Although this blog only existed for half of this past year so far, it was a great year in music. At this point there have been countless amounts of 'best of' lists put out there, and now it's my turn to add mine to the mix. There is so much I want to talk about, but I'm narrowing it down to the top concert experience and band performances that I saw. I will also include a separate list that includes shows that I did see over the year but did not write about because either they were before I started this blog or for some other reason. I saw a ton of shows over the year, so narrowing them down was extremely tough, but without much further ado, here is the first part:
Top 15 Concert Experiences 2011 - I could barely narrow this list down to 15 and I still feel like I could have listed more, but this list is about the overall concert experience. These were the concerts that had it all - from opener to headliner the music was great, the artist stage presence was awesome, and the crowd energy was high.
15. Spindrift with Colfax Speed Queen, Max Pain & The Groovies and Dark Seas at Cervantes' Other Side - Nov. 11. The musicianship of these bands was superb, bringing great psychedelic rock and rock and roll. It wasn't the largest crowd, but it was a very passionate one.
14. TheHundred presents Damon Allen, option4, Mike Deez and Peter Black at Beauty Bar - Nov. 19. The first TheHundred party was absolutely amazing. It was house music at it's finest with a crowd energy so intense and with such good vibes I can still feel it today.
13. MSTRKRFT with Steffi Graf, 2DUBAII, and boyhollow at Ogden Theater - Sep. 10. My first trip to the Ogden Theater as a blogger was incredible. The crowd packed in early and was going all night for what ended up being an awesome dance fest.
12. Bag Raiders with ManCub and Chavez y Chavez at Larimer Lounge - Aug. 12. One of the craziest nights ever seen at the Larimer Lounge was for this show. The part DJ set/part live performance aspect of the show kept the dance floor packed all night.
11. Glowing House with You, Me Apollo, The Sunshine House and Sour Boy, Bitter Girl at Fox Theatre - Aug. 6. It wasn't the most packed I've ever seen the Fox Theatre, but the crowd that came was not at all afraid to have fun, and for good reason - the bands that performed this night were all absolutely incredible musicians and they all made me a believer in the indie folk genre.
10. DeVotchKa with Bonnie & The Beard at Aggie Theater - Oct. 25. I'll never forget the first time I saw a show at the Aggie Theater - the was a good crowd even for a Tuesday night and the music was amazing. It was totally worth braving the blizzard conditions to get back home.
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. with Le Divorce and Eye & The Arrow at Hi-Dive - Sep. 6. I almost thought I missed my chance to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. but they came back with a bang for a second 2011 Denver show. To top everything off the were joined by exceptional local talent, including the live debut of Eye & The Arrow.
8. The Dendrites with Pink Hawks and Mono Verde at Marquis Theater - Sep. 16. Sometimes big bands are the way to go. All three of these bands had huge sounds to match their sizable band lineups, and the crowd responded accordingly to the awesome combination of reggae, afrobeat and ska that took place that night.
7. Phantogram with Reptar at Marquis Theater - Oct. 28. This show was so incredible it was no wonder it sold out. Athens, GA based Reptar got everything started and Phantogram picked up where they left off. The crowd went happily along with the whole crazy ride.
6. Le Divorce Presents: Come As You Are at Hi-Dive - Sep. 24. Tribute shows can go either way but this show boasting a slew of great local bands paying tribute on the anniversary of the release of Nirvana's Nevermind album definitely went the right way. Bands took a bunch of different approaches to cover Nirvana's songs, and the Hi-Dive was packed full of nostalgic fans.
5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra with Gauntlet Hair and School Knights at Larimer Lounge - Oct. 31. This show was an incredible way to spend Halloween. Unknown Mortal Orchestra took me by surprise earlier in the year and killed it in the headliner role for this show, joined with awesome local support including the amazing fake-blood covered performance of Gauntlet Hair.
4. Neon Indian with Com Truise and Purity Ring at Bluebird Theater - Oct. 10. The Neon Indian live show is something that needs to be seen to really understand the Neon Indian sound, and they were joined be a couple incredible futuristic minded music acts. Purity Ring was especially memorable.
3. The Marrow with Dave Devine and Mercuria & The Gem Stars at Hi-Dive - Aug. 23. This show was just another demonstration of just how strong local music can be. I came away from this experience amazed by what these local musicians were doing, and I was joined by a tight-knit crowd that seemed to feel the same way.
2. Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band with Bop Skizzum at Bluebird Theater - Sep. 13. There was such an amazing amount of soul in this show every time I think about it I can still feel it deep down in my bones. It was a night in which music and emotion truly became one - both the highs and lows. Definitely a one-of-a-kind sort of experience.
1. Chromeo with Mayer Hawthorne & The County and Sammy Bananas at Ogden Theater - Oct. 7 - This show had it all. It was an incredible dance party thanks to Sammy Bananas and Chromeo, but in between was the soul revival mastermind Mayer Hawthorne whose music would not at all be out of place in an earlier era. A feverish sold out crowd came together that night to make it an absolutely unforgettable experience. Definitely my highlight of the year.
Check back soon for a couple more lists. I'll talk about the top performances (band/artists) that didn't make this list because perhaps the entire show wasn't up to par. I'll discuss some shows I saw but didn't blog about and I'll talk about some shows that even now I still regret missing. Have a happy new year!