>> Wednesday, December 30, 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.
1. Peter Bjorn and John w/ Chairlift
Venue: Phoenix Concert Theatre
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
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
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.
Venue: The Pyramid
Date: October 30
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
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