Year End Reviews

Best of 2011: Ricky’s Favorite Concert Moments in Awards Format (pt 2/2)

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Year End Reviews | Leave a comment

Everyone likes awards right? Especially when they are random and whimsical..right? Here’s the rest of my favorite concert moments. Since it’s my blog, I’m just going to call these awards The Panickys. I would call it the Rickys, but that oozes of ego boasting.

2011 Panicky for Concert Where I Saw the Most Friends

Sloan, December, 2011 – The Great Hall
Before I joined this cultish indie blogger group I am now apart of, I rarely knew anyone at concerts. Since that fateful day, I seem to run into at least a few people at shows. While I’ve seen a lot of friends at a lot of shows, the Sloan show was by far, the one I went to with the most amount of people I knew there. I didn’t talk to most of the people I knew there, because I had a good spot. It helps that the show was phenomenal, and a nice cap off to a phenomenal concert year.

Sloan – Everything You’ve Done Wrong (live 2011-12-21) by panicmanual

2011 Panicky for Concert with the best backdrop/environment

The National, Llevant Stage, Primavera Sound, June, 2011
Brooding band, sun setting, beautiful weather and the Mediterranean Sea at my back. Even Matt Berninger mentioned how amazing it was for The National to play a set at that particular time at that particular place. Pure magic. Second best sunset show I’ve seen (after Coachella 2004, where Belle and Sebastian played a sunset show).

2011 Panicky for Concert where I formally gave up on a band

Interpol, Llevant Stage, Primavera Sound, June ,2011
I used to love Interpol, their brooding, atmospheric debut was one of the better records from the past decade. Sadly, the band has failed to consistently improve/expand on their sound and seeing the band go through the motions and play their inferior new tracks was a tough pill to swallow. Maybe Carlos D left at the right time, but I’m pretty sure that the sixth time I saw these guys was my last, until of course, the Interpol reunion in 2019.

2011 Panicky for Best Unexpectedly Great Concert

Erasure, Sound Academy, September 2011
The 80s synth-pop band put on one of the best shows I saw in Toronto this year, delivering a hits filled set at their show in September. The track selection for this set was perfect, building momentum slowly and then exploding in an outburst of color, melody and hook filled choruses, instantly transforming yours truly into a big time Erasure fan.

2011 Panicky for Best Unexpectedly Great Local Concert

Allie Hughes, NXNE, Wrongbar, June, 2011
Given the amount of large shows I go to, it’s probably not fair to group them with the smaller, more intimate local shows. So Allie Hughes gets the Panicky for the local version of best unexpectedly great show. Catching her on a whim at NXNE, I wasn’t expecting too much but came away awfully impressed by Allie’s theatre meets indie music mashup. Fun, original and filled with good music. A definite highlight of NXNE.

NOT THE STARS by AllieHughes

2011 Panicky for Best 1 Song Show

The Walkmen, Primavera Sound, June 2011
I only caught the tail end of the Walkmen (who Allison confuses with the Watchman, 9 times out of 10) set at Primavera Sound, but they sang the only song I would ever want to hear – The Rat. Seriously, listen to it. It’s one of the best tracks from the past decade and should have launched the band into the stratosphere. It didn’t, but that doesn’t make it a great moment to hear that song live.

2011 Panicky for Best Show I Do Not Remember

Yeasayer, Microsoft Party, Austin, March 2011
As chronicled in my article here, the PM crew indulged a bit too much at the free booze fest and as a result, I missed/forgot what happened at the Yeasayer show. Still, this was better than my performance at the Woodhands show in 2010. I didn’t have to review the Yeasayer show, I kinda had to review the Woodhands show and instead ended up making references to Fast and Furious in the article.

2011 Panicky for Show with the Highest Dancing Crowd/Collapsed Floor Potential

Sheezer, Sneaky Dees, NXNE, June, 2011
While they didn’t dress up as Spice Girls aka their Halloween show, Sheezer’s Sneaky Dees show was the perfect storm of great music, amazing crowd and really small space. The crowd was more than amped to see the Weezer cover band at 2 am at the height of NXNE and the result was a venue long mosh pit which was literally floor shaking. Great show.

Sheezer – Only in Dreams (Live) by Pop Montreal

2011 Panicky for Best Concert

Pulp, San Miguel Stage, Primavera Sound, June 2011
Was there any doubt? Favorite Concert Ever.

Best of 2011: Top 5 Shows I Saw But Didn’t Bother Writing About At The Time

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Year End Reviews | Leave a comment

Much of my 2011 was dedicated to travelling to various locations around the world and seeing as much music as I could.  As a result, I saw a lot of music, and tried to write about as much of it as possible, but of course a number of great shows fell through the cracks for various reasons – laziness, distraction, or simply not knowing what to say at the time.  The end of the year is a perfect time to revisit some of the “ones that got away.”  Now their stories can be told …

Hazel Dickens, March 16, Driskill Room, Austin, TX

Hazel Dickens was one of the performers I was most looking forward to seeing at SXSW simply because I figured it would be my only chance to catch the pioneering bluegrass legend in concert.  This ended up being truer than I’d thought as Dickens passed away just a little over a month after this show, which I believe was her final performance.  While looking a bit frail and older than her 75 years, her voice was still ridiculously powerful and resonant.  I’m definitely glad I got to see this.

Yoko Ono, March 19, Elysium, Austin, TX

Yeah, she’s weird.  Yeah, she can get noisy and the potential for pretentiousness is high.  But here’s the thing: that’s kind of what made this such a great show.  That, and a top notch crew of musicians assembld for her new Plastic Ono Band that included her son Sean (looking a bit goofy in top hat and goatee), Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn, and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto fame.  With a group that like backing you up, you can get as out there as you want and it’s still going to sound fantastic.  On top of all that, tUnE-yArDs opened things up with a cover of one of Ono’s songs that sounded pretty good as well.

Swans, May 28, Primavera Sound, Barcelona

Epic, noisy, and a little bit scary, Michael Gira and Co. also bring a strange kind of beauty to their sound as well.  Still don’t have that much to say about this set (to quote the title of the song they opened with, I have “No Words/No Thoughts”) but I felt this show was worth mentioning at the very least.

Tindersticks, June 23, BOZAR, Brussels

Performing as part of the Brussels Film Festival, British band Tindersticks put on a special show made up entirely of the music they’ve composed for the films of French filmmaker Claire Denis.  As they band played a bunch of pieces I was unfamiliar with against a backdrop of scenes from a number of Denis’ films, none of which I has seen or ever really heard of before, I was totally drawn in.  Not only by the music, but by the images, which I attempted in my mind to combine into one weird continuous narrative.  The show got me interested in looking deeper into Denis’ works, but on the other hand, I’m not sure if the fake story I made up in my head isn’t better. 

Mercury Rev, May 29, Primavera Sound, Barcelona 

While Ricky will tell you that Pulp’s set at Primavera Sound was hands down the best show he’s seen in his life, for me, it wasn’t even the best set I saw in Barcelona.  Don’t get me wrong, Pulp was fantastic, but for me, this show was much more compelling.  Sure, I was only going on a couple hours sleep from the night before and has just spent an inordiante amount of time waiting to buy a train ticket that afternoon, but after one last trip to the beach and a stroll through the streets of Barcelona taking in the post-Champions League win reverie, i was ready to tackle the Catskills band’s festival closing set at Poble Espanyol.  And what a show it was.  The band sounded amazing and frontman Jonathan Donahue was a sight to behold onstage, progressively getting more drunk on a bottle of wine throughout the set and making pretty much every second of the set a photo op with his dramatic, grandiose gestures.  It’s a shame my camera’s batteries went dead right before I arrived.

So there you have it. 2011 was a pretty good year for live music. 2012, you’ve got a lot to live up to. Don’t let me down.