Reverend Justito’s Top Ten Shows of 2011
Oh those crazy German’s. I truly assumed I would never catch these guys again after the Great White fiasco, but there I was on the floor of the sold out Forum watching the band’s first North American tour in nearly a decade. It was all you could want from a Rammstein show – pulverizing riffs, shock value galore and lots and lots of fire.
The only reason I went to Chris Cornell is so I wouldn’t have to sit home alone for another night. I really didn’t expect much and just assumed I was crossing another artist off the list (as you can see in the review, I had actually seen Cornell live and forgot all about it). As much fun as it was to get videos taped at a show where armed guards stood looking to shoot anyone with a phone or a camera, as it turns out the music was really amazing. Cornell’s voice sounded strong, he performed stripped down versions of songs that span his entire career and hell if the Rock and Roll career does not work out, the man is funny enough to be a stand-up comedian.
Truth be told, this wasn’t so much about the music as much as it was about the Experience. Traveling alone through the streets of New Orleans 2000 miles from home with a once in a lifetime chance to check out one of American’s premiere music festivals. Don’t get me wrong, Mastodon, Social D and Girl Talk all killed it up on stage. However, it was meeting a kid fifteen years younger than me from my home town. It was checking out a beautiful park in a beautiful city and taking in a culture very different from Los Angeles. It was the sweet Street Car driver who pointed out all the great spots to eat far from Bourbon Street. Just like the name said, it truly was an experience.
There is something truly special about Joseph Arthur in Venice in April. Even if I tried to explain it, it simply wouldn’t make sense. So when this last minute gig was announced the same weekend as Coachella, I got my ass down to Venice faster than you can say Milk truck. Having seen the man at three of his four shows at the Bootleg Theater earlier in the year, I didn’t know what to expect out in Venice. With less than two dozen people showing up to the last minute gig, it was more like Arthur was playing in your living room then your typical concert. Perhaps it was the dog running around the venue, perhaps it was the fact he was cool enough to play “Morning Cup” for me, whatever it was this performance brought out some of the best feelings I have ever felt.
When Oasis split, I found myself bummed I never made an effort to catch a proper show. I figured I may as well make the effort to catch the side projects till the day the Gallagher’s get back together. While we won’t mention the worst show we saw in 2011, Noel’s performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall was nothing short of exquisite. In between playing nearly the entire debut album, the man busted out some of Oasis’ biggest hits including “Wonderwall” and “Supersonic.” Oh and for the record it was not I who asked him to take off his shirt, but it was me who did request he play some Kasabian.
So let me get this right, I get to leave Easter dinner early to watch Amon Amarth perform two sets of music? Oh and of those two sets of music, one of them is the bands’ latest release Surtur Rising from front to back? With no support, the mighty men from Scandinavia played almost three hours of music to a blood hungry crowd of sweaty men young and old. Much like an Easter Sunday service, the crowd sang along to every word worshiping the band and their every command. My only regret was the fact I was unable to experience it all over again when the group hit Anaheim in August.
When 2011 started, I just assumed TV on the Radio was some over-blown hipster bullshit from Brooklyn. While that is totally correct, that didn’t stop me from falling in love with the group. As I mentioned in the original review, I didn’t even want to go to this show, but the lady had already purchased me a ticket. Then the group became unavoidable. Phish was covering Golden Age and someone I really respect kept posting Will Do to their Facebook wall. By the time I walked into the Bowl, I had not only owned TVOTR on vinyl, but was pumped for the gig. Grouped with other up and coming acts including Warpaint and Arctic Monkey’s – TVOTR’s headline set was a fierce hour of post punk/post hardcore/post indie yet totally original melodies and madness. Your new favorite band of 2005 is my new favorite band of 2011.
I am not a huge Prince fan. Don’t get me wrong the man has some great songs but it’s not something I listen too very often. Yet with 21 shows with most tickets priced at $25 there was no way in hell I was going to miss one of the greatest performers of the last 100 years in my back yard. As much fun as my birthday was with The Purple One in May, when it comes to music this show was one of the greatest I have ever seen no matter what the year is. He played the hits, he got funky with Sly and the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham, he performed encores nearly twenty minutes after the house lights came up. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. If you live in Southern California and missed this run – shame on you.
It was late 2010 when my pal James and I made plans to have a mini Ween California tour. I would fly to the Bay Area to get brown in Oaktown and he would come back with me to see the brothers Boognish in Los Angeles. From sneaking onto the floor to the sweet mini acoustic set there are just too many high water marks to mention. So instead we will just give a shout out to the hood rat who threatened to kill me on BART after I informed her I was not a drunk, but a drug addict.
As I said last year, as long as I see Phish I will always know what my top show of any given year is. This year I was not only fortunate enough to catch the band four times (so really, the top four shows of 2011 were all Phish), I finally got to see the boys live at The Gorge. It has been a dream of mine to do such a thing since the summer of 1997 and what a magical weekend it was. I could write a novel about the inside jokes of the weekend. From Eel attacks to me learning to open a bottle of beer with a lighter, it truly was one of the best weekends of my life. Oh and the music? All I have to say is Rock and Roll>Meatstick>Boogie On Reggae Woman.