My Fav Shows Of 2009

>> Wednesday, 30 December 2009

28 concerts this year!

Not bad for a guy who watches a lot of TV.

Attending most of the 28 shows was, admittedly, a no-brainer. Too many great bands dropped by this year, many playing Winnipeg for the first time. Renowned indie heavyweights TV on the Radio, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party all swung by the Burt. The revamped West End opened to gushing approval and hosted the likes of The Hold Steady, The Dears, Sunset Rubdown, and Final Fantasy (for a pair of nights.) Icelandic moodscapers múm paid their first visit to New Iceland. Plus, music lovers all across town packed venues to see the late-great Vic Chesnutt, Metric, The Weakerthans, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and The Sea and Cake.

Then there's the parade of up-and-comers like Japandroids, Ohbijou!, Lioness, and Grand Analog who dazzled small crowds at the Lo, the Pyramid, etc.

Unfortunately, for the first time in four years, I didn't get a chance to catch a show in magical Minneapolis, although, for the record, I intended to check out The National @ First Avenue in the summer but the date clashed with a good friend's wedding rehearsal. He wouldn't have forgiven me. Still, I considered going.

Fortunately, I flew to Toronto and saw three amazing shows in four nights: Flight of the Conchords, Ladyhawke, and Peter Bjorn and John.

And let's not forget the impossibly great Folk Fest lineup.

My Five:

1. Peter Bjorn and John w/ Chairlift
Venue: Phoenix Concert Theatre
Location: Toronto
Cost: ~$26
Date: April 25

A succinct 75-minutes of blissful pop performed by three Swedes oozing charisma and stage presence. The encore was the most sublime music experience this year: an extended version of "Up Against The Wall" that morphed into Joy Division's legendary "Transmission."

2. TV on the Radio w/ Dirty Projectors
Venue: The Burton Cummings Theatre
Location: Winnipeg
Cost: ~$35
Date: May 30

Again, a short, 75-minute show. Again, frontman Tunde Adebimpe exuded charisma and stage presence. Perhaps a trend is emerging here? As a bonus, I got to see rising stars Dirty Projectors before they went supernova.

3. Flight of the Conchords w/ Eugene Mirmam (the landlord on the show)
Venue: Massey Hall
Location: Toronto
Cost: ~$62
Date: April 22

Spontaneity was the special-of-the-day here. The hilarious boys from New Zealand noticed anyone who left, hit the bathroom, or, in the case of one very embarrassed gentleman, recording the show. All were subjected to impromptu and witty remarks. This show really made me appreciate the second season tunes, songs I was lukewarm to upon first hearing.

4. múm
Venue: The Pyramid
Location: Winnipeg
Date: October 30
Cost: ~$20

An evening of firsts. First time Iceland's third-greatest-musical-export played New Iceland (aka Winnipeg.) First time I have ever attended a show at the Pyramid that ended by 10:30. On a weekend to boot.

5. Final Fantasy w/ Timber Timbre
Venue: The West End Cultural Centre
Location: Winnipeg
Cost: ~$20
Date: October 2

My fourth time seeing the-artist-formerly-known-as Final Fantasy. He continued his amazing streak of bringing along ridiculously talented openers.

Honourable Mentions (in no order):

Plants & Animals @ The Park Theatre
Sunset Rubdown @ The WECC
Cut Off Your Hands @ The Albert
Iron & Wine, Josh Ritter, Neko Case et alia @ The Winnipeg Folk Festival
Bloc Party @ The Burt
Grand Analog @ The Pyramid

What were some of your favourite concert adventures this year?

Infinite Playlist: Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3


Sarah,  31 December 2009 at 10:39  

Some of my favorites were:

Josh Ritter, Okkervil River, Iron & Wine @ Folk Fest
The Hold Steady
Sunset Rubdown

I didn't go to enough shows this year. Hoping to catch more in 2010!

Young Icelander,  31 December 2009 at 10:58  

I saw The National in Minneapolis. It was my favorite show of the year hands down.

jgraff,  31 December 2009 at 14:27  

Mastodon at the Garrick.
Your face has been melted, goodnight!

Jeope 1 January 2010 at 15:13  

A Folk Fest jam session with Danny Barnes, Socalled, C.R. Avery and Patrick Watson floored me this year. I had never seen anything like it.

Rieds 3 January 2010 at 13:02  

Top 5, no order:
- Final Fantasy @ West End Cultural Center
- Franz Ferdinand @ Burton Cummings Theatre
- Gogol Bordello @ Burton Cummings Theatre
- Plants and Animals @ Park Theatre
- Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains @ Pyramid Cabaret

Anonymous,  3 January 2010 at 14:47  

Manic Street Preachers @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
Bloc Party @ Burton Cummings Theatre
Franz Ferdinand @ Burton Cummings Theatre
Mother Mother @ The Pyramid
Billy Bragg @ Burton Cummings Theatre
TV on the Radio @ Burton Cummings Theatre

CreativeNige 4 January 2010 at 14:33  

I'm still kicking myself for missing Mastodon at the Garrick. Didn't Baroness open for them that night?

My favourites were The Tragically Hip, September 10 at the Concert Hall and The Hold Steady, September 24 at the WECC. At both concerts, I found myself shouting out lyrics to songs alongside people I would otherwise have absolutely nothing in common with. That's music, bringing people together!

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