Features Articles Top 10 Concerts of 2010

Top 10 Concerts of 2010

Top 10 Concerts of 2010
Top 10 Concerts of 2010
Forward by: Pete Nema

Sticky contributors collectively attended 195 concerts, including over 420 bands, this past year. Looking through these lists, and the photos/reviews that are linked to the items, it's clear we witnessed an amazing set of shows.

There was plenty of great music and seemingly endless good times to be had. Picking just 10 favourites is a tricky thing to do, but if there's one thing that can be taken away from this list of lists, it is that there is an amazing array of musicians that come to play, or are based, in Toronto.

Because of the nature of covering events, not many of us saw many of the same shows, so it doesn't necessarily make sense to combine our top 10 lists into one. However, when you look through the lists, you will notice that some concerts showed up on multiple lists. They are, in no particular order: Hollerado, Dr. Dog, Fun, The Flaming Lips, The Weakerthans, The Wooden Sky, Sufjan Stevens and Sweet Thing.

While compiling this article, I clicked many of the links to look at the photos and read the reviews (again). Here's hoping you enjoy reliving the 2010 Toronto music scene as much as I did.

Julie Lavelle

  1. Jónsi @ Sound Academy, April 30
  2. Sufjan Stevens @ Massey Hall, October 13
    After delivering one of my favourite LPs this year (as well as an amazing EP), Sufjan Stevens lived up to my expectations and put on an extraordinary show at Massey Hall. With a 10 piece ensemble on stage, Stevens was able to recreate the magic from his latest and past releases. An amazing night for music lovers in Toronto.
  3. The Album Leaf @ Lee's Palace, April 28
  4. Menomena @ The Mod Club, September 28
  5. Fun, Steel Train @ The Mod Club November 30.
  6. Mumford and Sons @ Lee's Palace, February 15
  7. Dr. Dog @ Lee's Palace, April 14
    After being strongly recommended this band by a friend, I decided to sign up and shoot their live show. Walking into a crowded Lee's Palace, I soon realized that many other people knew about this well-kept secret of a band. They delivered an enchanting live show with catchy, unforgettable melodies, and enough energy to send everyone home ready for the next round of Dr. Dog live in Toronto.
  8. Azure Ray @ Horseshoe Tavern, November 11
    I came to know Azure Ray well after they'd stopped touring together and as they were busy putting out their own solo records. With their last release having been put out in 2003, Azure Ray had a lot of pressure on their shoulders, and their latest album together "Drawing Down The Moon" is a testament to their synchronicity as a duo. Live, they have impeccable melodies that flow perfectly together. They are two of my favourite girl singers, and with good reason, they are utterly adorable, and extremely talented. The quiet, nostalgic night spent at the Horseshoe with these two (and their very talented band) will live on in my memory for many years to come.
  9. Frightened Rabbit @ The Opera House, May 5
  10. William Fitzsimmons @ The Drake Underground, July 10
    This is another musician very strongly recommended to me by a close friend. After having listened to his album a few times and realizing just how talented William is, I knew I'd regret it if I didn't see his live show at the Drake back in July. He was an absolute joy to watch live. One moment he'd be playing one of his sad, beautiful acoustic guitar based songs and the next he'd have the crowd in stitches with his humour. William had an amazing flair for being in front of a live crowd, and walking away we all felt lighter and happier despite the (at times) extremely depressing music that William tends to play.

Courtney Lee Yip

  1. Tensnake @ Wrongbar's 3rd Anniversary Party, November 18
    Hamburg based producer came out in full force this year and Wrongbar (as they usually do) snapped up this up-and-coming talent before the rest of us knew what was coming. Already well-known in Asia and Europe, Canadians are beginning to embrace his unique spinning style that revives the early 80's boogie sound. Two words: dance party.
  2. Rusko, Crystal Castles @ Sound Academy
    When I saw the poster for this, it was one of those "holy-sh*t-is-this-actually-happening?" moments. To sum it up, those six words were pretty much the anthem during the entire night.
  3. Yacht @ Wrongbar, March 4
    An established DJ in Korea, and good friend of mine who runs The Better Magic Music Company (http://www.bettermagicmusic.com/) opened for this electric duo just a few weeks before they hit Toronto. I was told they were a pair not to be missed, and boy was he right. Their lo-fi, haunting sound, paired with undertones of religious imagery made it for a night of theatrics and incredible dancing.
  4. Hot Chip, The xx @ Sound Academy, April 20
    I went to my fair share of sweaty, packed dance shows this year, but by far, the most I let go was at Hot Chip this year. Not only is their old stuff the work of geniuses, their new album One Life Stand is equally mind-blowing. Even though we may have been further back in the hall, and it was packed to the edges, the crowd all was on the same page, dancing just as hard as the next person.
  5. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, April 1
  6. Midlake @ The Mod Club, May 21
    I went to this show alone, covering for another music website and with no expectations. I wonder if I should do that more often because standing at the front with my jaw open at these men who seemingly crawled from the woods from another time, I almost forgot I was there to take photos. They played later in the year at the Opera House, but the connect with the crowd just wasn't the same.
  7. Miike Snow @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, April 3
    I had always heard good things about this Swedish band, and their pop-rock influenced records certainly was a staple in our house this year, but seeing these creative guys do their thing live was an entirely other story. The use of masks and perfect lighting was an awesome backdrop to their full band setup, which I didn't even realize they had listening to their album. Whether that's my horrible ear for recognizing instruments, or a true testament to the band's talent, it doesn't matter because they blew the roof off that night.
  8. Hollerado, Clothes Make the Man, The Darcys @ The Boat, August 5
  9. Neon Indian @ Lee's Palace, October 12
  10. Yukon Blonde, The Wooden Sky @ Lee's Palace, November 6

Sean McNamara

  1. Arcade Fire @ Toronto Island Park, August 14
  2. The Black Keys @ Kool Haus, August 3
  3. The Walkmen @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, October 9
  4. Vampire Weekend @ The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, September 7
  5. The Flaming Lips w/ Spoon, Tokyo Police Club @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, July 8
  6. Broken Social Scene @ Sound Academy, December 9
  7. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, April 1
  8. Hollerado @ Hard Rock Cafe, June 18
  9. The Weakerthans @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 26
  10. The Golden Dogs @ The Horseshoe Tavern, October 29

Pete Nema

  1. The Flaming Lips @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, July 8
  2. OK Go @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, October 14
  3. Thrush Hermit @ Lee's Palace, March 26
  4. Hollerado, Amos The Transparent @ Hard Rock Cafe, June 18
  5. Cage The Elephant @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, March 10
  6. Fun @ The Mod Club, November 30
  7. Pavement @ Toronto Islands, June 19
  8. The Weakerthans @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 26
  9. Library Voices @ Horseshoe Tavern, September 30
  10. Sweet Thing @ Horseshoe Tavern, June 30

Whitney Pineault

  1. Dan Mangan @ Trinity St.Paul's Church, October 20
  2. Florence + The Machine @ Kool Haus, April 10
  3. Something Corporate @ Kool Haus, August 7
  4. Sufjan Stevens @ Massey Hall, October 13
    Natalia Buia and I swooned over this man's beautiful vocals and awkward dance moves.
  5. Sweet Thing @ The Mod Club, August 18
  6. Phoenix, Tokyo Police Club @ Ricoh Coliseum, October 22
  7. Jimmy Eat World @ Kool Haus, October 17
  8. Blitzen Trapper @ Opera House, August 3
  9. Arkells @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, December 13
    Arkells just get better each time I see them. This sold out performance, which included a few brand new stellar tracks, was no exception.
  10. Kings Of Leon @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, July 28

Lucas Samuels

  1. The Wooden Sky @ Lee’s Palace, November 6
    A sold-out, homecoming show filled with collaborations, an acoustic performance behind Lee’s Palace, and a traffic-stopping rendition of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere’ on Bloor Street. Simply epic.
  2. The Barr Brothers, The Low Anthem @ Church of the Redeemer, April 10
    My very first show at what is now my favourite venue in Toronto. Montreal’s finest and most intriguing act The Barr Brothers shared the bill with roots-rock revivalists The Low Anthem.
  3. The Wooden Sky - The Music Gallery, December 19
    This hometown band scales things back and plays a tiny 150-person church, donating all ticket sales to The Daily Bread Food Bank. We raise about $3,000.
  4. Dawes @ Horseshoe Tavern, November 8
    Dawes, and more specifically lead-singer Taylor Goldsmith channel the spirited and vintage sounds of The Band and Bruce Springsteen to prove that roots-rock can well, rock. Opening band Vetiver was also very impressive.
  5. Dr. Dog @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, October 16
    Dr. Dog brought their throwback, ‘60s psych-pop sound harder and louder than I’ve ever heard them play. An overall awesome show with a killer light show to boot!
  6. Broken Social Scene - Sound Academy, December 10
    The whole family comes out and plays a stellar 2:45 minute show. Emily Haines even shows up after being absent the night before.
  7. Marco Benevento Trio @ El Mocambo, October 17
    One of Brooklyn’s finest, pianist Marco Benevento plays a wildly spirited show to a shockingly small Toronto crowd, the man played Carnegie Hall in 2009). Blending everything from jazz to indie to rock to fusion and covering everyone from Leonard Cohen to Lynryd Skynryd to My Morning Jacket, Marco and co. proved lyrics aren’t needed to keep a crowd captivated.
  8. The Felice Brothers @ Horseshoe Tavern, July 27
    Former New York City subway buskers graduate to fill the coveted opening slot for the Dave Matthews Band summer tour, which included stop at the Molson Amphitheatre). The Felice Brothers then return to Toronto only a few months later to play their first headlining show in our fair city.
  9. Tame Impala @ Horseshoe Tavern, November 24
    Australian neo-psychedelic rockers Tame Impala turn up the volume and channel in virtually every guitar effect known to man. Lead singer Kevin Parker proves that he can sound exactly like John Lennon even when singing live.
  10. Land of Talk @ Lee’s Palace, September 16
    Elizabeth Powell and Land of Talk bring the sounds of Montreal to Toronto. Harnessing the rhythmic power of drummer Andrew Barr (The Barr Brothers/The Slip) and bass player Joseph Yarmush (Suuns), Land of Talk put on a strong performance.