So by my very rough count I saw about 45 shows this year. That includes a few festivals (Big Day Out, Laneway, Great Escape, Homebake), shows in LA and Vancouver, shows in record stores, shows in backyards, and shows in stadiums. And it’s tough to isolate just a few shows but, hey, it’s a listy time of year. So, in no particular order, here are the best gigs I saw in 2006. If you weren’t at these gigs, you suck.
I’d seen them before but nothing prepared me for how friggin ON Broken Social Scene were at their final ‘proper’ Australian gig. The band played for nearly three hours, played everything I could have wanted to hear, and just completely slayed. Easily the best gig I saw in Sydney this year and easily one of the best gigs I have ever seen in my life. Setlist and original review here and photos here.
Biased? Sure. But it’s always special whenever I see Radiohead and even more so when it’s in a small venue. The Greek Theatre in LA is buried up in the hills overlooking the city and I felt very lucky both nights to be heading up to the very sold out shows with friends I don’t get to see nearly enough. The first night was special as it was my first time hearing the new songs live and we got a full version of Follow Me Around on the Rhodes. But the second night was a far better show as the band were far more intense. And we got True Love Waits on the Rhodes. And the somewhat rarish Bones. The new songs were fabulous both nights. 15 Step is just insane when you’re actually there and Videotape is one of the most beautiful songs they’ve ever done. LP7 should be pretty damn good. But the shows in LA…well I still get a thrill every time I see them live. Orignal reviews/setlists here and here and photos here.
How good are the Constantines? I’m relatively new to this band so it wasn’t until this year that I finally saw them live. I have since repeatedly kicked myself for not seeing them sooner. Kicking off with Draw Us Lines and never looking back, Guelph’s favourite sons (screw any Guelphian (?) hockey players) proceeded to blow me away with every song they played. And the crowd just lapped it all up. Please come to Australia. I’ll friggin sell your merch, get your beer, and drive you to all your gigs. Just come. Original review here and photos here.
If you’ve seen this band live you know what I’m talking about. Punk music that you can actually dance to. Sweat, the most limber frontman going, music with a message…and you know what? All that and they still make it fun to be there. Seeing the Noise Conspiracy negotiate the tiny stage at the Annandale was great too. Original review here and photos here.
And some very, very honourable mentions go to The White Stripes @ Hordern Pavilion, Sigur Ros @ The Enmore, The Grates @ The Metro, Belle and Sebastian @ The Enmore, The Mess Hall @ The Annandale, Young and Restless @ Candy’s, The Drones @ The Gaelic Club, Die! Die! Die! / Gotye / The Basics @ Homebake, and Noel Gallagher @ The Enmore. Not a bad year I must say.