Take 2 parts Sleater Kinney, plus 1 part Helium, plus 1 part Minders and you get an incredible super-group of ladies. Not to mention they had only been a band for 2 or 3 months before embarking on their first tour and they were incredibly tight together! Can’t wait for recorded material!
Go Sailor @ Slumberland Records' 20th Anniversary @ The Rickshaw Stop (San Francisco)
I have been waiting YEARS to see this band actually play live. I got into them 4 or 5 years after they had broken up and shat myself when it was announced that they were reuniting for 3 shows. It was everything I had hoped for, plus that day also saw reunions of Henry’s Dress and Boyracer as well, but nothing compared to Rose, Linton and Paul playing the most influential songs of my 20’s.
Need/Bangs/CAverage/Thrones @ Berbati’s Pan (Portland)
Another case where I got into The Need right after they had broken up. This was a special experience because it also involved a road trip up to the Northwest with co-workers and friends. The Need were unbelievable! Bangs, who I saw the last time at their last show in Olympia, were spot on, and CAverage and Thrones completed the throwback to the Evergreen days for me. It made me want to move back up to the Northwest, so that definitely lands it on this list, if not list of best show experiences ever.
Pinhead Gunpowder/Grass Widow/Fleabag/Mutoid Men/Dirty Marquee @ 924 Gilman St (Berkeley)
Everything about this show was incredible. Waiting in line in the rain, each band being so so so good, great crowd energy, the power shutting down right before PHGP went on and them running through 4 or so songs without any amps or mics and everyone singing along. Plus Billie in a dress. Yes!
This was the only Noise Pop show I went to during the 2010 fest, but it was a truly magical experience. Carletta Sue Kay completely blew me away, seeing them for the first time and loving their musical-esqe vocals and creepy backing music. My old high school buddy Dave Smallen played his heart out and was well received by a crowd that for the most part had never heard of him. Horse Feathers were captivating. And then there was Mirah and Thao, who just go hand in hand, singing each other’s songs. Maybe it was the venue or the performers or the crowd, but the energy during their set was really something special. I was glad to see it went so well and that they’re recording a record and did a tour together.
Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter interviewed by Patton Oswaldt @ The Herbst Theater (San Francisco)
This was supposed to be a part of Sketchfest at the end of January of 2010, but the week prior to the event, the whole fiasco with Conan and NBC went down, so he postponed. I had assumed the event was canceled, but when they announced that it was back on 7 months later, I was very excited. Upon coming out to introduce Conan and Andy, Patton Oswaldt mentioned to the audience that they had been drinking before the show and that everyone was a bit tipsy. They then proceeded to drink a bottle of wine apiece throughout the THREE HOURS they discussed comedy, Conan’s departure from NBC, and a very awkward Q&A from the audience.
Guitar Wolf and Midnight Snaxxx @ Bottom of the Hill (San Francisco)
This was probably the loudest show I went to all year. As a result of seeing the reunited Japanese Rock n Roll band, Guitar Wolf (minus Basswolf, RIP), my ears seem to have permanent damage and I have to wear earplugs at all shows now. But was it worth it? Abso-fucking-lutely!
Murder City Devils @ The Great American Music Hall (San Francisco)
I have seen the Devils countless times and every reunion tour they have done since jumping back into playing shows in 2006, but jeez, no matter how old they get, they never “get old.” This round I somehow ended up at the front of the stage and got the mic shoved in my face a couple times. Plus they played a Birthday Party cover and a brand new song, which kinda made my night. Please start playing regularly again, thanx!
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists @ The Great American Music Hall (San Francisco)
I have also seen Ted Leo more times than I can count, but his performance this year in support of his latest record, The Brutalist Bricks, was probably the best I’ve seen him play since 2003. Rocketing through all of the punkest songs in his catalog, it was the same Ted, but with a vigor that no normal jaded indie-rocker can channel better.
Amoebapalooza 2010 @ The Stork Club (Oakland)
This year’s East Bay Amoebapalooza was so fucking fun! Not only did almost all of the staff come out (including most of the old folks who don’t normally stay out past 9pm), but also the showcase of talent that we currently have in our store was great to see. Lots of raw rock ‘n’ covers, plus drunkenly playing a bunch of Reatards covers was a personal highlight.
(No videos, unfortunately, but see more pics and read all about it right here!)
This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of how many shows I went to this year, so here are just a few runners up:
-The All Girl Summer Fun Band @ SF Popfest
-Talk is Poison/Saviours @ Gilman St.
-Street Eaters/Hail Seizures @ The Apgar House in Oakland
-Homewreckers/Sourpatch/Big Kids @ The Info Shop in San Jose