Dec 19, 2009

Best Live Shows of 2009

It was here. In these four walls. In this space that my favourite show of 2009 occurred. In a year of great live music I found it near impossible to separate my favourite shows of the year. But seeing Handsome Furs at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne was just so special. Not only was the music spot on fantastic, but I got to meet Dan Boeckner after the show. That clinched it. But there were plenty of great live experiences and I would like to share those with you here, with a link to my initial review of each show. You know, going to a show can be truly rewarding, but there some things that can spoil it. For everyone. I would like to list here my three biggest annoyances at gigs. Maybe, just maybe we can make the experience better for everyone.

1. Don't talk through the show. As surprising as it may seem I paid money to see the band, not to listen to your inane conversation. Also, just because the band is playing loud doesn't mean you should speak louder to be heard, it still spoils the experience.
2. Just because you arrived late doesn't mean you can push your way through to the front. See this space. I have stood here for over an hour. It is my space, not yours. Thank you.
3. Hey man, the show is only going for an hour. Can't you stop going for a drink every ten minutes and bumping your way past me? Enjoy the show and have a drink afterwards.

Now, onto the list.

1. Handsome Furs @ Corner Hotel
You could feel the love. From audience to band. From Dan to Alexei. Pulsating, exciting, fresh, honest. Beautiful. And Dan Boeckner is a saint. He was gracious, warm, engaging and 68 types of awesome. Come back. Please!

2. Okkervil River @ Annandale Hotel
They are ALWAYS amazing. On record and/or live. The incredible thing is that this show was maybe even better then their sublime 2008 show. Stunning.

3. Fleet Foxes/The Dodos @ Metro Theatre
After this night I thought for sure this gig would not be beaten in 2009. Just shows how special 1 & 2 were. Two hours of near perfection. Yes, Robin Pecknold is godlike. Can't wait for a new album.

4. Animal Collective @ Enmore Theatre
A band in full flight, knowing no boundaries. Just near perfect music. Then "Fireworks" elevated the night into the stratosphere. Panda Bear=Genius.

5. The Flaming Lips @ Hordern Pavilion
Have you stopped smiling yet? Will you ever forget this night? I didn't think so. Wayne Coyne proved that spectacle and good music CAN go hand in hand.

6. The Hold Steady @ Metro Theatre
Craig Finn knows how to play a crowd. I had waited for this band for a long time and they did not let me down. This band matters. Their fans know this to be true.

7. My Morning Jacket @ Metro Theatre
There is a very good reason why this band is considered one of the best live acts on the planet. They play like their hair is on fire! Less from "Evil Urges" would have landed them a higher spot.

8. Frightened Rabbit @ Manning Bar
This took place on NYE, 2008, but I am squeezing it in here. Why? Well they were exhausted, no proper soundcheck, possibly drunk. But the music, oh that music...

9. TV On The Radio @ Metro Theatre
A fiery and unforgettable night. A band that gives their all and then some.

10. Why? @ Annandale Hotel
Just absolutely loved this show. Yes, I am love with Why?

11. Blitzen Trapper @ Metro Theatre
A little bit of Portland crept into all of our hearts on this night.

12. Charge Group @ Hopetoun Hotel
Without doubt my favourite local show of 2009. Hopefully we can all return to the Hopetoun one day soon...

13. Dan Deacon @ Serial Space
Unique, unique, unique. Oh yeah, I danced with Dan Deacon!

14. Bill Callahan @ Famous Spiegeltent
Bill. In the spiegeltent. Need I say more?

15. Bon Iver @ City Recital Hall
Gorgeous, gorgeous music. We needed better seats though.

16. Dan Auerbach @ The Basement
This man can sing. Just a great and authentic performer

17. Black Mountain @ Annandale Hotel
Gritty, dirty, thumping. Hugely entertaining

18. Jolie Holland @ The Basement
Umm, I think I am in love...

19. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks @ Metro Theatre
He is still the man. OK then, who's coming to Pavement?

20. Akron/Family @ Annandale Hotel
Astounding? Yes. Infuriating? Yes. Unique? Definitely.

EDIT: I have realised I made an error. One of the best shows of the year was part of a festival. ATP Sydney in January was a great day on Cockatoo Island and one man made it magical. Nick Cave. Him and the Bad Seeds were positively magnetic. A truly astounding performance. So If I were to redo my list I would slot that show in at number 7.

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