Monday, December 20, 2010

2010: The Best Concerts I Attended

By my count I went to 32 concerts in 2010, not including variety shows like Conan's tour.  But these were the best, either musically, aesthetically, or comically.  Let's start with some honorable mentions:

Morning Benders at the Music Box - they look like they're 15, but they play like they've been doing it for decades.  Highlight: a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams"

Lissie at the Troubadour - one of my favorite voices was a joy to see live; Highlight: anything from her Why You Runnin' EP

Pavement, Sonic Youth and No Age at the Hollywood Bowl - the big Pavement reunion was the raison d'etre, and our seats were great...but I've seen all these bands in smaller venues.  Still, it was fun for a trip down memory lane. Highlight: Pavement's "Summer Babe"

The Top Ten:

10. Local Natives at the Music Box - hipster central - moustaches, skinny jeans, trendy haircuts - and that was just on stage.  Still, these guys can play. Highlight: "Sun Hands"

9. Sufjan Stevens at the Wiltern - Still not sure how I feel about the new album, and this was by far the goofiest show I've been to, but it was a lot of fun.  Highlight: his story about the artist that inspired the artwork and much of his new LP

8. Faith No More at the Palladium - I'd been waiting almost 20 years for this, and it was pretty much worth it. Mike Patton is an amazing frontman. Highlight: opening the show with a faithful cover of Peaches & Herb's "Reunited"

7. Foreign Born at the Echo - I must not have purchased their Person to Person LP in time to make my favorite records of 2009 list, but it would be on there now. Highlight: "Vacationing People"

6. Greg Dulli at the Troubadour - this was my second time seeing Dulli at the Troub in the last couple years (the first was with Mark Lanegan), but this was surprisingly the better show.  Not only did Lanegan come out for a song, but Afghan Whigs' bassist John Curley played on a few of their band's songs.  Highlight: any of the Whigs' songs

5. Erykah Badu at the El Rey - I already blogged about this show, and it ended up as one of my favorites of 2010. Highlight: Erykah walking around the crowd before the show taking pics with her extremely adoring fans

4. Dirty Projectors at the Walt Disney Concert Hall - this was my fourth DP show in about a year and a half, and it was the biggest. Not only did the LA Phil open the show, but the band played their entire Getty Address LP with an orchestra (not the LA Phil). Highlight: I wasn't very familiar with this album at the time, so the entire show was a surprise

3. Joanna Newsom at the Orpheum - This was probably my most anticipated show of the year, and it was phenomenal. Perfect venue and I could have listened to her for hours. As a bonus, Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes opened.  Highlight: "Have One on Me"

2. Belle & Sebastian at the Palladium - this is high on the list not only because Belle & Sebastian were phenomenal as always, but Jenny & Johnny opened the show. Highlight: when the band brought up about 8 attendees to dance on stage

1. Jon Brion at Largo - I can't figure out whether I saw him 3 or 4 times, but Jon Brion always delivers. By far the most interesting show you'll ever see, and the quality varies from really good to mind-blowing - you can't leave disappointed. Highlight: Greg Behrendt opened one show with about 10 minutes of standup, a big portion of which was about meeting Van Halen. Brion then came out and started playing "Jump" or "Panama" (can't remember which) on the keyboards

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