Favorite concerts of 2010.

Entries from previous years: 2000-2009 | 2009

In 2010, I went to 77 concerts at 28 venues in 6 states and saw a total of 195 bands. Here are some of the most memorable, in no particular order:

1. the Pitchfork Music Festival (16-18 July 2010, Union Park, Chicago, IL)
Yes, the P4k festival makes my list every year, and it’s partly because of the experience of catching up with old friends and partly because of the bands themselves: seeing killer sets by Robyn and by LCD Soundsystem, finally getting to see the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (I know, I know– where was I during the 1990s?!), talking politics and religion with a good friend during Pavement‘s fairly boring set, shooting photos of Sleigh Bells from the foot of the stage, running into a friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years during Beach House‘s sunny afternoon set, and seeing Lightning Bolt spit out its noisy attack from an actual stage. Not to mention the best chai tea latte on the planet, a gigantic slumber party in the P4k HQ, debates about Can-Neu!-Faust-Cluster, and learning how to keep up our perpetual groove. More, please!

2. Joanna Newsom (22 March 2010, the 6th & I Historic Synagogue, Washington, DC)
Newsom’s Have One On Me is one of my favorite albums of 2010, but it wasn’t just the strength of her songs that made this show (my review for Express is published here) so fantastic: it was her presence and the hushed silence of the venue that heightened the intensity of this show.

3. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan (15 October 2010, the Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington, DC)
Lanegan has made my list two years in a row– his show with Soulsavers was on my favorite concerts of 2009 list last year. His three albums with Isobel Campbell are hit-or-miss, but his voice is absolutely breathtaking, and his presence live– barely cracking a smile, barely making eye contact with the audience, tattoos on every phalanx of every finger– heightens the pain in his seductively gravelly voice.

4. Isis and the Melvins (16 June 2010, the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC)
Despite being a huge Isis fan, I’d never seen them live, but their final tour ever seemed like a good enough time to break that streak. This show was great– I can’t even begin to capture the details here, but our friend Chris over at DCHeavyMetal.com has a nice review posted here. The band was poorly-lit, but listening to the show in the darkness, I realized that it sounded as though Isis was playing with Travis Beans (i.e., my favorite guitars of all time). Once the lights went up, I saw that they were in fact EGCs, but hey, close enough– don’t know why I’ve been so out of the loop about Isis’s gear, but it just goes to show that these aluminum-necked beasts have one heck of a distinctive sound.

5. Arcade Fire and Spoon (6 August 2010, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD)
This concert remains memorable for me not so much because of the music (which was great, don’t get me wrong– my review for Express is posted here) but because of the experience. It was the first time in my concert-going career where I had a roadtrip/tailgate at a concert with a big group of friends. They all had seats up on the lawn, but they passed around my extra close-up ticket, so every 3-4 songs, I had a different friend standing next to me. It was such an incredible experience, watching everyone’s different reactions to the view and sound from close up, and it was pretty incredible to experience sharing music with other people when my concert-going ventures are usually solitary.

6. Swans (29 September 2010, the Black Cat, Washington, DC)
There’s so much I could say about this show; I said a lot of it in my review for Express, which is posted here. It’s almost impossible, though, to capture in words the experience of seeing live a band that I’d been waiting to see for 15 years, that I never thought I’d get to see. (see also: seeing the Jesus Lizard in 2009).

7. Jay-Z (3 March 2010, the Verizon Center, Washington, DC)
It’s no secret that I’m not really a huge hip-hop fan. I like some of it, sure, but it’s not what i seek out on a regular basis. Still, even I could appreciate how much Jay-Z absolutely killed it at his Verizon Center show in March (my original review, for Express, is posted here). After having just seen the Black-Eyed Peas phone it in at the same venue a few weeks earlier, it was refreshing and energizing to see a performer so invested in his live show.

The full list of bands I saw (alphabetically) is after the jump. Bands I saw more than once are listed in bold.
The Autumnshades.com 2010 concert attendance roster, listed alphabetically by band.

4 the Record
Alma Tropicalia
An Horse
Arcade Fire
Bad Veins
Badly Drawn Boy
Ball in the House
Basia Bulat
Beach House
Bear in Heaven
Belle & Sebastian
Ben Folds
Benjy Ferree
Best Coast
Big Boi
Billy Bragg
Billy Prince (of the Precisions)
Billy Woodward & the Senders
Black Cobra
Black Heart Procession
the Black-Eyed Peas
Blue Jupiter
Bobby Birdman
Bon Jovi
the Books
Broken Social Scene
Cartoon Johnny (x2)
Cass McCombs
Classic Sounds (x2)
Clearly Vocal
the Constellations
Corinne Bailey Rae
Cotton Jones
Crooked Fingers
Crowded House
Damien Jurado
Darren Hanlon
Dashboard Confessional
David Guetta
Dawn Landes
the Dead Weather
DJ Stylus
Drop Electric
Duke Rhythm & Blue
Eli “Paperboy” Reed & the True Loves (x2)
Emily Wells
Eugene Mirman
Euphonism (x2)
Far East Movement
the Faux Paz (U of MD)
Fii (x3)
Fitz & the Tantrums (x2)
Flint Hill School Major Minors
Frazey Ford
Freddie Gibbs
Free Energy
Frightened Rabbit (x2)
Guided By Voices
Hal Linton
Hank III & Assjack
Hannibal Buress
Here We Go Magic
High on Fire
Holy F*ck
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
Janelle Monáe
Jeremy Scott Ragsdale – Wes Carroll – Jonathan Minkoff trio
Joanna Newsom
the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Josh Ritter
Justin Jones
Justin Townes Earle
Juxtaposition (VA Tech)
Kaki King
Kellie Pickler
Kirk Whalum
Kismet (x3)
Kurt Vile
La Roux
Lady Gaga
Lawrence Arabia
LCD Soundsystem
Lightning Bolt
Local Natives
the Madeira School Sweet Ti
Major Lazer
Major Stars
Maps & Atlases
Masai Electro (x2)
Matt Shadetek with Jahdan Blakkamoore
the Melvins
Michael Showalter
Modest Mouse
Molly Hagen
Montgomery Blair HS InToneNation
the Moore Brothers
Mountain Main
the Nels Cline Singers
Neon Indian
New Found Glory
Nick Hornby
No Age
No Second Troy
Norah Jones
NOTA (x2)
the O’Danny Girls
Of Montreal
Olof Arnalds
Owl City
Panda Bear
Plants & Animals
Real Estate
the Red States (x4)
the Reserves
Retribution Gospel Choir
Roky Erickson
Sasha Dobson
Semi Precious Weapons
Sharon Van Etten
Sleigh Bells
the Smith Westerns
Smithsburg HS VoCaLoCo
Songs of My Life: a celebration of Jonathan Minkoff
Sonny & the Sunsets
South Lakes HS Chamber Singers
South Lakes HS LACE
South Lakes HS SMAC
Spirit Animal
St. Vincent
Sunday Afternoon
Surfer Blood
the Suspicious Cheese Lords
the Sweater Set
Sweet Apple
Take 6
the Tallest Man on Earth (x2)
Taylor Swift
Tegan & Sara
Thomas Jefferson HS Madrigals
Thomas Jefferson HS Manchoir
Thomas Jefferson HS Sirens
Titus Andronicus
the Tone Rangers
Tonic & Gin
Treble (x2)
Trey Songz
Trophy Wife
Victoria Vox
Voices of Truth
Washed Out
Wolf Parade
Wyatt Cenac
Young Jeezy
Zappa Plays Zappa
Zulal (x2)

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