Oh live music, you are my weakness! Every year, I go to an obscene number of live shows—and every year, I’m blown away by the energy, enthusiasm and straight up legitimacy of so many touring bands. Here are 5 shows I’ll remember most from 2010.
5. The Arcade Fire at the Mann Center
This August, everyone’s favorite Canadian tastemasters stopped by the Mann Center for a passionate exuberant, performance—whose grandeur and soaring, multi-part harmonies transfixed even fans at the verrrrrrrrrry back of the amphitheater, much to the chagrin of overshadowed openers Spoon.
(See also: Arcade Fire coaxes grand catharsis)
4. Yo La Tengo at the XPoNential Music Festival
Jersey rock vets YLT have always been known for their creative and inventive shows, and this summer, they surprised and thrilled XPoNential fans young and old, by joining forces with the Sun Ra Arkestra, rolling on the floor, and rocking out with the fury of 100,000 criminal saxophone solos.
(See also: An extraordinary XPoNential experience)
3. Sufjan Stevens at the Academy of Music
Eccentric mastermind Sufjan Stevens never operates without a vision and his latest—the wacky, schizophrenic Age of Adz—comes to life in stunning, Technicolor splendor during a multi-sensory 2-hour spectacular that plays like a Broadway production. Featuring 3-D visuals, dancers, and a 10-piece backing band clad in futuristic costumes that reels you in from start to finish.
(See also: Sufjan Stevens brings Age of Adz to life)
2. Guided by Voices at the Trocadero
GBV are one of my all-time favorite ‘90s indie bands, and this performance felt nothing short of epic, as the band strummed, thrashed and drank themselves through 2 hours of messy, word-y garage rock anthems—plus 3 encores, and a communal bottle of Jose Cuervo that was passed among the rowdy crowd.
(See also: Guided by Voices reunite for U.S. tour)
1. Making Time with LCD Soundsystem at the Naval Yard
Undoubtedly the event of the year, Making Time with LCD Soundsystem was the show my friends and I looked forward to all summer long, and every second felt goddamn indulgent: drinking Four Loko while waiting for the shuttle bus (noticing everyone else was drinking Four Loko too); scouting out friends in the massively massive entrance line; head-banging to Sleigh Bells; working our way to the front, rocking out, and sweating during LCD; then washing it all down with waterdown vodka tonics and hanging with the smokers while the DJs took over—until, finally—wandering through South Philly drunk, looking for the damn shuttle bus once more and meeting new friends on the cab ride back, who we swore we’d catch up with at the next Making Time. Yeah, pretty sure that sums it up. Best party of the year, hot damn.
(See also: Making Time with LCD Soundsystem)