Top Shows of 2010: Part 3 Readers’ Choice
We would like to thank all of the musicians, photographers, writers, IWTAS team members and readers who helped make these posts possible. We look forward to seeing even more of you at shows this year.
1. Deer Tick / Titus Andronicus / Theodore / Pokey LaFarge @ The Wedge – March 14th: Chris Bay really said everything that needed to be said about this show. One of the most memorable of a decade, possibly a lifetime, certainly not just a year.
2. Justin Townes Earle @ Old Rock House – Sept. 15th: The show right before JTE caused a ruckus and landed himself in rehab, and it was a great one. He was witty, sentimental and at times vulgar. The show was packed with tunes and I don’t think anyone left disappointed.
3. Reverend Horton Heat, Split Lip Rayfield & The Legendary Shack Shakers @ The Bluenote, Columbia, MO – November 12th: The Legendary Shack Shakers created more energy in a sparsely crowded room to start the night than I thought possible and Reverend Horton Heat celebrated 20 years of making music, giving the audience a treat by playing chronologically a couple of tunes from every album. The whole place was dancing and the show went on until the wee hours of the morning.
Others worthy of mention:
Langhorne Slim @ Off Broadway – Feb. 12th
Evan Dando @ Old Rock House – Feb. 16th
Something Corporate @ The Pageant – Aug. 4th
Hayes Carll @ The Duck Room – Sept. 10th
3. Tapes n’ Tapes – The Firebird – Late August I was planning on buying tickets to this show until we (Art Majors) got an email asking us to play it. This was second time seeing Tapes n’ Tapes. My wife, Betsy, and I had caught them in 2007 at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville, TN playing with a now defunct Harlem Shakes. That night they were playing new material that ended up on Walk It Off (2008 XL) as well as staples from The Loon (2007). The August show was no different – playing on one the hottest nights of the summer (with no A/C – believe me it was hot on that stage) they delivered and then some. Not only was the set amazing, but the guys were fantastic as well. All in all a great show!
2. The Walkmen – MoJo’s – Late Jan/Early Feb (?)
The Walkmen are one of my favorite bands and I have seen them at least a half dozen times. And while the show they played this past October at Off Broadway w/Japandroids was good it paled in comparison to the show at MoJo’s w/Jumbling Towers (another favorite band). Here I got to hear some of Lisbon for the first time as well as a few tracks off of Jumbling Towers’ Gilberta. Well worth the 1.5 hour drive on a Sunday night.
1. Guided by Voices – Newport, KY/Columbus, OH – Mid October
My wife re-turned me on to Guided by Voices when we first started dating; unfortunately this was after GbV had broken up. I have had the chance to see Bob Pollard perform (himself, Boston Spaceships, Milko Waif, etc), but never fronting GbV. So, when it was announced that GbV was going to reunite the “classic lineup” for a Matador reunion show and only play songs off of Vampire on Titus, Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, Under the Bushes Under the Stars, etc – it was only a matter of time that a tour would follow. And when the schedule was announced, it was only a question of which cities and how many. We decided on the “hometown” shows of Newport & Columbus (GbV are from Dayton) and were not in the least bit disappointed. Friday night’s show was the old GbV in “classic” form – the band tearing through 30 odd songs over 2.5 hours, while Pollard got blindingly drunk on stage while not faltering with the lyrics at all. Saturday was a bit (very slightly) more subdued, but still super intense and the set had changed enough to make it feel like a totally different show. What made Saturday night’s show even more fun was partying with the gang from Times New Viking (Art Majors had played with them on the Thursday night before at the Billiken Club). Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! I am first lieutenant to you, I am Johnny Appleseed.
P.S. We’d love to see you guys out at our next show, Jan 30th @ The Firebird w/California Wives & Santah
Stephanie Tolle is the best and runs the blog, Iron Stef and is a member of the Arch Rival Roller Girls.
Langhorne Slim, February 12, Off Broadway I originally saw Langhorne Slim in 2009 when he opened up for Josh Ritter (also highly recommend Josh… great songs, great performer, always smiling!) I was smitten by his coveralls and upbeat, slightly rowdy… ummm.. folk-punk style. Yeah, folk-punk is the best way I can think of to describe mister Slim. A very energetic show. I danced and grinned like a fool.
Mumford & Sons June 15, Off Broadway Luckily I have a friend who was in-the-know enough to tell me about these guys and make me get my ticket a couple months in advance, because it sold out!! I knew nothing about them when I went, but once the show was over, I was completely in love with them. Mumford & Son’s CD is THE most listened-to album in my car dash in 2010 for sure. The show was awe-inspiring. Lead singer Marcus Mumford has a certain moody intensity that makes me drool a little. The songs are like roller-coasters… quiet then raucous. The audience could not get enough.
Quintron & Miss Pussycat, June 22, Firebird I wasn’t sure what to expect when my friend invited me to this show. She said there were puppets involved? And electronic music? Then the opening band came on and I got worried. The guitarist’s wiener was hanging out of his short shorts, and the lead mumbler was dressed as a mustard bottle… turns out there was nothing under that costume either. So much wiener, so little enjoyable music. But, Quintron did not disappoint. Amazing show.
Miss Pussycat’s puppet show was charming, funny, and weird. It revolved around an elephant and a tiger making “Magic Pizza” which is illegal, apparently. After the puppet show, Quintron played super-fun crazy dance music with his keyboard/drum machine set up while Miss Pussycat (yes, they are married), played the maracas (which matched her dress!) and sang. The crowd, including me, loved them. Sweaty, silly fun.
Jason Robinson is a married 29-year-old father of twins, KDHX DJ/Host (The Mixtape which runs Tuesdays 3-5am), lead singer for St. Louis indie rock band The Orbz, amateur chef, old-school nerd and an avowed Twitter obsessive.
Tegan and Sara / Steel Train / Holly Miranda at The Pageant I bought these tickets before our babies were born, so that my wife and I could enjoy a night out without them when they were 2 months old. And these three bands did not disappoint. Holly Miranda started things off with pretty, brittle pop songs that had almost orchestral movements to them. Steel Train brought the Springsteen pop, with more polish and twang than is usual for fans of The Boss. But it was twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quinn who stole the show. Their witty banter, gorgeous pop melodies and no-holds-barred setlist made the night both seem to last forever and be over too soon.
Mr. Gnome / Loza / The Orbz at The Firebird Local band Loza doesn’t get enough credit for what it does. These ex-Ghost in Light and Pave The Rocket vets create beautiful, trembling ambiance and slow building songs that reach out of pockets of gloom. Cleveland’s Mr. Gnome is a two-person group, but they sound like a shoegazey army when they get on stage. Songs can go from beautiful to brutal in the span of a minute, the volume is always cranked to MAX and their sets barely let you up for air. It may sound exhausting to listen to, and it sort of is, but that’s entirely the point.
The Entrance Band / Troubadour Dali / The Orbz at The Firebird
Troubadour Dali put out the best shoegaze album to come out of St. Louis last year. And they weren’t even trying to. They were going for psychedelic pop, which they also do well, but the album’s atmospheric tunes translate to more ethereal sounds when played in a live setting. Los Angelinos The Entrance Band (including ex-Perfect Circle bassist Paz) sound pretty much the same as they do on their self-titled record. Which is not a complaint. Their blues-riffin’, groove-heavy old-school psych-influenced rock’n'roll is pretty much perfect as is.
Favorite shows (in no particular order):
Loufest- Perfect weather, reasonably priced food and excellent music made for wonderful new music tradition in St. Louis. The concert could stand to have a bit more diversity but a great start so far.
Halloween Hootenanny at Off Broadway- The Monads went out with a bang during this concert! The high energy and fun vibe made this a night to remember.
Beth Bombara’s Album Release Concert at Off Broadway- The several audience members breaking out in dance, Kit and Beth’s personable approach on stage were among other best moments. Also Beth Bombara’s performance of “Winter Blues” gave me chills. Great times my friends…great times.
Betsy Moyer is an avid online music enthusiast, representing the ever-influential KCRW through its social media outlets, as well as writing for the popular new music blog called the Audio Muffin! She mostly blisses out to electro-pop and Americana. If you don’t mind the KCRW bent, and are into exciting new music discovery, follow her on Twitter.
The Antlers, w/ Phantogram opening Troubador, April 30, 2010
Perhaps you’ve experienced this too!? That rush of nervous amazement – when an opening band catches you so off guard that you fear the act you came to see will not be able to top it. This is exactly what Phantogram did in the crowded room at the Troubador. However, the Antlers did not fail to follow up with one of the most moving performances I’ve ever been witness to. Moments where heady storylines flooded my nervous system were backed with a pounding bass that replaced the beat of my own stupid heart. It was hard to readjust to back to reality after that show.
The Books Henry Fonda Music Box, Dec 2, 2010
This show was right up my alley at this point in my life in that it was quiet, intelligent and full of semi-snobbish, informed music geekery. Profound, to begin with, the songs of The Books were accompanied by the breadth of samples and electronic sounds in video form, taking main stage above the 3 men that played their stringed insturments below.
Home Video Central Social and Pleasure Club, Nov 12, 2010
I caught this band the same exact day that I heard their new album, The Automatic Process for the first time. I found myself immediately pondering the full sound that came from such a small setup. It is a minimalist electronic sound, packing some move-inspiring beats and great percussive play on the bass line. The vocals are an ethereal jaunt matched perfectly with vintage projections of cityscapes, airplanes and runways, creating an atmosphere, so that the music came to feel more like an experience for the senses. It seemed clear to me that the man behind the keys, David Gross, was driving the stage. Not that lead guitar and vocalist Collin Ruffino isn’t a presence in his own right – he is, but for the music nerd in me – I just wanted to plant myself right behind David Gross and watch his every move. I wanted to know where the live drummer departed from the Glitchy Quantitized Jam Packs, and why he chose to pick up the bass guitar on some songs and let the computer do the talking in others.
Sufjan Stevens Wiltern, October 23, 2010
I feel pretty certain that my dear Frank is going to cover this adequately… but let it be known – it was a life changing experience, akin only to what I must imagine my father feels when he is in church.
hot dog the rapper is a rapper, but not a hot dog. He works in the genealogy and employment fields, and plays in the whiskey and marijuana verticals. Someday you’ll see his first album released exclusively on I Went To A Show.
Miike Snow at the El Rey
“I’d seen them at a small club in San Francisco, but I hadn’t seen their full stage show. The El Rey danced that night, real hard.”
Jamie Lidell at the Echoplex
“We had the best seats in the house, and Lidell brought the energy.”
Vokab Company and Hoodie Allen at the Roxy (On the Rox)
“We were there to see Hoodie Allen’s first show in LA, and it was awesome. But the surprise of the night was Vokab Company, who is still getting a lot of play in my iTunes