It’s always hard to nail down your favourite gigs of the year. Sometimes it’s the company you keep; sometimes it’s the excitement in the crowd; sometimes it’s the sound that blows you away. These top 5 gigs were the cream of the crop of my gigging life in 2011.
5. the Coronas at Washington’s Red Palace (Tuesday 8th March 2011) – When you play in a town for the first time, you need to endear yourself to the audience. This Irish band lit up the crowd at this relatively newbie club on the DC scene.
3. White Lies at Washington’s 9:30 Club (Friday 20th May 2011) – The first time Harry McVeigh, Charles Cave and Jack Lawrence-Brown strolled into town (with Friendly Fires as co-headliners at the Cat), they looked very uncomfortable and unsure of themselves. Two years and 2 months later, they returned, dripping with confidence and swagger. They first appeared to us as boys; now they are men!
2. Dutch Uncles at Manchester Deaf Institute (Friday 2nd December 2011) – Manchester band at the top of their game, at home, in front of an adoring crowd. ‘nuff said.
1. Casiokids at Washington’s DC9 (Monday 17th October 2011) – Not too many bands can turn a sleepy, cold club on a Monday night in Washington into an all-out dance party. But Casiokids can – and did. Unbelievable. Definitely the most fun at a gig I’ve had all year, all courtesy of a couple of guys from Norway.
After the jump is a full list of all the gigs, in reverse chronological order, that I’ve been to in 2011 so you can have some idea how difficult my job was to choose favourites for the top 5 list. The runner-up gigs (gigs that fell were in my top 10 but did not make my top 5) are also marked.
* Dutch Uncles Now Wave show (Fiction supporting) – 02.12.11 – Deaf Institute, Manchester, England (#2 on the top 5 list)
* Example (Fenech-Soler supporting) – 01.12.11 – Apollo, Manchester, England
* Exit Ten (A Thousand Autumns, Tomorrow We Radio, and Fei Comodo supporting) – 29.11.11 – Fibbers, York, England
* Billie Butterfly fund ‘Magic in the Air’ charity show featuring Everything Everything, I Am Kloot, and Badly Drawn Boy – 28.11.11 – Comedy Store, Manchester, England
* City Reign EP launch (Stella Marconi and Modern Alarms supporting) – 26.11.11 – Gulliver’s, Manchester, England
* Blonde Louis homecoming show (Monaco Club and Camus the Cat supporting) – 25.11.11 – Plinston Hall, Letchworth, England
* Cashier No. 9 (Kowalski supporting) – 24.11.11 – XOYO, London Old Street, England – my There Goes the Fear review
* Pete and the Pirates (The Catcher 9 supporting) – 22.11.11 – Buffalo Bar, London Islington, England – honourable mention
* City Reign (Wire Trees and Ulysses supporting) – 19.11.11 – Bull and Gate, London Kentish Town, England
* I Dream in Colour single launch show (Heroics and Anchor and the Dove supporting) – 18.11.11 – Bull and Gate, London Kentish Town, England
* Fanfarlo (Double Ghost supporting) – 29.10.11 – Red Palace, Washington, DC
* Brandt Brauer Frick – 28.10.11 – Red Palace, Washington, DC
* M83 (Active Child supporting) – 28.10.11 (early show) – Black Cat, Washington, DC
* We Were Promised Jetpacks (Royal Bangs and Bear Hands supporting) – 27.10.11 – Black Cat, Washington, DC
* Metronomy (Class Actress supporting) – 22.10.11 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Washington, DC
* the Wombats (the Static Jacks and the Postelles supporting) – 21.10.11 (early show) – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – honourable mention
* Casiokids (Hundred Visions supporting) – 17.10.11 – DC9, Washington, DC (#1 on the top 5 list)
* Bryan Ferry (Phenomenal Handclap Band supporting) – 03.10.11 – Strathmore Hall, Bethesda, MD
* Laura Marling (Alessi’s Ark supporting) – 27.09.11 – Sixth and I Synagogue, Washington, DC
* Elbow (Glasser supporting) – 22.09.11 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
* Erasure (Frankmusik supporting) – 06.09.11 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
* the Script (Hot Chelle Rae supporting) – 01.09.11 – DAR Constitution Hall, Washington, DC – honourable mention
* Viva Brother (1,2,3 supporting) – 26.07.11 – Black Cat Backstage, Washington, DC – honourable mention
* Wild Beasts (Milagres supporting) – 16.07.11 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
* Noah and the Whale (Bahamas supporting) – 17.06.11 (late show) – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
* the Postelles (the Dig and Ambassadors supporting) – 11.06.11 – Red Palace, Washington, DC
* Friendly Fires (Wise Blood supporting) – 26.05.11 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
* White Lies (Sun Airway and Asobi Seksu supporting) – 20.05.11 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC (#3 on the top 5 list)
* Lykke Li (Grimes supporting) – 15.05.11 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
* Frank Turner (Justin Jones supporting) – 29.04.11 – Red Palace, Washington, DC
* the Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Twin Shadow supporting) – 01.04.11 – Black Cat, Washington, DC
* Cut Copy (Holy Ghost! supporting) – 30.03.11 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
* the Joy Formidable (The Lonely Forest and Mona supporting) – 25.03.11 – Black Cat, Washington, DC (#4 on the top 5 list)
* OMD (Oh Land supporting) – 10.03.11 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – honourable mention
* the Coronas (the Kin supporting) – 08.03.11 – Red Palace, Washington, DC (#5 on the top 5 list)
* the Postelles (Dinosaur Bones and Snowmine supporting) – 12.02.11 – Red Palace, Washington, DC
* Tokyo Police Club and Two Door Cinema Club (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin supporting) – 20.01.11 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC