Top Twenty Shows of 2010
1. The Bottle Rockets, June 11, Kiki’s House of Righteous Music (KHoRM)
Almost three hours of rock, all requests, and the fastest sellout in KHoRM history. Thank you.
2. Ha Ha Tonka/Chris Mills/The Grandtours, August 12, Sunset Tavern, Seattle
I saw two of my favorite artists play better sets this year, Ha Ha Tonka’s blistering set during Twangfest in St Louis and Chris’s solid set with the five piece band at the Hideout, but the point is I saw them together, and in Seattle.
3. Jon Langford/Blake Thomas, April 24, KHoRM
The man of countless bands plays solo at the house, and like everything he does, it was amazing.
4. James/Ed Harcourt, October 1, Royal Oak Music Theater, Royal Oak MI
Worth a trip to Detroit? They played “Fred Astaire,” I swooned, enough said.
5. Mumford & Sons/Cadillac Sky Band/King Charles, November 1, War Memorial Auditorium, Nashville
Sure they’re popular, but for once it’s a band that deserves it. They were fantastic, the venue stunning.
6. Theodore, July 13, Monk’s, Dubuque
I can never get enough Theodore, but tonight came close since they were contractually obligated to two hours. They might not have liked that, but I sure did. Plus, Monk’s was an absolute delight, cozy and charming.
7. Steve Poltz/Robby Schiller, March 30, KHoRM
Blueheels frontman Schiller played the best set I’ve seen him do opening for the crazy entertaining Poltz and his great band.
8. Jason Collett/Bahamas/Zeus, April 6, Majestic Theater
All three acts alternated and collaborated for this unique show. I went to see Collett, but Zeus stole the show.
9. Langhorne Slim/Ha Ha Tonka, July 26, The Varsity Club, Minneapolis
The Varsity is a great place to see a show, and this was a great show. Slim is a true entertainer. And you know how I feel about HHT.
10. Lou Barlow & the Missing Men/Wye Oak, August 25, The Frequency
Something about Barlow always makes me smile, while his voice absolutely hypnotizes me.
11. Bob Dylan, October 25, Overture Center
Dylan continues a run of great shows, and the smaller Overture Center was the perfect venue. Happy Birthday to me.
12. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists/Title Tracks, March 14, High Noon Saloon
Leo is so great live, his encore was a solo cover of the Waterboys’ “Fisherman’s Blues.” I didn’t see that one coming.
13. Califone, March 9, Lincoln Hall, Chicago
They played a live soundtrack along with Tim Rutilli’s honestly good movie “All My Friends Are Funeral Singers” (Netflix it!) and then played a short but mind-blowing set. A band I’ve known for years became my new favorite band.
14. The Pines/Ben Weaver, May 15, KHoRM
Weaver returned to the house and brought some friends, I was very pleased to meet them.
15. Micah Schnabel/ Time Since Western, January 8, KHoRM
Two Cow Garage singer Schnabel played the house in support of an emotional and honest solo record. Plus, I finally get TSW to play.
16. Billy Bragg/Darren Hanlon, September 9, Turner Hall, Milwaukee
Sensual, sexy, Socialist. Pretty much sums up Bragg. Oh, and funny too, so funny.
17. Great Lake Swimmers, June 13, Marquette Waterfront Festival
Lead singer Tony Dekkar played “Imaginary Bars” solo for me after I embarrassed myself requesting it. More swooning.
18. Elf Power/Icarus Himself, September 27, High Noon Saloon
Elf Power was the best thing about the ‘08 Pitchfork Fest, and they made me just as happy tonight, while Icarus keeps getting better.
19. Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express, October 17, Shank Hall, Milwaukee
Prophet just may be the coolest dude on the planet.
20. The Hold Steady/The Whigs/Jaill, July 2, Lac Courte Oreilles Casino, Hayward WI
Three words I thought I would never hear, “Thank you Hayward!”