If you thought we’d already covered every possible end-of-year topic, I’m afraid you’re dead wrong. We intend to keep hammering this thing in to the ground until the 31st. And today we’re talking about 2010’s best gigs.
Here are a few answers from round the office to get you started.
Primal Scream doing ‘Screamadelica’ at Olympia
A combination of old school rave, high energy rock n roll love-in and dirty drug-fest, this made every other gig look like contemplation hour at a convent for mutes.
Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor, NME
Arcade Fire, Reading Festival
For a group with no obvious chart hits, rubbish haircuts and the kind of shirt and slacks combos that would guarantee a twatting in most towns across the UK, for and hour or so at Reading, Arcade Fire united Britain in a hands-in-the air chorus of “ahhhhh ahhhh ahhh ahhh ahhhhhh ahhhhhhs” and foot stomping nostalgia. Best live band in the world? Definitely.
Mike Williams, Features Editor
Arcade Fire, The O2
The best band in the world, at the peak of their powers, managed to make the most soulless of venues intimate. It was so special I found myself embarrassingly holding back tears of joy.
Alan Woodhouse, Senior Sub-Editor
Wu Lyf, Midi Festival, France
The best new band of the year killing it at the best festival of the year, no question.
Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter
The National, UK tour
I went to see them five times in six days. I think that says enough about how incredible I thought they were…
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
Hurts, Brighton Concorde 2
Torrential rain, beautiful songs, a skinful of tequila, and one of the UK’s best small venues conspired to make this a memorably atmospheric evening.
Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
The Cribs’ Wichita anniversary show at the Garage
They played the first two albums back to back and to add further to the nostalgia I came out of crowdsurfing retirement for the first time in about seven years.
Dan Martin, Writer
Pavement, Brixton Academy
Some of the best songs of the 90s transformed into sing-along anthems as giant inflatable balls bounced around the crowd courtesy of Stephen Malkmas and co (who were surrounded by fairy lights). Immense. Also good: Mark Ronson at Hackney Empire. Stage guests Duran Duran, Boy George and Spank Rock made it like the best wedding party ever.
David Moynihan, Editor, NME.COM
The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Shepherd’s Bush Empire
They didn’t get into a single fight, and no one stormed off stage. And Matt Hollywood finally re-joined the band after leaving it eleven years ago.
Rebecca Schiller, Writer, NME.COM
Arcade Fire, Leeds Festival/The O2
Twin object lessons on how to crown a festival and how to work an aircraft hangar while backflipping along the tightrope between art and commerce.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
Suuns, Juste Pour Rire, Montreal
Having heard their forthcoming album ‘Zeroes QC’ I had a heads-up Montreal’s Suuns (pronounced ‘Soons’) might be a bit special live, but seeing them at new annual new talent festival M Pour Montreal proved a true revelation. Wiry, dark and intricate like a film noir Television, what was truly impressive was the way the band, a la puzzlepop overlords Battles, slowly built each song onstage from its fragile parts into robust, hip-shaking structures your consciousness could get lost in. Ones for the mind and body.
However, for me it wouldn’t be a full picture of 2010 without honourable mentions for the following: Gorillaz at The Roundhouse (Damon and co reveal their warm, beating hearts), Arcade Fire at Reading Festival (weapons-grade euphoria), Janelle Monae at Shepherds Bush Empire (absurdly brilliant), Interpol at Brixton (having bedding in the new guys, they’re bubbling away into a seriously BIG live band), Laura Marling at Glastonbury (the most romantic set I’ve ever seen), Anna Calvi at Shepherds Bush Empire (silenced a room of Arctic Monkeys’ fans with the sheer beauty of her vocals ) and The Walkmen at Islington Academy (hearts on their sleeves and the tunes to match).
Paul Stokes, Associate Editor
Chickenhawk, Bull & Gate, Kentish Town
For their last gig of the year they brought their hardcore, rib-trembling rock to London on a freezing cold November evening. The venue was soon steaming as singer Paul dragged a crate into the middle of the crowd and performed guitar heavy ‘I Hate This, Do You Like It’ while stood on it like a musical prophet.
Abby Tayleure, Writer, NME.COM