Outstanding Gigs of 2011 (with videos)


6 Ene 2012, 21:24

Ordered by date, below are the most outstanding gigs I attended in 2011, along with the occasional video and photo I took at them.

Mélanie Pain
Jazz Café, London
A largely wonderful semi-acoustic set, with just Mélanie, a guitarist and keyboardist/pianist, which made a nice change from a full band and suited the songs well. I loved this gig!

The Deaf Institute, Manchester
Great stuff...Doctor Rhythm seemed a bit temperamental but Norman and Euros were definitely playing up to that which added to the laughs. Fantastic sounding vocal harmonies, good songs and great interaction between the duo. I've never seen so many smiling people at a gig. If you're wondering, Doctor Rhythm is a cheap drum-machine.

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Manchester Academy 2
Awesome sounding at times. One of the new songs, Summer Of Dead Souls, was a highlight. I was right in the action at the front and I don't do that often these days.

Mono and The Holy Ground Orchestra
Koko, Camden
The orchestra/Mono combination sounded spine-tinglingly, hairs standing on end incredible on occasions. If only Mono were as well known as Sigur Rós so they could do things like this more often.

Heather Findlay & Chris Johnson
The Café 68, York
Intimate, special occasion for a live album recording, with only around thirty people in the audience. Acoustic versions of Evergreen, Magpie (a rearranged Odin Dragonfly song I didn't recognise) and Yellow Time sounded great, as did pretty much everything from The Phoenix Suite, and Heather singing Chris' Silver Glass - which was brilliant as I wasn't fan of the vocals on the original track.

Manchester Academy
This is a band I'd recommend anyone into live music see - excluding a cancelled gig, I can't believe I waited ten years to see them. Highlights from the new album included opener Art of Almost and Dawned On Me. The gig was good for the first half, but from Box Full of Letters onwards it was fantastic. I didn't expect to hear a song from A.M. (probably my favourite Wilco album) so that more than made up for the omission of Jesus, Etc. Handshake Drugs has always been okay on record, but tonight it was one of the highlights, with Nils Lofgren, the lead guitarist (and one of the best I've seen live), casually shredding his guitar to bits in the background. Impossible Germany is one of the best live songs I've ever heard. Looking at the setlist from Glasgow the previous night, it was disappointing we didn't get California Stars too, especially considering I've just noticed three less songs were played in Manchester! It was a great gig though.

Fountains of Wayne
Club Academy, Manchester
Yes yes. Everything off the debut sounded meaty and fantastic. All of the new songs sounded great, Cold Comfort Flowers being a highlight, and even those not amongst my favourites (e.g. Dip in the Ocean). It Must Be Summer as the sole song from Utopia Parkway was a shame but it sounded great. Stacy's Mom lounge version was fun(ish).

There are tall people in the way below, but it's interesting to see the guys discuss what they'll play next during the covers section of Radiation Vibe:

Heather Findlay
The Robin 2, Bilston
Fantastic in full-band form. Highlights included Phoenix, the totally unplugged Flowers for Guns (below), Unoriginal Sin (never one of my favourite Mostly Autumn songs, but the re-jigged version tonight was superb) and of course Shrinking Violet, even without the flutes. I loved the Dave Kilminster flute lines on guitar during Caught in a Fold.

Manic Street Preachers
O2 Arena, London
The night I found out Send Away the Tigers wasn't a single - either that, or they'd forgotten to play it. They hadn't forgotten, all 38 singles were played, with guest appearances from Nina Persson and Gruff Rhys, who played guitar and sang lead vocals on Let Robeson Sing - his voice added an interesting dimension. Despite spending most of the day in bed with a flu-like-illness, this was excellent (the comfy seats helped), and I was surprised the sound was so good considering I was high up on a side-tier. I was also sat next to a guy who had flown from the Orkney Islands for the gig, which was pretty cool! The next morning I met someone who had flown from Belfast to see it, so it seemed people came from all over the place. It was well worth it for me, I'd call it a privilege to be there.

There weren't any really bad gigs, but Arcade Fire and The Naked and Famous were disappointing. Away from the visual highlight of The Flaming Lips, Alice Gold sounded best at the Transmission festival at Jodrell Bank. Other highlights this year included the ever reliable British Sea Power and The Darkness, who I enjoyed much more than I expected to, after a lacklustre gig in 2003. Their new material sounded good too. I missed out on seeing Blonde Redhead (again), I wish I'd gone to see Tim Booth and I also missed out on seeing Imelda May for about the third time due to a holiday. Now she's quite famous and playing much bigger venues than she was a year ago - a shame that is (for me!).



All Bets Are Off

Transmission 001 at Jodrell Bank wins the most spectacular location for a gig:

Albums of 2011:

Some favourite songs from the year:

Other videos from this year on my YouTube channel:


  • caro_g

    i hate you :)

    7 Ene 2012, 19:00
  • TheAlexH

    Hopefully you'll hate me even more by next year. ;-) In the unlikely event I win a million pounds, I'll pay for your flights to the UK.

    8 Ene 2012, 19:42
  • caro_g


    8 Ene 2012, 21:08
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