Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 End Of Year Review - Top 10 Gigs

Kicking off four days' worth of posts relating to's End Of Year Review is the Top 10 live gigs of 2010. Still to come over the next few days, top albums, top movies and top songs:

1. REGINA SPEKTOR, Sydney Opera House 
"Heartbreaking tender ballad Samson remains one of the best songs of the last ten years and commanded hushed awe from the audience but, on this occasion, the highlight was Apres Moi. For someone so softly spoken, Spektor has a massive vocal range and when she ended the song by belting out couplets in Russian, it was jaw-dropping.

Though, on record, her edges seem to have smoothed a little, live, she was as weird and leftfield as ever, using her vocal as an instrument and singing ditties about how “Someone next door’s fucking to one of my songs.”  In taking the step to this next level, Regina Spektor proved that it is possible to make intelligent, beautiful music that is accessible while still remaining daring and oddball." (Full review...)

2. JEFFREY LEWIS & THE JUNKYARD, Oxford Art Factory,Sydney 
"There were punky rock outs and gentler - really wordy - acoustic numbers that showcased his writing talents, as themes of self-doubt, lost love and depression were treated with sincerity and humour. He told fantastical stories about various ways he could commit suicide... while suggesting that Pitchfork would only give his death 3.6 out of 10." (full review...)

3. LAURA MARLING, The Famous Spiegeltent, Sydney
"The use of cello, keys, drums, mandolin, guitar, bass and banjo offered a round sound, yet the set really dazzled when Marling stood alone with just her voice and acoustic guitar... This was a truly enchanting evening from one of the finest young talents around." (full review...)

4. DANIEL JOHNSTON, Monster Children Gallery, Sydney
"Life doesn't often make sense. Plug A rarely fits nicely into Slot B. People conflict and contrast, friction prevails. Sometimes though, very, very occasionally, everything comes together. And, as I stood on the steps, looking over Johnston's shoulder onto a crowd that were hanging on his every word. It was clear that these were my people, and this was my soundtrack. If only life were always like this." (full review...)

5. THE CRIBS, Manning Bar, Sydney
"Even four albums in, The Cribs' raw energy and vivacity hasn't abated, and to combine that with tunes to die for is to be in the presence of one of the most thrilling live bands around." (full review...)

6. KLAXONS, Enmore Theatre, Sydney

"The hour-long set flew by, and, as they wrapped things up with It’s Not Over Yet, Surfing The Void and Atlantis To Interzone, the band seemed genuinely taken aback by the fervent reception they received. “I’m not joking,” said keyboardist/vocalist, James Righton (above) with a look of bewilderment. “You’re the fucking best audience ever.” True, the crowd were going absolutely mental from start to finish, but that’s largely to do with the fact that the Brits practically ripped the roof off from the get-go." (full review...)

7. ANGUS & JULIA STONE, Metro Theatre
"What better way to celebrate your record going gold, than by playing three sold-out shows over two days in your home city? Following Friday night's gig, the siblings played a matinee performance to an under-age audience on Saturday afternoon. Cue a Beatlemania-esque frenzy from the crowd as fourteen-year-old girls took time out from screaming every word of every song to yell requests for impregnation from Angus. If it was all a bit much for the shy, unassuming Mr Stone, then the evening was happily a more chilled-out affair." (full review...)

8. PARADES, Enmore Theatre, Sydney 
"Sydney’s Parades looked like a bunch of high-school misfits who had been rounded up from the loneliest corners of the playground and ushered onto the stage against their will, but, behind their Breakfast Club aesthetic was an awesome, layered soundscape so huge that it’s hard to believe any venue smaller than The Enmore could cope with such epic noise. As is their wont, the quartet bolstered their numbers for their live show and with five boys and one girl offering four vocals and all manner of percussion and effects, their set was diverse and their songs experimental and enormous. This is a band with a really exciting future." (full review...)

9. CABINS AND BRIDEZILLA, Changing Lanes Festival, Sydney

"Cabins' performance drilled its way relentlessly through the audience's bodies. Their bone-shaking set - which included a cheeky cover of Edwin Collins' A Girl Like You - was loud with a capital L.O.U.D. and their catchy indie with alternating vocalists was the highlight of the day...

...Bridezilla (above)  performed a handful of promising new songs in their 30-minute set, the last of which really showed the band's desire to push themselves in new directions. This set-closer, Hey Girl, saw Millie Hall put down the saxophone and take centre stage, playing keys and sharing lead vocals with Holiday Sidewinder. Written by Hall, the poppy number was infectious enough to suggest it will soon be quite the crowd-pleaser, with Hall, Sidewinder and guitarist Pia May delivering some 60s girl-group singalong harmonies." (full review of festival...)

10. FLORENCE & THE MACHINE, Laneway Festival, Sydney
"Florence Welch ripped through the headline slot with gusto. By the time she ended with a winning trio of Dog Days Are Over, You've Got The Love and Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) - all of which showcased that lung-busting voice - she had the crowd going apeshit (full review of festival...)


Ineligible, to be honest (largely because representatives of made up part of the performance), but still worthy of a shout is David Ford's Milk and Cookies gig in December. Also due a mention are Kate Nash and Lily Allen's performances in Sydney.

Sydney-based artists that are well worth a look the next time they are playing in your neighbourhood are The Laurels, who - with their shoegazey post-grunge wall of noise - are Australia's most underrated band. Elsewhere, The Preachers put in an outstanding performance at Oxford Art Factory - they are fast becoming one of's favourite bands. Similarly, Cameras played a stunning show at the same venue. Meanwhile, Melbourne's Howl at the Moon played a winning set at King's Cross' World Bar.

One of the most unique and exciting artists in Sydney remains Kirin J Callinan . His boundary-pushing afternoon show at a warehouse in the iconic Hibernian House (above, photo courtesy of Emma Daniels) was the perfect example of how he brings something genuinely different and interesting to the table. Yeah, so it actually took place at the back end of 2009, but we didn't get a chance to mention in last year's review and, anyway, who's counting?

There are probably loads of other really awesome shows that we have overlooked, or that have been lost in a drunken blur, but these are the ones that have jumped to mind. Have we forgotten anything? let us know...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great round up bobby. Wish i could have been at Regina at the Opera House. WOW!