Top 10 Shows of 2010
It’s been a good music year. So good, that this list is in no particular order because trying to rate them would be ridiculous. Really ridiculous.
1) Soundgarden @ Lollapalooza, August 8th– A no-brainer of seismic proportions as the music Gods saw fit to reunite and refuel this gargantuan survivor of grunge/metal days gone by.
2) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ The Echoplex, Los Angeles March 11th, 12th, 14th -Music’s most unapologetic trio came home to rock, roll, reverberate, and rumble til the ears bled their gratitude. Peter Hayes, Leah Shapiro, and an under the weather Robert Been flexed the sounds of road-worn passion, grit, emotion, and leather upon the faithful with bullshit levels at a minimum. They were loud and they were loved and they’ve earned it the hard way. The extended recap can be found here: BRMC @ The Echoplex Review .
3) Imagine Dragons @ The Viper Room, West Hollywood, July 13th– This one’s quite personal: it was my birthday. It was at The Viper Room. An awetastic friend named Chelsea booked a band that I really dig, Imagine Dragons, to play The Viper Room on my birthday. How were they? The room was sweating from the synth-pop dance and screaming for more. Position on Top 10 Shows of 2010 list secured.
4) Them Crooked Vultures @ The Wiltern, Los Angeles, November 17th– Rarely does the prospect of a super group live up to the salivating hype. Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, and John Paul Jones didn’t make any grandiose promises of overwhelming rock-groove brilliance; they just made a record and we found it brilliant. Putting all of their collective rock star talents on display, they were balls to the wall, acid trip dynamic. A systematic class on the art of music elevation, jams were stretched, grooves got expanded, and faces were melted. So much swagger, attack, riffs and sonic boom from one outfit but one hellishly extraordinary one. TCV steamrolled over all who entered The Wiltern. We welcomed it.
5) Rage Against the Machine @ The Palladium, Los Angeles, July 23rd– You would never have known that this was RATM’s first LA show in 10 years for not a beat was missed, not a fist unpumped, not a body unmoshed, and not an f-bomb undropped during this benefit show in protest of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law. Zach de la Rocha and crew unleashed the sound and fury upon the people the likes of which I’d never seen before.
6) Beth Hart @ The Echoplex Los Angeles, June 13th– Beth Hart never fails. Period. No one covers Led Zeppelin or Aretha Franklin or Sam Cooke or herself like she does. No one shamelessly bares their imperfect soul via an epically (not really a word yet totally appropriate) soul-full voice on a stage for all who care enough to see the way that she does. And no one raises the hair on my arms the way she does.
7) Helen Stellar @ Spaceland, Los Angeles, April 12th– This show winds up on my list because of how overwhelmed I was by their grand sound the very first time I saw them, where by the second song I knew I was going home with their CD. Intelligent and melodic guitar-driven rock that occasionally had me closing my eyes to hear all the pretty colors.
8) Nico Vega @ The Roxy, West Hollywood October 30th– All you need to know is right here: Nico Vega @ The Roxy Witch Hunt
I gladly concede that this Nico Vega show truly was my #1 show of the year. Truly.
9) The Silent Comedy @ Every show I’ve seen this year– Music is the sound of your soul singing, dancing, crying, loving, living, and dying and San Diego’s own The Silent Comedy tend evoke all manner of these events with their special breed of well dressed (at least for a few songs), whisky marinated, Americana folk rock revival. If your feet don’t hurt by the end of their show, you’re doing something wrong. You simply have not lived until you’ve been baptized in the Church of The Silent Comedy.
10) Saint Motel @ The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, July 1st– Kevin Bronson curated the “Also I Like To Rock” July concert series at The Hammer Museum and he tapped this foursome of young guns for the first show. What I saw was Saint Motel at their best and their most rocking for a packed courtyard that came ready to dance to their incredibly infectious rock with clever pop sensibilities. Local bands like Saint Motel are a gift to watch evolve and suck in new audiences.
More Than Honorable Mentions:
Jovanotti @ The Viper Room, July 21st
Chris Cornell @ The Troubadour, January 29th
Semi Precious Weapons @ The Roxy, April 21st
Roll on 2011.