It’s the end of the year, and you know what that means! End of the year lists! Over the next couple months, before my return to the United Kingdom, I’ll treat all of my readers to several list based articles for your reading pleasure. The first of these gifts is the best live shows I have seen this year.
Can an indie band be a super group?
Andrew Dost of fun. didn’t seem to think so, but they sure do make a strong case for it. With members hailing from Steel Train and the Format, fun. are an indie dance band that had a sold-out Saint Louis crowd in a sweat. The band added the lower the case f and the period to lower expectations of the band, but this light-hearted band deserve to be taken seriously. The harmonies from their hit single ‘All the Pretty the Girls,’ hail back to the days of the Beach Boys and the Beatles, absolutely brilliant. In ‘Walking the Dog,’ upbeat Nat Ruess’ vocals may sound upbeat, but he remorses, “I guess I will never know where all the boys of summer will go, but I’ll miss what we made, all the days were not wasted. There are some things I may never know.” Melancholy lyrics, for a band that had the crowd in a dance frenzy, not to mention a subtle nod to some rock heroes that came before them a great example of how fun. are a combination of old and new.
Check out my interview with fun.’s Andrew Dost.
4. Jukebox the Ghost
Jukebox the Ghost have been on my radar since the beginning of 2009, and could probably win an award for the hardest working band in the business. Constant touring in the U.S. and Europe, not to mention recording a new album, has kept them plenty busy. Their live shows usually come with some great covers including Ace of Base’s ‘It’s a Beautiful Life,’ New Order, or even Side B of the Beatle’s Abbey Road. Not that they need covers to get the crowd excited, their audience usually know all of the lyrics and are happy to sing along with Jukebox the Ghost’s upbeat and whimsical harmonies. 2010 was a good year for the band. They released their second album, “Everything Under the Sun” in September, they had a slot a Lollapalooza, one of the most popular music festivals in the world, they opened for 90’s legends the Barenaked Ladies, and even made an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman performing ‘Schizophrenia.’
3. We Are Scientists
We Are Scientists may have originated in California, but their style of music and sense of humor seem to fit them right in with UK culture. At the end of 2009, We Are Scientists
created and starred in a mini-television series called ‘Steve Wants His Money’, and for those who didn’t already know, the duo got to show off their comedic and creative side. In June, We Are Scientists released their fourth studio album ‘Barbara’ and showed that their talents are cross-continental. Their three singles ‘Nice Guys’, ‘Rules Don’t Stop’, and ‘I Don’t Bite,’ are the type of songs that are perfect to sing along, bordering on anthemic, but are still very craftily written pop songs. Their U.S. shows did not get near the credit or promotion that they deserved. Intertwined within their great repertoire, the duo’s clever and humorous personalities shine which makes them one of best live acts of the modern music world.
Check out my interview with We Are Scientists.
Saying Kele was one of the best live shows of 2010 is a bit misleading, because he didn’t do it alone. It was the Nylon Magazine’s Fall U.S. tour that put together one of best shows of the year. Dance aficionados Innerpartysystem, started out the night and between their hard bass and their crazy light shows, turned hipster Webster Hall into a raver’s paradise. Does It Offend You, Yeah? were second up and although are normally an electic mix of indie rock and electronic music, went purely electro for this show as their lead singer was out sick. It didn’t seem to matter, however, because anyone who wasn’t worked up after Innerpartysystem, couldn’t help but dance to Does It Offend You, Yeah? Finally, Bloc Party front man Kele Okereke headlined the event, and kept everyone in the crowd happy. For those who had no idea Kele had gone solo, they were treated to Bloc Party’s best repertoire and for the‘new fans’ he pla
yed his UK hits ‘Tenderoni’ and ‘Everything You Wanted.’ It was one of those perfect nights where the lineup, the venue, and the energy were all in sync.
1. Roger Waters
I don’t know if I can express anymore how perfect Roger Water’s production of the Wall really is. Only calling it a live show doesn’t seem to sufficiently explain how amazing and how much effort was put into this project. This show was Water’s vision of the Wall that Pink Floyd could never convey because the technology of time didn’t agree with them and the movie failed to create the same message . The show features live, larger than life puppeteering, mind-blowing productions, and amazing sound quality that brings the album to animation right before the audience’s eyes. During the show, I experienced every emotion in the spectrum, it has its light-hearted moments, its terribly depressing times, and even anger-inducing occasions. Nothing I can say can adequately describe the experience that is ‘The Wall,’ so instead, I urge everyone (I know the tickets are pricey, but worth it) to see the show.
Stay tuned for more list based articles and more analysis of 2010 in music.