I like lists – 2010 Gigs

I like lists a lot.  Lists are useful.  Lists are no-nonsense.  Lists are all round good solid blokes.

Now that I finally have access to the big ol’ internet at home – I’ve been catching up on some lists.  Lists such as “Best albums of 2010″, “Best Music Videos of 2010″, “Best Singles of 2010″, “Worst Album Covers of 2010″, and “Best Albums of the Decade”.  Some of those lists served as a basis for additions to one of my own lists – “Music to Download – Legally, Of Course, From Websites Where I Pay Retail Prices”.  In addition to my lists “Movies to Download – Legally, Of Course, From Valid Online Entertainment Services” and “Television Series to Download, Not Sure Of The Legality” – this resulted in some rather solid usage of my internet connection over the last week.  It turned out I already had all but 3 of the top 50 albums of the decade – either due to my exceedingly good taste in music, or that each year I check the top albums of the year list and get all of them.  Anyway – I have a 40Gb limit of broadband usage per month.  I can’t check just now how much I’ve used in the last week – but I’m pretty sure it’s well over 40Gb.

And now to produce a list of my own: The Gigs of 2010, with some awards, in an order which doesn’t reflect anything except maybe chronological order?:

  • Don McGlashan – Nice relaxed show with a kiwi legend.  He put on a really good show too, chatting, joking, etc – and showing how talented he really is.  Using some kind of loopback device – he’d record something right in front of us, recording it, and setting it to continuously loop – thereby creating his own backing music on the fly, as if he had an entire band.  Good gig.
  • The Herbaliser – Coolest Venue – Didn’t really know what to expect.  Hadn’t listened to much Herbaliser beforehand.  It was at Koko – which is a very very cool venue.  And, yep – the gig itself was pretty sweet too.  Very cool funky music, and they had special guests Twin Peaks with them, which turned a lot of the gig into a much more hop-hip-ish type deal – which worked quite well for breaking up the long jazzy jams.
  • The Black Seeds – Best Kiwi Accent – The award isn’t for Barnaby or any of the band – but rather a member of the crowd.  The gig was good – once again we met up with Barnaby before the gig, and had a couple of drinks with him.  Gig was good, but the real highlight came afterwards.  After umm-ing and ahh-ing – I declined the ‘afterparty’ – and instead followed some others to get a quick meal and head home.  And then – a good solid kiwi girl – we all know the type – thickest kiwi accent I’ve ever heard – wearing a Crazy Horses t-shirt, talking about another girl in the concert who had been quite obviously heavily intoxicated.  Direct quote: “Oh, she was munted as bro.”  In a pure thick kiwi accent… classic.  Made my night.
  • The Wu Tang Clan – Worst Gig – I’d really been looking forward to this one.  With a couple of really good Wu-Tang albums out this year – this was before Apollo Kids, but after Wu-Massacre – I was secretly hoping that some of the Wu-Massacre songs might make an appearance.  As it was, I don’t think I would have even noticed.  I couldn’t recognise a single song – due to too much bass, and just overall sound quality.  Checking some of the youtube videos though – I’m wondering if we were just in a bad spot.  Anyway – was worth going, just so I could sip on red wine while bouncing to the Clan.  Protect ya neck, y’all.
  • Secret Cinema – Most Immersive Cinema Experience – Not strictly speaking a ‘gig’, I suppose – rather than going to watch a movie.  But – gotta include it in the list – because it was a very very cool experience.  And list’s are cool with it, yeah?  So yeah – Secret Cinema – very sweet idea, and execution.  Am definitely up for some more of that.
  • Modest Mouse – Very very good gig – although there wasn’t anything ‘special’ about the visuals – ie flashing lights, etc – it was just done really really well, with lights co-ordinated with music, etc.  And excellent sound quality – and just the right mixture of playing the songs really well with a little bit of improvisation.  Sweet gig.
  • King Kapisi – Best Motivational Speech – May actually have been a smaller gig than Don McGlashan – but I’m making this up as I go, so I’ll leave it.  Anyway – sweet gig.  Champagne & King Kaps.  And somehow, at the end of the night, I ended up standing next to Kapisi at the urinal (although I didn’t realise it was him for quite some time) – and he was feeling rather talkative.  I suspect somebody had stepped up to the plate after he’d made a couple of references to drugs during his set.  Anyway – he was very talky, very happy – and we started conversing – continuing out into the main bar, where everybody else was being kicked out.  He talked my ear off for about half an hour – eventually teaching me that I should really “big myself up” more – and forcing me to admit “I run that shit”.  And referring to himself in the 3rd person a fair bit – which was even more disconcerting as he used his real name.  Yeah Bill – I run that shit.
  • Grinderman – Best Gig – It’s a pretty close-run thing, but I reckon this was the gig of the year.  Great music, performed by the most energetic manic frenzied frontman I’ve ever seen.  Nick Cave was a lunatic.  I actually started feeling sorry for the guys who had to sneak onto stage every 5 seconds to untangle his mic cord, or upright a toppled mic stand, or whatever.  And after the gig, we ended up going to the afterparty – where I shook his hand and told him that he’d done a good gig.  Just in case he didn’t know.
  • Shapeshifter – Very good.  Pat yourself on the back boys.    With Tiki Taane fiddling the knobs, and some Shihad covers thrown in – all good.  Chur chur.
  • Cowboy Junkies – Very small, intimate show in a church.  Which suited it really well.  Margo talked constantly between songs, telling stories about backgrounds to songs, growing up, etc.  All of which added to the intimate setting really really well.  No drinky-drinkies in the church, of course – but a quick whiskey in the tea-room at the halftime break, and it was all good.
  • The National – Possibly my most anticipated gig (although Wu-Tang would run it close).  Producing 3 of the best albums of the last decade – I had really high hopes.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  We had seats in the circle, but that was all good – got to sit and just watch the gig, rather than fighting to find a decent spot.  And it was a really really good set.  Again – nothing fancy or flashy – just really really REALLY good music, played well, and with enough variations from the studio versions for you to know that it was live music.    A fully acoustic playing of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks was sweet, as was a stagedive into the crowd, and, well… just awesome music.  Except not my favourite song, and no extra special guests – like they apparently did on every other night during their tenure.  Grrr.   I’m a festival, I’m a parade.
  • Arcade Fire – Biggest Gig – for rather an eclectic indie band, the Arcade Fire have become quite popular.  Sold-out gigs at the formerly-known-as-the-Millenium-Dome is not to be scoffed at.  Like The National – having released 3 of the best albums of the decade – hopes were high.  And only slightly disappointed.  It was a good gig – really good – but I just couldn’t seem to get into it.  Having had a couple of drinks probably didn’t help – and being in a generally irritable mood – leading to my getting furious at the big TV screens (anger at inanimate objects – not a good sign) – and the guy next to me taking photos or videos with his phone – and it’s very bright large LCD screen in my peripheral vision.  (Yes – I do note the hypocrisy in getting angry with people taking videos or photos at concerts – while also hoping that somebody got some really good footage to put on youtube so I can link to it.  I wouldn’t mind it – if they just didn’t have these big bright screens in my face.)  But yeah – pretty good gig, with some crazy drumming, good visuals, and great songs.  Sweet.
  • The Black Keys – Loneliest Gig – Yes, this was the one I went to all by myself.  With four tickets in my pocket, and some stubborn refusal to sell any to the stinkin’ touts – I went and watched the Akron duo all by my lonesome.  And it was all good.  A close second for the best gig of the year, I’d say.  Really really good visuals – nothing amazingly fancy, just really simple, understated, but powerful stuff.  A disco ball raising out of the stage for a couple of songs.  A simple banner with their ‘Brothers’ logo – which changed colours by light show.  But while moving – which confused me at times.  I guess I am easily confused, as I later figured that if the spotlights which were illuminating the banner were actually attached to the same structure – they would move along with the banner, allowing the effect they achieved very very easily.  Anyway – yeah, awesome gig.  Was reminded at how amazingly diverse sounds they can achieve in a song – despite there (usually) only being the two of them.  Cool.  Second-best gig of the year.  I reckon.

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