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Top 10 gigs of 2011.


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Shamefully, I only went to two gigs this past year I think. The best was Ben Folds at Glasgow Academy, so I guess by default it makes Iron Maiden at AECC the worst.

EDIT - Oh I forgot about Zombina & The Skeletones at Moorings. Put that in the middle. One of my favourite bands, but they were shite this time around.

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Pretty sparse year for me gig-wise. Gonna rectify that next year for sure.

Raekwon + Smiff n Wessun @ Prospect Park - Free gig, mobbed, height of summer, loads of older Hip Hop fans (like 40 yrs +) which was a new experience for me. Smiff n Wessun were great, Raekwon was funny but wasn't really there to give a proper performance, kept lecturing the crowd. Which I didn't mind actually coz he's comedy gold.

!!! @ 285 Kent Avenue - Great fun at a venue so cool/wanky it doesn't even have a name.

Mos Def W/Brooklyn Philiharmonic @ Bed Stuy Alive Festival - Simply amazing. Nice blend of music and felt priviliged to see the man play to his home crowd.

Joy Formidable @ Webster Hall - Last night of their US tour so they were well up for it. Great live band, great venue.

Titus Andronicus @ South Street Seaport - Braw. Good food on offer too.

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I fear i have forgotten some, but these are the standouts!

1. Sufjan Stevens - The Sage Gateshead

Possibly one of the best gigs i have ever ever been to. It was seriously amazing, the combination of the music, lights, dancing and crazy shit was unreal. He played a lot of The Age Of Adz which sounded incredible live, probably helped by the fact it was my favourite record of last year. Impossible Soul was off the scale live, 25 minutes of incredibleness, and then finishing on Chicago! The venue was perfect too, absolutely nobody talking, everyone in awe. Sufjan hardly ever plays in the UK but you should jump at the chance to go when he does, no better complete show atm imo.

2. The National - Edinburgh Corn Exchange/Boston, Bank Of America Pavilion (w/ Yo La Tengo)

Can't decide which gig was better, saw them twice on the same tour. Boston was obviously amazing as Yo La Tengo were supporting, it was a fantastic support set which ended in I Heard You Looking, which was amazing live. The National's setlists at both gigs were far better than i expected. The played an amazing mix of all the albums, mainly High Violet obviously but it all sounds great live, it was nice to hear a lot from Alligator and Sad Songs. Boston ended in Ira from YLT playing guitar on Terrible Love, which was really cool and Matt did his usual walking round the crowd and ended up next to our seat. I can never stop watching The National's drummer live, he is incredible to watch.

3. Wild Beasts - The Lemon Tree

Really really incredible live band, i think this was the third time i have seen them and definitely the best. They seem to have got better and better live with each album. They played mainly Smother which just sounded so so good live, definitely the best live band in Britain atm. It was nice to see Katie Harkin with them aswell, definite dream woman. I actually wrote about the gig here: http://www.herculesmoments.co.uk/2011/11/wild-beasts-live-lemon-tree-aberdeen.html

4. Les Savy Fav - The Tunnels

So much fun! Great setlist too. Obvious highlights were all to do with Tim, he stroked my head, then again he did this to pretty much everyone else. Let's Get Out Of Here Now was particularly great. Yeh, probably the best gig i had been to in Aberdeen for ages. I also wrote about it: http://www.herculesmoments.co.uk/2011/03/les-savy-fav-live-tunnels-01032011.html

5. Joan Of Arc - The Tunnels

JOA were loads better than i remember them being last time, yeh they were good last time but they really dragged on towards the end. This time they were great and i was really into Life Like at the time, so it was great to hear most of the songs live. I'd actually missed out on seeing Hot Club every time they have been to Aberdeen for one reason or another so it was great to finally see them. They played mainly newer stuff though which i didn't really recognise as i had been more into Drop It 'Til It Pops and Live At Dead Lake, but they still sounded great and the banter of course was a bonus. Shame about Seas, Starry but i have seen them lots this year and they have been nothing short of fantastic every time.

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I've been cutting down on gigs this year and going to more comedy but here is what I can remember (i can hardly remember any of the bands I saw at the Moorings!)

1) Periphery+TesseracT+Monuments @ The Cathouse, Glasgow. Waited years to see Periphery and they didn't disappoint. Top guys and a brilliant set despite being one guitarist down and Spencer having a throat infection (I didn't like him much at first on the album, but he has improved so much and is a ridiculously good live singer). Misha was awesome too and I've never seen a band spend so long chatting to fans and taking pics etc.

2) Between the Buried and Me+Animals as Leaders @ King Tuts, Glasgow. BTBAM are one of my fave bands and I was really disappointed (much better last time). Sound was REALLY bad until amusingly the bass amp failed during the bass solo in Viridian so they had to play it twice. After that the sound was much better for White Walls and Selkies so that was a bonus. Animals as Leaders were mindblowing. Poor Javier Reyes. Totally forgotten due to having Navene and Tosin on the same stage. Tosin was a nice guy too, even with my gf swooning over him and calling him toe-shin.

3) Andy McKee @ The Lemon Tree. Brilliant playing and a good choice of covers. The geeky banter with the crowd was a nice touch too.

4) The Ocean (Collective) @ The Tunnels. Great band, great sound and an amazing video show to accompany them. Both supports had sound/technical problems and the place was nearly empty but still a great night

5) Mogwai @ Music Hall. Again not a fan of the support but I enjoyed the Mogwai set. A good mix of my favourites in there.

6) Iron & Wine @ HMV Picturehouse, Edinburgh. Got free tickets from someone here (mistersticks I think?) and I was back home for my birthday that weekend. Love the venue and really enjoyed the night. Shame I was dragged to see Twilight and they used flightless bird, american mouth during the wedding scene and tainted my memories of that song live.

7) Devin Townsend Project @ The Garage, Glasgow. Support band were a Dream Theater tribute band or something like that. Not a fan. Sound was pretty bad (as is customary at The Garage) but Devin was on top form. The room was bouncing on several occasions and I've never before seen a bunch of metal fans pumped on cheesy music like Radio Ziltoid (especially The Vengaboys).

8) Interpol @ Music Hall. Wasn't keen on the support band buy enjoyed the Interpol set. Played a lot of old material which was about the only reason I went!

9) Lacuna Coil + Straight Line Stitch @ Lemon Tree. Only bought tickets as I thought my GF would like Lacuna Coil, She didn't. Bonus was Straight Line Stitch playing (who she did actually like!) and getting to chat to Kris Norris all through the Lacuna Coil encore which was the best bit of the night.

The only other ‘big’ gig I went to was You Me At Six @ Music Hall but I really did not enjoy any of the bands there so it’s not getting ranked. In fact I will rank The Dillinger Escape Plan @ Garage ahead of that, as I bought tickets but couldn’t go due to an exam.

Next year is looking good. Already have tickets for The Black Dahlia Murder, Mastodon+The Dillinger Escape Plan+Red Fang (this should be amazing, even if it’s at the Barrowlands!) and Meshuggah+Animals as Leaders.

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Sons & Daughters/ Peggy Sue @ Tunnels

Scroobius Pip/B-Dolan @ Tunnels

Bill Wells & Aidan Moffatt/ RM Hubbert @ Lemon Tree

The Phantom Band @ Tunnels

Found/ Kid Canaveral/Rick Redbeard/ Iona Marsh @ Tunnels

The Go! Team/ The Phoenix Foundation @ Lemon Tree

Iron Maiden @ AECC

Fleet Foxes @ Edinburgh Corn Exchange

Thomas Truax/ Kitchen Cynics/ Steven Milne @ Tunnels

Bad Religion @ Glasgow ABC

sure I'm forgetting something...

I did...The Wi-Yo's at Blue Lamp get my #1

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1. Vintage Trouble, Ironworks, Inverness.

Been really into these guys for a good while and was really pleased to be on the same bill as them three times this summer, but never able to see them. Seeing your favourite band of the moment in your home town is always a special moment, and this surpassed my every expectation.

2. Belleruche, Bannermans, Edinburgh.

Gig was cancelled and we found out that it was rescheduled on the way down. Small crowd, no soundcheck, technical issues but amazing performance. Probably wouldn't have been the same if it had gone without a hitch!

3. Levellers, Kendal Calling

Managed to catch only half their set before playing, but it was one of those nostalgic experiences. A setting sun on a blistering day, clouds of dust from people jumping!! Just the right band at the right time in the right place!

4. Smoove and Turrell, Kendal Calling

Fantastic, inspiring performance. Ended a perfect day!

5. Newton Faulkner, Belladrum

I'm not at all into singer/songwriters, but he very surprisingly managed to hold my attention for the entire time he was on stage.

(and if we're allowed to include one of our own gigs....

Ironworks, opening for Craig Charles. Venue was packed out. We've worked a fair bit with The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show, and being introduced in your home town by one of your heros as "one of my favourite bands" was a very special moment!)

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I'll use bands instead of gigs, as I had a pitiful attendance last year...

Kasabian - they're not a favourite band, but something I'll happily listen to and have to say, their gig was ace. They put on a brilliant show, and was dancing about like a tit all night.

Deftones - wanted to see them for years, but I've always had work/uni fuck up getting to see them. Was not disappointed at all, and they played loads of my fav songs.

Muse - same boat as Kasabian, I don't orgasm at the sound of them like most of my mates, but again, what a show!

Rise Against - the political telling-off at the very beginning dragged on a bit, but after that it was fab. Again, a band I've wanted to see for years.

Jimmy Eat World - I have no idea why I love them so much, they just make me all happy and jumpy. Like a 15 year old again. Could not stop grinning all the way through their set.

Seasick Steve - hadn't heard anything from him before, and really glad I went along :)

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3) Andy McKee @ The Lemon Tree.

Bollocks!! The fuck?? What? When did this happen? Why? HOW?!

I didn't know about this happening this year. Guy's got serious chops. Wish I'd have been there.

Was it a room full of nothing but guitar nerds? I assume normal, non-guitar playing people don't really see the appeal. Just guys popping guitar boners. Ping!

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Bollocks!! The fuck?? What? When did this happen? Why? HOW?!

I didn't know about this happening this year. Guy's got serious chops. Wish I'd have been there.

Was it a room full of nothing but guitar nerds? I assume normal, non-guitar playing people don't really see the appeal. Just guys popping guitar boners. Ping!

February 27th 2011. It was a more varied crowd than I had imagined, but he did spend about 5 minutes appeasing the nerds by answering questions from the audience.

I should also point out for my list my attendance this year was severely cut down by the fact I paid twice for all gigs as my gf went to every single one and I even paid for travel and accommodation. Makes sense really, went to half the number of gigs I normally do but probably ended up spending more money when everything is included :(

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