Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 10 Concerts Of 2009

Obviously, these are only concerts I have seen; so all this Radiohead/Muse/Coldplay bollocks will have to go elsewhere for their praise.

10) LITTLE BOOTS (12th March – 53 Degrees, Preston)
Normally I wouldn’t have two concerts by the same artists in this list (which kinda gives away that the lovely Victoria will be making another appearance as we go along I know) but I had to make an exception to my own rule this year. It’s not just the concert itself (which was amazing, naturally) but the whole day just made for one hell of an entertaining schmozzle. An on/off train journey was followed by a hotel that was 10 miles away from where my mate thought it was. Then there was enough alcohol to make Oliver Reed proud, meeting Little Boots’ brother who then introduced us to half their extended family (including her mum), being chatted up (and being taught dance moves) by a group of teenagers and failing to remember how we made it back to the hotel. This was finished with both of us being so sick that the sink almost overflowed, although we just about managed to clean up. The concert itself was great as well….

9) TAYLOR SWIFT (24th November – MEN Arena, Manchester)
Whilst I did expect there to be some youngsters in the crowd for this one, I was not prepared for there to be quite so bloody many screaming young pre-teen girls. At least I went to this one with my mate Marie and not my usual concert-going partner Gee as TWO men in their 30’s sat amongst the kids might not have been the best look. In amongst the incessant screaming and me being hit on the head with a glow stick, this was a very good spectacle although it was all a little High School Musical for my tastes. That said, I can appreciate the effort that was put into it all, and Miss Swift does have some killer tunes to back up the glitz and glamour.

8) LADYHAWKE (17th May – Academy 2, Manchester)
Another “Matt was pissed” night, but what are you going to do? This was one of those concerts where I was a little wary of what to expect, but in the end it turned out quite brilliant.

7) PALOMA FAITH (17th November – 02 Academy, Liverpool)
She as mad as a bag of spanners, but very very good live. I also appreciated the fact that she’d put some effort into her show.

6) LISA MITCHELL (11th November – Night & Day, Manchester)
Singer-songwriters are ten a penny at the moment, so it does take something a little special to stand out. Lisa Mitchell, who came through Australian Idol or something similar, is indeed something special. She’s very very lovely as well. So lovely, I felt compelled to buy a Lisa Mitchell tea-towel.

5) IMELDA MAY (11th February – Baby Blue, Liverpool)
This would have got it for the Tainted Love cover alone, and for the fact that it was one of the few concerts of the year where I didn’t feel old (even though those two jailbaits were obviously trying to make a move on us), but Imelda May comes into her own in the live arena.

4) FRANZ FERDINAND (6th March – Academy 1, Manchester)
Critically their reputation is shot, but they are still the duck’s nuts as far as I am concerned and for nearly two hours they thrilled with great track after great track and, perhaps just as importantly, seemed to be having a good time themselves!

3) LITTLE BOOTS (10th December – Academy 2, Manchester)
So here she is again. This was the 4th time in 2009 that I saw Little Boots in concert and it was undoubtedly the best. The nerves from her summer performances had dissipated and a much more confident performer was stood before us, belting out some of the best pop tunes of the year.

2) PET SHOP BOYS (20th December- MEN Arena, Manchester)
Well, ok, I am biased, but Pet Shop Boys are THE greatest pop act of the last 25 years, and this triumphant show was another of their spectacular live shows. Who would have thought so much entertainment could have been generated by 200-odd cardboard boxes? I also appreciated the song choice (including album tracks from Please) though I can imagine that more casual fans may have been more interested in the hits. The addition of What Have I Done To Deserve This and the Christmas encore made this the stand out show of the three of theirs I saw in 2009.

1) JENNY LEWIS (26th June – House Of Blues, New Orleans)
It’s probably predictable, but in the end there was no other choice. I didn’t even know she was playing in New Orleans when we got there, but a chance detour after a ride on a Mississippi River Steamboat found us walking past the House Of Blues. “Does that really say Jenny Lewis…tonight?” As she’s made it to number one in this list, obviously it did. Perhaps it was the booze (although Al, who’d just turned 30 and is 6 foot 7 couldn’t drink because he had no ID) or perhaps it was the fact that we were in a warmer climate (though not necessarily drier) but seeing the delightful Ms Lewis in this setting just seemed perfect and she seemed better than ever.