Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Favourite Concerts of 2009

Phoenix' Thomas Mars @ Phoenix Concert Theatre: photo by Michael LigonLike my favourite concerts of the year list last year, this year I've posted each of my choices with a little blurb from my original review as well of course a link to the full review. Unlike last year, I've decided to rank my list. Number one and two of my list were easily no questions, although after that it was a little harder to rank the rest of the list. For the purpose of my list below I limited my choices to shows in Toronto of course, leaving my out-of-town concert experiences(mainly the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain and Osheaga Music and Arts in Montreal) out of the running (although Primavera and Osheaga were awesome experiences in themselves). So without further ado:

11. Bat For Lashes @ The Mod Club (Apr 25, 2009) (full review)

"It was a nicely varied sounding set ranging from the invading pop of "Horse and I", the danceable "What's A Girl Got To Do", the scintillating electro-pop of "Daniel"(included twice in the set in both a quiet and 'bigger' version), and the tribal-stomp dance-pop of "Sleep Alone". Sensitive, sultry, emotional and charistmatic, as well as being one heck of a songwriter, Ms. Khan has all the makings of success. For sure, next time she won't be playing The Mod Club."

10. Lily Allen @ Sound Academy (Apr 22, 2009) (full review)

"However, two and half years later with the release of her sophomore album "It's Not Me It's You" seems like a long time and I'd doubted whether Sound Academy was too large of a venue for Lily but witnessing the nearly sold-out crowd and many in attendance (mostly young ladies) singing along to the new songs was ample evidence that Lily's more popular than ever....Maybe it was because Toronto was the last stop of her current North American stop that Lily Allen seemed in such high spirits. Or maybe it was she'd had a little to drink but whatever it was she was happy."

09. Wilco @ Massey Hall (Oct 15, 2009) (full review)

"Undoubtedly it was the next song "You and I" featuring a guest appearance from hometown girl Leslie Feist that had everyone in rapture as audibly could be heard as Feist walked onto the stage, performed the song dutifully then left the stage. Such a treat it was for us to see her since she hadn't made an appearance the previous night. The show could have perhaps ended on that high note but as if to expend us of all our new-found energy entirely, the band ran through the next three uptempo songs, "Casino Queen", "Kingpin" and "I'm A Wheel" forcefully before bidding goodnight and promising to return for a cross-country Canadian tour in the new year."

08. Dan Auerbach @ Phoenix Concert Theatre (Nov 7, 2009) (full review)

"Listening to the album["Keep It Hid"] didn't necessarily prepare me nor the audience for the volume that would hit us during Auerbach's live set. It felt as if Auerbach decided to crank up the amps to ten, the effect being ever more brutal to the eardrums (and thank God for earplugs). As loud as it was, it still seemed tolerable, and the added crunch was more than appreciated."

07. Glasvegas @ The Mod Club (Apr 3, 2009) (full review)

"Even in a venue as intimate as The Mod Club, at the end of the show James proceeded to play up to the audience applause and cheers, and as if he were looking out at a stadium-sized sea of people, he proceeded to point to every part of the venue including the balcony as if he were thanking us one by one for giving them the best show of their life."

06. The Airborne Toxic Event @ The Mod Club (Mar 4, 2009) (full review)

"Maybe it was with a little serendipity that I heard their magnificent single 'Sometime Around Midnight' on The Edge a few months back and actually enjoyed it immensely - it's a song that builds from quietly sung vocals and guitar strums to a swell of instrumentation and strings with the urgency and sonic similarities of Arcade Fire. And I here I thought that mainstream alternative rock radio had gone down the shithole."

05. Franz Ferdinand @ Kool Haus (May 4, 2009) (full review)

"While lead vocalist Alex Kapranos and band are one of the most dapper-looking bands today, they created an intensely exciting vibe on stage (something that's perhaps a little muted on record)."

04. Echo and The Bunnymen @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre (Oct 20, 2009) (full review)

"But man those strings, oh those glorious strings. It was pure heaven."

03. The Hold Steady @ Lee's Palace (Sept 27, 2009) (full review)

"I know it's a good show when the energy of both the band and the audience drives me to pogo, which I rarely do. I must say it's transcendental."

02. Broken Social Scene @ Harbourfront Centre, Sirius Satellite Radio Stage (July 11, 2009) (full review)

"For all intentions, this seemed like the band's last song as Kevin thanked the crowd and the band walked off but to the audience chant of "one more song", they came back for an ecstatic rendition of "Major Label Debut". A stunning conclusion to a stunning evening. The memories of the evening may likely fade away but it's the good feelings which will remain."

01. Phoenix @ Phoenix Concert Theatre (June 15, 2009) (full review)

"It might sound cliched but it was the best show of the year so far and whereas I'd expected NXNE to be my unofficial start to my summer good times, Phoenix's show stepped in and kicked it off with a bang."

Further reference -- outdoor music festivals I attended in 2009:

- Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona, Spain (May 28-31, 2009) --- review
- Osheaga Music & Arts, Montreal, Quebec (Aug 1-2, 2009) --- review
- Virgin Festival, Toronto, Ontario (Aug 29-30, 2009) --- review - day one, review - day two

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