Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Rock

I went to a bunch of concerts this year. Here's a rundown of all the shows I can remember going to this year. In 2010, I plan to review each show I go to.

January 31 – Michael Franti and Spearhead at Club Nokia

I won these tickets from . This was a very interesting show. Spearhead have a reggae-rock fusion that is very catchy. I normally don't like reggae, but this was a great show. They opened with "Everybody Ona Move", a big high energy song. Watch a great clip here with guest Boots Riley:

In the middle of the show, guest singer Cherine Anderson was singing and brought a guy out of the audience. They danced suggestively and soon the guy started stripping. He was down to his underwear and eventually he flashed the audience his front. There's a video on myspace here: (skip to 8 minutes)

I think they closed with Say Hey (I love you), which is a really amazing song. Here's a clip of it from The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

March 6 – Tom Jones – Club Nokia

I sang the chorus to "What's New Pussycat" to win tickets to this show. Tom Jones was the only act, no crappy opening bands. What surprised me was how he blitzed through a 2 hour set with so much energy.

I remember him opening with "I'm Alive" a new song with great energy. Towards the end he did the songs I know including "What's New Pussycat" and "It's Not Unusual". I remember lots of underwear being thrown on stage.

March 17 – Ladyhawke at The Troubadour

I fell in love with this act in the summer of 2008 on the tip of a blog that was following the 2008 election. Ladyhawke has an amazing 80s vibe that is really enchanting.

I recorded and posted the whole show here:

I bought these tickets off a scalper because I waited too long to buy tickets. The show had started off with a lot of technical difficulties but it was great nonetheless. My favorites were the extended versions of Dusk til Dawn and Paris is Burning.

April 23 – Depeche Mode – Hollywood and Vine

This was a free show that was recorded for the Jimmy Kimmel Show. They closed down a large part of Hollywood Blvd west of Vine for the stage and crowd area. I got there around 2PM and waited in line for hours. Hooray for the LA Metro. I would have hated trying to park there.

The soundcheck started around 4PM and they performed Wrong and Never Let Me Down. Everyone in line sang along, which was fun.

After being funneled through registration, I finally got to my crappy viewpoint. I remember a hot chick in front of me doing some coke around sunset and leaving before the show started. After the show I got a look at the layout of the place and it seems people who got there after me got closer to the stage. Grrr. Although the area was gated off, there were so many people who showed without tickets they almost caused a riot.

The show started around 6:30. They kicked off with Wrong and then played a great new take on Personal Jesus. They played Walking in my Shoes, Come Back, Peace, a great extended version of Enjoy the Silence and closed with Never Let Me Down.

May 9 – Shiny Toy Guns – Club Nokia

I won these tickets through la metblogs. Unfortunately, my friend was in such a bad mood it ruined the show. He wanted to eat, which delayed us getting to the venue and I missed out on some prizes I had also won.

He was in a really pissy mood and wanted to leave. I didn't get to see all of Shiny Toy Guns' set. L

May 20 – NIN|JA – Irvine Meadows

One of my favorite shows of the year was NIN|JA. My favorite band, nine inch nails, playing with the amazing Janes Addiction and Tom Morello's side project Street Sweeper Social Club.

I managed to get pit tickets via the fanclub. One perk of the fanclub tickets is the special entrance to get in early. I had a nice spot in the second row of the pit. This was one of the first shows I started pre-medicating myself to ease my back pain due to my valley fever disease. I ended up taking four ibuprofen through the course of the night.

Street Sweeper Social Club played in the afternoon sun and really blew me away. Not since Marilyn Manson in 1994 had I been this amazed with an opening act.

The sun didn't even set when nine inch nails took the stage. They opened with Now I'm Nothing, a song I thought I'd never hear live. I also got to hear another two favorites: The Becoming and The Fragile. Midway through the set, some assholes pushed their way forward and I had to really fight just to stay upright. Totally worth it to see NIN up so close.

Check out my video from the show:

I fled to the back of the pit for Janes Addiction. It was a chill set. I didn't really know any Janes songs, but I had fun.

May 29 – VAST – The Key Club

VAST headlined a show of a large bill of bands. One of my favorites of the night was Leerone, a great bluesy act.

This version of VAST had a keyboardist/saxophone player, an addiction I'd been waiting years to see. They played a great mix of old and new songs. On Thrown Away, the backup vocals from the Nude version returned, much to my delight. Don't Take Your Love Away, blogged here, was a very interesting take since the keyboards were replaced with guitar. They also played Lost, which had an epic sax solo. They closed with Flames, which had a guest celloist and made for a fantastic end.

I purchased a special ticket through VAST's website and attended a meet and greet afterwards. I waited patiently to get my picture with Jon Crosby.

June 3 – modwheelmod – The Knitting Factory

I attended this show to buy some vinyl for a fellow goon. Modwheelmod's performance was great and I saw a bunch of my nin buddies there. This is a great photo set of the show from my friend Mel.

July 11 – The Dan Band – Club Nokia

After attending Mobilecamp LA with the Nokia N97 blogger crew, I met up with them for dinner at LA Live.

While Jonathan Bruha was down in the club watching the show, I hung out with Andrew Currie, Mathew Bennett and George Kelly in the VIP lounge and watched The Dan Band from the HD monitors there.

The Dan Band was very interesting. I loved the comedy aspect of their act. There were lots of songs done by women performed by men. They closed with Single Ladies and even matched the dance routine.

September 2 – nine inch nails – Hollywood Palladium

This was the first Los Angeles show of the final leg of the Wave Goodbye tour. This show featured a performance of The Downward Spiral album in its entirety. There was also a rare performance of "Lights in the Sky" and an appearance of Gary Numan.

September 8 – nine inch nails – Henry Fonda Theater

This was my favorite show of the year. NIN's performance was facemelting. Lots of great jewels from the 31 song setlist included "I'm Afraid of Americans", "Just Like You Imagined", "I Do Not Want This" and "Down in the Park" with Gary Numan. I was especially excited to hear "Get Down Make Love" for the first time and also featured the return of Danny Lohner.

September 10 – nine inch nails – The Wiltern

The final nine inch nails show ever was most non-heinous. I had gotten there early at 2PM to get a good spot and ended up in the balcony anyway.

The final setlist was marathon set of 37 songs. My favorites were "Down In It", featuring a little modded lyric to include wave goodbye,"Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)" with guest Dave Navarro and the last song of the night, "In This Twilight". Thanks for so many great memories Trent.

October 1 – The Horrors – El Rey Theater

More tickets I won from the losanjealous blog. I thought this band was an electronic band and they ended up being noise.

October 4 – Ladyhawke – space15twenty

A free great acoustic set from Ladyhawke at space15twenty, a really cool store across the street from Amoeba Records. I got to sit right up front and watch. Pretty strange that her badn has a bunch of pretty buys in skinny black jeans.

The bright California sun made for great video I shot with my N97 I posted here:

Also check out my photo set I made with my N82

October 17 – Italian Hitweek – Henry Fonda Theater

Yet more tickets from losanjealous. This was a showcase of many Italian acts. I got to see a reggae band and a violin-guitar duo. There was an amazing pianist named Giovanni Allevi. I also saw a great instrumental rock band called Calibro35. Check out a video I shot here:

October 25 – Hit the Lights – The Knitting Factory

I won tickets to see the last show ever at the Hollywood Knitting Factory. It was nice to be a part of history. Here's a vid from the show:

November 23 – Green Day – Nokia Plaza at LA Live

My final show of the year was a free show put on by the same people who did the dépêche mode show earlier in the year. It was a cold day in LA and I was very bundled up. I got there pretty early around 3PM and the line was already halfway around the convention center.

It turns out this show was being recorded for a New Years Eve show and there were lots of NYE party favors being distributed. I ended up with a tiara.

I saw Billy Joe's kid on the side of the stage before the show started. I hadn't seen Green Day since 1994 when they opened at Lollapalooza. That kid was conceived around that time. I feel old.

Green Day opened with "Know Your Enemy" and played a bunch of songs I wasn't familiar with. They played my favorite song, "Welcome to Paradise". I recorded it with the Nokia 5530 I was using at the time, but the audio was horrid. While waiting in line, I heard Nice Guys Finish Last during the soundcheck. I was upset it was not in the main set list.


The outlook for 2010 looks great, with the long awaited triumphant return of RAMMSTEIN to the US.