My top 20 gigs of 2011

  • 0

I went to around 48 gigs and saw 91 bands, most of the details have been automatically logged here. Here is my top 20, complete with the odd review, setlist link and amateur video.

1 The Mountain Goats, London Koko, 25th May
For me it takes a lot to beat a Mountain Goats gig and this one saw them on cracking form. Set list here, and here's a bit of the solo performance mid-set.

2 Fucked Up, London Scala 31st October
Hallowe'en night, all of the band dressed as giant babies and a cracking atmosphere. This video clip was filmed by my friend Liz from our vantage point just above the main mosh-pit. Lovely.

3 Aidan Moffat/ Human Don't be Angry (Malcolm Middleton), Cambridge Haymakers, 18th March
Most definitely not an Arab Strap show, though Aidan did do one tune from Philophobia. Malcolm's new instrumental set was followed by Aidan's collection of songs, most of which were brilliant and some have (still) to be recorded. Review (not by me) on the Liminal here

4 King Creosote and Jon Hopkins/ Francois and the Atlas Mountains, London QEH 9 September
In the week they didn't win the Mercury prize (who cares), they played their largest gig to date. Very special. Read my review (the405)

5 Wild Beasts/ Dutch Uncles, Cambridge Junction, 25th November
This gig completely convinced me that Wild Beasts are the finest band in the land right now. A triumphant, inspiring performance which brought Smother to life. Setlist here

6. The Fall, London IndigO2, 24th November
I was nervous about this as there had been some very mixed reports of this tour, but this turned out to be one of the best Fall shows I had seen in years. The band were tight, MES was in great form and his 'live-mixing' (i.e. fiddling with the musicians' amp setting mid-song) actually worked. Setlist here

7 Oneohtrix Point Never, Ford and Lopatin (Games), London QEH, 9th April
A memorable experience from start to finish; a late show in the foyer of the QEH, with two very different sets and visuals bouncing off the architecture.

8. Gang Gang Dance, London XOYO, 16th May
One of the bands I listened to most this year, I was pleased to report their live recreation of Eye Contact was every bit as thrilling as the album. It was dark in XOYO though, as this truncated video clip shows!

9. Braids, London the Lexington 24th May
Possibly my new favourite band, this show in the Lexington was so mesmerising I almost went to see them again later that week. I didn't make it, but I wanted to!

10. Thurston Moore, London Union Chapel, 31st May
A beautiful show in a great setting, this set was almost entirely the Demolished Thoughts album, although it would have been higher up my list if he hadn't attempted some poetry reading near the end.

11. Yo La Tengo/ Condo Fucks, London Royal Festival Hall, 12 June
They spun their wheel and gave us a Condo Fucks show as support. That wouldn't have been my first choice but as this was part of Ray Davies's Meltdown, it suited the overall vibe. my review (tumblr)

12. Eleanor Friedberger, Bethnal Green Workingmen's Club 1st December
I missed her first two solo appearances in London, but this show with her band was excellent.

13. Low, London Barbican, 3 June
I don't think I've ever seen a bad Low gig, and the hushed atmosphere in the Barbican really worked for them. Setlist here

14. Destroyer/ Amor de Dias, London Heaven, 28 June
A fine double bill, it was quite a treat to see Amor De Dias (featuring Alaistair from the Clientele) in support, and it was my first time seeing Destroyer, who managed to do justice to the lavish, brassy arrangements on Kaputt.

15. Bitch Magnet/ Smallgang, London the Lexington 12th December
Over the last few years I've been able to see a few bands I would have thought were gone for good. Bitch Magnet are the latest addition to that list and their Lexington gig was great.

16. Wooden Shjips/ Wolf People, London Scala 4 September
Quality psychedelic fuzz, or a homage to Loop with an Americana twist, either way, Wooden Shjips were on great form at this. Keyboards wrapped in tinfoil as well!

17. The Besnard Lakes/ Suuns, London Scala, 22nd November
Poorly attended but a cracking double bill, although Suuns could've treated us to another 10 minutes just to even things up. The sparse crowd meant that we could go right up the the front.

18. Zola Jesus/ EMA, London Heaven, 23rd November
Not as dark as I had been expecting, and actually coming across as a bit club-friendly, ZJ's live show had tons of energy and an absolute (unnamed) powerhouse on the drums.

19. The Sonics/ Wire, London Royal Festival Hall, 18 June
On paper this was an odd double bill as part of Ray Davies's Meltdown which worked very well. Read my review (the405)

20. Arbouretum/ Alexander Tucker, London Borderline, 24th March
Another quality double bill, Tucker was full-on psych-folk mode with cello and loopstation and all, Arbouretum brought guitar wig-outs to their alt country tunes.

A final word about support slots/ special guests. As well as some of those mentioned in the list - Francois, Wire, EMA, Suuns and Smallgang, I have to give an honourable mention to Fennesz, who came on before Emeralds at Union Chapel in September and stole the show, and John Maus who left Washed Out with the impossible task of following him at Heaven in November. It has been a good year!

No comments:

Post a Comment