At the start of 2010 I had one goal. The goal was to see 100 different bands. I didn't care if they were openers, local bands, national acts, or just some kids playing on the street with their instruments. Alright, that's extreme. Those kids have no talent and if you can call that music, then you are probably a fan of half the shit they have on the radio these days that somehow passes for decent. Hell, even those drunk chicks singing Don't Stop Believing sound better. Anyway, here is what I pick to be the best shows of 2010 in several categories that I made up just so I can give props to everything I loved.
Best new band that didn't play in 2009:
Bonnie Situation. Have you seen them yet? They have played a total of 2 gigs so far and kick plenty of ass. Not only do they have original music, but they aren't afraid to give you some covers that will blow your mind. Run To The Hills, Hot Legs, Anything Anything, and they have a female lead vocalist belting them out. Not only is she belting them out, she doesn't even struggle hitting some of the more difficult notes. Check them out in February at Herman's Hideaway (hit their FB page for details)
Best local band that I only discovered this year:
Frogs Gone Fishin' I had the honor of seeing these guys play twice and each show was completely different from the last. At any time you could go from funk to jamming, to Rage Against The Machine. Each night seems to focus a different member and it's always a good time. They will be playing a lot in the next couple months.
Best opening act:
Joe Cocker. I got the chance to see Joe Cocker open for Tom Petty. What I expected was an old guy who got high one too many times put on an OK show and what I got was a performance that was on par with his Woodstock performance. My mind was blown, the energy was high, and that mofo owns the Beatles songs he covers. The runners up for this category are John Mellancamp,Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, and Fishbone.
Best local band that has a great mix of covers thrown in:
King for a Day. Yeah, I'm pretty biased but I love those guys. I can honestly say I've been to more KFAD shows than all the wives of the members combined. I can't say enough about these guys so just go check them out.
Best local band that plays a lot of country:
New Ben Franklins. I love them. Their music is great. See them at Moe's in February.
Best local music festival:
UMS 4 days of music, 300 bands, and nothing but a good time. If you can't discover at least one new artist at UMS, you probably also struggle to find weed at a Phish show. Hell, your parents probably couldn't even find acid at Woodstock. Kill yourself now you pathetic piece of shit. I've been to UMS the last two years and am already looking forward to this years festivities. I don't even care who plays, it's that much fun.
Best national act I saw more than twice:
Honestly, I was completely blown away by Phish. We saw them in Telluride for their two night run and the whole community of brotherhood between the fans is something that no other band can match. The music was spot on for all 5 nights we saw them combined this year, and you definitely wanted to dance. Runners up are Dave Matthews Band, Michael Franti, and Fishbone
Best National Act I saw once:
Weird Al. I have wanted to see him for years and never got around to it. When we got our chance, we took our front balcony row seats and were able to enjoy everything I had expected out of his show. Costume changes, guitar smashing, ALtv, and the entire crowd singing and laughing. Runner up is Green Day.
Best performance by a music legend:
The term legend shouldn't be taken lightly. When people hear the name Robert Plant, they automatically think of Stairway To Heaven and want to get into arguments about who the greatest guitarist of all time is. With that said, we were lucky enough to witness lots of legendary artists this year. That will have to go to Bob Dylan. This man was responsible for so many great songs in history. Almost every band covers him. Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, the Byrds, just to name a few. He is the greatest songwriter ever and to be standing within feet of him was a true honor. The runners up were Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Elton John.
Best Visual Performance"
Roger Waters recreating the Wall. Yes, the legendary Pink Floyd album. Recreated. Simply amazing.
Most interesting stage show:
Gwar. This show had decapitations, blood shooting out on the audience, beasts playing music, and Lady Gaga getting sacrificed. Awesome.
Best Cover Band:
Cash'd Out. These guys are simply phenomenal. They have Johnny's sound, movements, and even some stage banter. They will also throw down for 3 hours if given the chance. See them when they come to your area.
Best Punk show:
Social Distortion. Seeing Social D in Boulder for the first time was incredible. Mike Ness demanded you follow his every movement wherever he was on stage. He also loved to lean into the crowd and make sure you got as close as you possibly could.
Biggest surprise of the year:
Weezer. While I've loved their music for a while, I just assumed they would be one of those bands that aren't the best live. The fact is, they are awesome. Rivers Cuomo can't be contained by the stage and likes to get into as much trouble as he can whether its stealing someone's camera, climbing on the cables, or crawling up by the screens. He would even run into the crowds a lot. Completely unexpected and totally awesome. Runner up Fourmile Canyon Revival. 7 hours of great music.
Best Acoustic Set:
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. Honestly you can't beat these guys acoustically. Tim Reynolds plays guitar and can make it nearly sound like an entire string section. Runner up: Trey and Mike of Phish.
Best value for your money:
Green Day. I paid $20 a ticket and watched them play for 3 hours. If you break that down it's like $6.75 an hour. Not only that, they rocked the place. They had a great mix of old and new and made sure to make every fan happy.
Chicago and the Doobie Brothers: At the end of the show, both bands were on stage exchanging hit songs for what was close to an hour. I don't think a single person was ready for it to be over.
Overall best show of 2010:
While there were several things that made each show memorable, the artist that stands out the most for me is Michael Franti and Spearhead. Between the Red Rocks show and the 1st Bank Center show, Franti's energy is unmatched by no one. His love for what he does is apparent. He is one of the artists that you know are playing for the love of the music and fans and not for the love of the almighty dollar. In his shows he brings members of the audience onstage, will grab the wireless gear and play on the sound booth, or even in the stands standing in the crowd. At a Franti show, there is no such thing as a bad seat because he may just end up playing right next to you. After seeing the best of the best play this year, people that have been responsible for shaping music to what it is today, Franti outshined them all, and honestly he's not the greatest on CD. You don't get a dull moment at all, you always feel engaged, and you never want the show to end.
Worst of 2010:
Worst local band:
Stealth Hippo. For an hour you got to watch a 5 minute clip of hippos on repeat while the band played shitty music. Pure torture.
Worst National Band:
Ratt. Uninspired run down of their hits. I knew 99% of the songs and couldn't wait to get out of there. God awful.
This year we had the privilege to see Billy Joel, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Tom Petty, Chicago, Doobie Brothers, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Weird Al, Anthrax, John Mellancamp, and Roger Waters in a mix of a ton of other great bands. 2010 will go down in history as the greatest year of my life musically.