2011 may have had the disappointment of a festival being canceled, but I still managed to go to more concerts in one year than I’ve ever managed previously.
So, as the year comes to a close, it’s time for a quick run down of all the great gigs I’ve been to in the past 12 months! (and after finishing the post, I’ve come back to the start to apologise for its length! )
Starting with February and The Sisters of Mercy – XXX.
The Sisters of Mercy were celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, and went along with some friends to one of their celebration gigs at Leeds Metropolitan University (where they first started to perform). I first saw these guys back in ???? at a much ‘bigger’ concert at Birmingham NEC and I’ve been a few times since (in fact they are the act I’ve seen live, the most) Eldritch seemed to be really enjoying himself on stage and it was one of their best performances I’ve seen.
Next up in February was another band I’ve seen before: Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
This turned out to be one of my gigs of the year, after an unnaturally tall person (that’s anyone over 5′ 2″ by-the-way ) stepped in front of me and realised he was blocking my view, so let me slip forwards, I managed to get quite near the front, and had a great view of the stage, and more importantly close enough to feel the bass properly.
When the Beacons festival ending up being cancelled, one of the artists I was gutted about missing the most was Willy Mason, then the organisers arranged a series of free concerts over the weekend, featuring artists that were due to appear, so I quickly got myself to Leeds on the Sunday, so I wouldn’t miss out again. I was close enough to the stage for this one, that I could rest my foot on the stage!
Next up in September was the first of the artists I discovered in 2011 that I also went to see live. I was looking through the local gig listings trying to work out who I could go and see to make up for the disappointment of the Beacons festival, when I spotted Junip featuring José Gonzalez of Heartbeats fame, I’d enjoyed his Veneer album, so I thought I’d give them ago. really pleased I did, because they were excellent.
Now, for an event filled October with 5 cracking gigs, starting with Emmy the Great.
This gig was another I booked in my post Beacons snit, but I’m laying the blame for Emmy the Great appearing in this report (and her entry in my the top artists of the year) squarely at Ana and Chris’ feet. One of my favourite discoveries this year, and the gig was wonderful. And working on the principle that it’s never to late for a bit of seasonal music, I can heartily recommend Emmy & Tim Wheelers’ Christmas album!
Then proof that sometimes its good to be at a gig where quiet reigns supreme. Benjamin Francis Leftwich was another artist due to appear at Beacons. When I’d booked the festival I’d never heard of him, but he quickly became another of my favourite discoveries this year.
His songs are definitely lyrical and softly sung, and one of the highlights of this concert was when he stepped in front of the mic, asked us to be as quiet as possible and then sang one of his songs as quietly as he could.
Now for what I think just edges it as my favourite of the year, Noah and the Whale.
They were just awesome, a really strong set list, packed with some cracking songs perfect for some crowd participation. They were clearly on top-form.
I started the year reliving my younger days by going to see the Sisters, towards the end of October I went to see another band from when I could call myself a teenager, The Mission.
Another anniversary gig (this time 25th) The Mission were not a band I’d seen live before, or even listened much to for the last decade or so, but there was a time I listened to them a lot back in the day, and it was great to relive some cracking tunes.
To end the month I went to see, Karine Polwart. I bought her album Scribbled in Chalk a few years ago, and really liked it, and I booked this one again post Beacons.
Wonderful musicianship and a beautiful voice, what more could I ask for to end the month? Well actually the support act Dan Wilde was pretty good as well!
Which brings us nearly to the end of this list! And another one to blame Ana for!
When I was down in London in November, I was looking for something to do on the Friday night and I noticed Patrick Wolf was playing at The Roundhouse, I knew Ana (and I believe Chris) really liked him, after checking out a few of his tracks on Spotify, I booked a ticket. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t my favourite gig of the year (which maybe to do with not being familiar enough with his songs). One thing I will say ism he is an awesome showman, and he totally owned the stage. Which unfortunately I can’t show you as I was sat too far from the stage and none of my pictures came out…
And the last gig of the year was someone’s fault other than Ana… (I know! ) This time it was Nicky’s (aka Stormfilled) who has been known (once or twice… well maybe a few more times than that!) to wax lyrical about Lau. So I went to see them when the played a double-header with The Deadly Gentlemen.
Lau, were just amazing and I can she why Nicky likes them so much! You just couldn’t help but leave in a better mood that you arrived in, even if you were happy to start with.
I’d listened to the The Deadly Gentleman before I went as I know nothing about them, and they were ok, but nothing special, but live they were fantastic.
Gigs aren’t the only music I’ve enjoyed of course, I’ve also made a point of listening to lots of music this year, both new and old, so I thought I’d take a look at what my last.fm profile had to say.
Top Tracks in 2011
Top Artists in 2011
So, who were your musical obsessions in the last year? and is there anyone I absolutley must listen to in 2012?