Top 20 Gigs of 2011

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23. Dez. 2011, 19:15

Much shorter gig list this year than previous years and nothing to do with lack of gigs I’ve fancied going to – all to do with other commitments –mostly work. There are even 3 gig tickets on my fridge for things I’d bought tickets to but couldn’t make on the day. Amazed I’ve not seen Jonny Cola & The A-Grades this year. Here’s the list with the top 20 ranked in bold on the right and, as before, if I’ve seen an artist more than once I’ve only flagged up my favourite performance of the year.Also excluded festivals from the rankings although this year I only managed to get to Apple Cart which had a good little line up.

19 Jan Luke Haines Hoxton Pony
8 Feb David McAlmont Leicester Square Theatre 11
10 Feb White Lies Shepherds Bush Empire 19
15 Feb The Blow Monkeys 93 Feet East 9
12 March Marc Almond Wiltons Music Hall 12
29 March Patrick Wolf Koko
19 April The Dears Borderline 10
26 April Tindersticks QEH 20
2 May David Ford Borderline 13
8 May Owen Pallett (Steve Reich) Barbican 2
12 May Wild Beasts Wiltons
13 May Sufjan StevensRFH 7
24 May Marianne Faithfull Barbican 15
31 May Belle and Sebastian Roundhouse 6
13 July Luke Haines Queen Elizabeth Hall 14
26 July The Divine Comedy Greenwich Summer Session 16
2 AugThe Soft Close-Ups Native Tongue 17
7 Aug Apple Cart Festival: Balearic Folk Orchestra/ James Yorkston/ Patrick Wolf/ Badly Drawn Boy/ Tim Minchin/ Saint Etienne Victoria Park
8 Aug Morrissey London Palladium 1
18 Aug The Melting Ice Caps/ Mr Solo/ Proxy music Buffalo Bar 8
22 AugPatrick Wolf Concrete, Shoreditch
17 Oct Jens Lekman Heaven 5
19 Oct The Melting Ice Caps The Standard Music Venue
4 Nov Patrick Wolf Roundhouse 3
23 Nov Wild Beasts Shepherds Bush Empire 4
7 Dec The Soft Close Ups Nambucca
19 Dec David Ford Bush Hall
21 Dec James Yorkston Union Chapel 18

A win this year for Morrissey. One of the best ever Morrissey gigs I think. Moz came out looking very dapper in suit and tie (made him look much trimmer than his usual shirts). Really strong vocals – great set list including ‘Everyday is like Sunday’ and a wonderful ‘I know its over’ with the crowd providing backing vocals. ‘Come Back to Camden’ was beautiful. My favourite Moz song, ‘Speedway’, was ruined by a unseemly clash between stage diver and bouncers but apart from that fantastic evening.

The Steve Reich night at the Barbican where Owen Pallett performed Heartland with an orchestra was absolutely fantastic. Really strong impact. Some people have complained the sound was poor but where we were sitting was fine.

Saw Patrick Wolf 4 times this year and he was great at each – and not a single strop. The free gig from Q magazine at Concrete was very intimate and had the bonus of free drinks! Great at Apple Cart but I think probably the Roundhouse gig was the highlight.

Marianne Faithfull was interesting – bit session bandy at times but when it was just her and piano she shined.

The Blow Monkeys were a blast from the past – I listened to them endlessly in 1989 but never saw them live first time round. Whilst new stuff like ‘Stepping Down’ is good (and they really benefitted from a brass section and backing singers at the gig) – it was fantastic when Kym Mazelle came out to perform ‘Wait’. Yes there were less than a hundred people there and nobody looks the same 20 years later but still a great night.

The Dears were probably the best I’ve seen them – really crammed into the Borderline. Real shame their latest album didn’t get the recognition it should have.

Missed the first 20 minutes or so of Belle and Sebastian as my flight back from Finland was delayed but really enjoyed the rest. Good set list including ‘Me and the Major’ as closer. ‘Mornington Crescent’ was very appropriate whilst the encore of the Ski Sunday theme was a surprise. Audience members selected to dance on a few tracks were entertaining.

Jens Lekman is always a treat but somehow didn’t quite reach previous heights this year – possibly due to reduced band members. The Ten City cover was a surprise and brought back further 1989 Blow Monkeys memories as they remixed some songs.

Melting Ice Caps and Mr Solo on the same bill is always a treat and this year was no exception.

Wild Beasts were great at Wiltons but I’d only had the new album a day so hadn’t really got into it - the Shepherds Bush gig later in the year was superb.

Neil Hannon was good at Greenwich but suffered in the ranking as I’ve seen him live so many times and this was nothing special.

Extremes of venue sizes for Luke Haines this year -Hoxton Pony was too uncomfortable a squash whilst QEH wasn’t filled.

First time seeing Sufjan Stevens who really put on a flamboyant show at the RFH.

David Ford was entertaining at Bush Hall doing some interesting covers but think I enjoyed his Borderline gig with some readings of extracts from his amusing book slightly better.

Back to previous tradition of ending the year with a gig at Union Chapel and James Yorkston fitted the bill perfectly – Christmassy feel but mostly downbeat songs delivered with humour – what more could you want?

Next year – all ready have tickets for St Vincent, Magnetic Fields, Rufus Wainwright, My Life Story, Nico Muhly/Owen Pallett and the Britten Sinfonia so should be a good one.

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