This year I made the big move from Lubbock to Austin, and the transformation has done wonders for my live music fix. I should have been writing down all the awesome bands I saw this year (and the years before, for that matter) but alas, hindsight, she is 20/20 once again. I think this post covers the highlights more or less, however. There’s plenty of great live music I saw this year that I’m leaving out, but after the jump, in no particular order, are twelve of the best shows I witnessed in 2010, eleven of them right here in the Live Music Capital of the World.
And for the record, I wanted to put the Sleigh Bells show on here, as fun as it was once they finally started playing, but everyone who attended knows Beauty Bar is at fault for that show’s omission. What a disaster.
Big Boi – Dec. 4 – East Side Drive In
Where was I? -Up front the whole time.
What was I doing? -Waving my hands up and down, rapping along to every word.
Overall? – While the opener Vonegutt was cringe-worthy (imagine Maroon 5 with a rapper, if you can), Big Boi came out and made the evening a blast, churning out an insane amount of Outkast material alongside the highlights from his badass new solo disc.
FunFunFun Fest – Nov. 5-7 – Waterloo Park
Where was I? – All over the park, baby! Mainly the Orange stage.
Who did I see? – Weird Al Yankovic, Peelander Z, OFF!, Jeff the Brotherhood, Wavves, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Man Man, Dirty Projectors, Toro y Moi, Cults, Best Coast, Hold Steady, Dominique Young Unique, Big Freedia, Slick Rick, Dam-Funk, RJD2, Washed Out, A-Trak
Overall – Transmission knows the perfect mesh of punk and metal, dance and hip-hop, alternative comedy, local vendors, indie rock, and location. Not to mention the attendance is manageable enough you can actually walk around the damn place. I love this park! I love this festival! FFF Fest never fails!
Toadies/Thermals – Oct. 26 – Stubb’s/Red 7
Where was I? – In the middle of the crowd, stage right for Toadies; up front in the “pit” for Thermals
What was I doing? – Jumping up and down and screaming all the words like a little child (this goes for both shows)
Overall – When I found out two of my favorite live bands were playing the same night, my heart sank. I have to pick between the Toadies and the Thermals? Luckily, due to an outdoor noise curfew, I didn’t – Toadies finished up at 10:30, leaving me plenty of time to walk two blocks, catch the awesome Cymbals Eat Guitars, and watch the Thermals tear it up around 1 AM. It was a great night for live music, kids.
SXSW 2010 – Spring Break
What was I doing? – Drinking and trying to get up front to every show, I usually succeeded.
Who did I see? – Andrew WK, Surfer Blood, Best Coast, Japandroids, No Age, Local Natives, Washed Out, Besnard Lakes, Small Black, Free Energy, OMG so much more….
Overall – This was my fourth year to go, and as usual, it’s the best week of the year. I plan on attending every year for the foreseeable future. Best festival ever, hands down. Eat your heart out, CMJ.
Green Day – August 26 – Superpages.com Center – Dallas, TX
What was I doing? – Singing along with 10,000 other people for three hours.
Overall – Last time I saw Green Day was with a dear friend of mine who the world lost twelve days prior to this show. My good friend Sheldon was supposed to be at this concert with me, so attending was bittersweet. Nevertheless, we all had a great time. It was energetic, fun, and for our crew, sentimental. And Sheldon was right up front with us the whole time. I guarantee it. He wouldn’t miss a Green Day show for anything. Green Day has always been one of my favorite bands, but after this year, they mean so much more to me than they ever did.
Dwight Yoakam – June 5 – Nutty Brown Cafe
Where was I? – Take a wild guess…..front and center, of course!
What was I doing? – The best sing-along show of the whole year, and if you can’t tell, I did a lot of singing in 2010.
Overall – Dwight is a personal hero of mine. I’ve been a lifelong fan; he was my first concert back in 1996 (I was nine years old at the time). Seeing him again in all his glory was an experience I will never forget…until I catch him again when he rolls back into town, of course.
Deftones – Oct. 19 – Stubb’s
Where was I? – Stage right, middle of the crowd
What was I doing? – Fist-pumping, head banging, jumping, screaming like crazy
Overall – Another lifelong goal accomplished this year – I have bought tickets three times to see Deftones, but for one reason or another, I had to miss the first two. Third time’s a charm, and it was definitely worth the wait.
Pixies – Sep. 22 – Austin Music Hall
Where was I? – Near the back.
What was I doing? – Singing along with my wasted friend Dustin, whose memory of the show is spotty.
Overall – Amazing hearing Doolittle in its entirety, and the encore of hits sounded great as well. The walk home wasn’t fun (my friends could not stand, and we had a long way to go), but the show was incredible. Obviously. It’s the Pixies, man.
Josh Ritter – June 14 – Waterloo Records
What was I doing? – Fawning over a redhead with a guitar and a pretty voice, staring in awe.
Overall – The entire record store was packed, but you couldn’t hear anything except Ritter’s sweet sweet voice alongside that indistinct plucking. He was only supposed to play for twenty minutes; he gave us an hour. Beautiful performance.
New Pornographers – July 23, 2010 – Stubb’s
Where was I? – In the middle, stage right
What was I doing? – Dancing til my legs were sore
Overall – Do yourself a favor – see this band before you die. On a related note, this show is audible proof Stubb’s is the best sounding venue in town, without a doubt.
Hanson – Nov. 2 – Antone’s
Where was I? – In the back, unfortunately. We should have shown up earlier, but it didn’t matter really. The majority of Hanson fans, believe it or not, are short girls. I could see very well.
What was I doing? – Surprisingly enjoying myself way more than I thought I was going to.
Overall – This show fucking ruled. I know how funny it is to read that about a Hanson show, but these guys have come a long way from “Mmm Bop.” They are impeccable songwriters and amazing vocalists, and their fan base is one of the most dedicated I’ve ever seen. When I didn’t know the words, which was often, I felt left out.
Dead Confederate – Aug. 28 – Mohawk
What was I doing? – A lot of slow head-banging (I would grow my hair out just to rock out to this band).
Overall – My buddy Daniel Markham told me I should check these guys out months before I saw them by chance that August night. Markham, I will take your advice quicker next time. These guys were loud, and I love loud.