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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 17, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 51
BEST OF MUSIC 2010 Live Performances
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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BEST OF MUSIC 2010 Live Performances

by Albert Rodriguez, Jessica Price, and Shaun Knittel - SGN A&E Writers

From the dozens of live concerts we attended in 2010, these had the biggest impact on us.

Albert Rodriguez's top 10

1) Gorillaz
@ Key Arena, November 2

Stylish stage design, lively numbers, legendary guest performers and Jamie Hewlett running around like a kid with a pocketful of candy - Gorillaz arrived in Seattle in the actual flesh, and every minute was worth the nine-year wait.

2) Arcade Fire
@ Key Arena, September 29

Though the scenester crowd at Arcade Fire's fall outing was drowsy, the group itself was riveting and turned in a mint performance that will long be remembered.

3) The Black Keys
@ WaMu Theatre - 107.7's
Deck the Hall Ball
December 8

The Akron, Ohio duo put on a clinic at WaMu that five other bands on the bill simply couldn't touch.

4) Phoenix
@ Dock des Sud
(Marseilles, France)
March 20

Phoenix on their home turf was an incomparable experience - the audience was so hyped that the sweat began dripping before the lights dimmed.

5) M.I.A.
@ The Showbox Market
October 17

With a set list that included "Galang" and "Boyz" in a smaller-than-expected venue, M.I.A. was lethal when she blew through Seattle in October.

6) Lady Gaga
@ Tacoma Dome, August 21

The pop icon gave her "little monsters" a big theatrical show filled with many dazzling moments.

7) Manu Chao
@ Paramount Theatre
October 12

In his first Seattle appearance, Latin music trailblazer Manu Chao played a two-hour concert that was so festive it felt like a backyard wedding reception.

8) Kokua Festival
(Jack Johnson, Ziggy
Marley, Taj Mahal,
Jake Shimabukuro)
@ Waikiki Shell
(Honolulu, Hawaii)
March 23-24

This two-day festival minutes from Waikiki Beach was memorable for its setting and unique collaborations that featured skilled musicians at their finest.

9) Bettye LaVette
@ Dimitriou's Jazz Alley
July 15

When this Grammy-nominated blues diva sang The Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin," she didn't redo it; she reinvented it.

10) Eagles
@ Key Arena, April 26

Laugh if you want, but the Eagles - yes, the ones your dad listened to on 8-track - were solid during a rescheduled performance at the Key.


Jessica Price's top 10

1) House of Thee Unholy
@ The Triple Door
September 24

Burlesque-ing the '70s with a larger than life live band featuring Nick Garrison and Sarah Rudinoff? No contest for best show of the year.

2) The xx
@ The Showbox SoDo
April 12

The xx were one of the SGN's top 10 albums of 2009, and this stellar performance was their first headlining show in Seattle.

3) Cat Power
@ 5th Avenue Theatre
November 21

Chan Marshall's velvety, sadness-soaked voice elevated a relatively low-key set list to memorable levels.

4) Arcade Fire
@ Key Arena, September 29

Despite the tough venue, Arcade Fire was epic at the Key.

5) Spoon
@ Moore Theatre, April 10

Spoon remains one of the best live bands around, and were in top form at the majestic Moore Theatre. We're lucky singer Britt Daniel now calls Portland home.

6) The National
@ Marymoor Park
September 11

Brooklyn-based band The National landed in Redmond on a slight chilly evening. The sound and the setting were perfect complements.

7) Belle & Sebastian
@ Benaroya Hall
November 20

Now I understand what all the fuss is about.

8) Erik Blood
@ The Sunset, June 10

If you haven't seen Erik Blood (formerly of local heroes The Turn Ons) perform "To Leave America" live yet, you deserve a spanking.

9) The Drums
@ Neumos, November 4

Brooklyn's The Drums presented sweet pop confections that lived up to the hype.

10) The Little Penguins
@ The Comet, September 30

The Little Penguins released my pick for local CD of the year at this launch party. They're currently charting on KEXP.


Shaun Knittel's top 10

1) Steel Train
@ Chop Suey, April 9

Real rock stars, the New Jersey band rocked Chop Suey like they were playing Quest Field. The intimate show was Bruce Springsteen meets Fall Out Boy.

2) The Airborne Toxic Event
@ Town Hall, September 18

Watching Airborne play inside of an old church accompanied by a string quartet was soul changing. The band performed all of their haunting ballads and rocked with the angst of a brokenhearted teenager.

3) Elton John and Billy Joel
@ Key Arena, February 3

Captain Fantastic and the Piano Man played for nearly three hours, giving fans every hit we wanted to hear. No song was left unsung and the famous "dueling piano" session was euphoric.

4) Lady Gaga
@ Tacoma Dome, August 21

With stage production four stories high, costumes that rival a Broadway production of "Thriller" and a voice as recognizable as her name, Gaga took every "little monster" in the sold-out audience for the ride of their lives.

5) Jack's Mannequin
@ The Showbox SoDo
February 5

I was a distant admirer of Jack's Mannequin until I saw them live. After the show, I can now count myself as a loyal follower.

6) Melissa Etheridge
@ Paramount Theatre
August 22

Simply put, Melissa Etheridge rocks harder than most men, sings prouder than most women, and puts on one hell of a show.

7) Christian Chavez
@ Neighbours Nightclub
October 3

Dripping in sex appeal and loaded with talent, this Latin heartthrob gave one of the best nightclub performances I've ever seen.

8) La Roux
@ The Showbox SoDo
April 19

Love them! A La Roux show is like dancing at the Gay discotheque. The songs are fun, the beats are catchy, and her fans are here to stay.

9) Toad The West Sprocket
@ Moore Theatre, July 29

Transporting the audience back to the '90s, Toad played all their hits and then some. The band sounds better than ever, even after all these years.

10) Maria Jose
@ Neighbours Nightclub
April 17

Singing original songs and Latin music camp-classics, Maria had us all dancing the night away. Beautiful, real, and super-talented, Maria delivered what few can in a nightclub: a solid performance.

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