward to seeing where the next year in live music takes me. Here’s hoping it turns out as awesome as this year did!
Stay tuned for my (likely lengthy and poorly written) End Of The Year list!