OK, so enough clowning around. Let's get on with some relevant "Best of 2010" shit, shall we?
The next couple of posts I'll make are regarding the live shows I saw this year. It wasn't as prolific a year for me as 2009 was, for instance, but a very big part of that was my wife being pregnant and the arrival of our second child in June. Quite frankly, it's amazing I was able to attend as many shows as I did, and I'm not complaining one bit.
The first list is simply a forced ranking of all the shows I attended this year, with some comments for each. After that, I'll post the Top Ten Shows I Missed in 2010, and the Top 25 Live Performances of 2010.
1. 3/13/10 – Scion Rock Fest: Landmine Marathon, Struck by Lightning, Pelican, Voivod, Cannibal Corpse (Columbus, OH) Set Lists / Gig Reports
What a fucking lineup, for one. Hell, many of the bands I had to miss are just as awesome as the ones I saw...Ludicra, Shrinebuilder, Trap Them, Black Anvil... Not to mention that every single performance I saw was awesome. All of them made my "Top 25 Live Performances of 2010" list. All of them. Not one band that I saw put on a phoned-in set. Even though the ticket price was absolutely fucking free
, every one of these bands played like they were auditioning for Metal Band of the Year. How can you beat a gig like this? Simple - you can't.
2. 4/3/10 – High on Fire / Priestess / Black Cobra / Bison B.C. – Skully’s (Columbus, OH) Gig Report
There must be something in the water at Skully's. Second best show of the year, same location as #1. Anyhow, I pretty much knew on the car ride going down to Cbus that I was in for a hell of a night, because I'm a fan of all four bands that played this show. I had seen High on Fire before, was madly looking forward to finally catching Bison, and hadn't seen Black Cobra or Priestess yet. All four bands destroyed. It's that simple. Plus, even though Pike had a few "duh" moments because he was obviously pretty stoned out of his head, I think this was the best sets I've ever seen High on Fire play, and that's saying a lot. Sweet fucking show.
3. 1/20/10 – Nile / Immolation / Krisiun / Dreaming Dead – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report
Holy shit. Nile. Live. Holy fucking shit. It doesn't get any heavier than this. In fact, at one point, I was down in the front of the pit with some other guys and we were jokingly shouting out comments like "Now play something down-tuned!", to which Dallas laughed and said "yeah, how about fucking Z?".
Later, I shouted out "now play something heavy!" and he got all serious and said "It doesn't get any fucking heavier!". God damn right.
Oh, and Krisiun and Immolation fucking destroyed, too. Plus, Dreaming Dead fully converted me as a fan that night as well. These cats are the real deal - fuck the haters. Lots of awesome shit went down at this show...so much so, that it could have easily been #1 if it weren't for the two other behemoth gigs above.
4. 4/18/10 – Red Sparowes / Caspian / Fang Island – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report
You have no idea how much I was anticipating this show. Seriously. No. Fucking. Idea. Now, normally, having high expectations can fuck me up in cases like this, but luckily for me, Red Sparowes >>> my expactations. Holy shit did these guys (and girl) slay. There's a reason why Red Fucking Sparowes is one of the premiere post-rock bands on the planet, and I found out just why on April 18, 2010. Not to mention that I finally got to see Caspian, and they didn't disappoint either. In fact, I met one of their guitarists Aaron before the show, and he was one of the coolest band members I met last year. Last but not least, I got a major surprise in the form of Fang Island! Holy shit, are these guys good. You owe it to yourself to check out their self-titled debut 2010 album...it's phenomenal.
5. 1/29/10 – Arch Enemy / Exodus / Arsis / Mutiny Within – House of Blues (Chicago, IL) Gig Report
I saw this show by myself, 350 miles away from home on a frigidly cold night in the Windy City, and even though I missed all but the last song of Arsis's set (and they were one of the reasons I wanted to see this show), this gig still fucking rocked. First off, Exodus was great. I've been a fan of theirs since the early 80's, and I saw them once or twice back in the day, but frankly they had slipped off my radar screen for a decade or two. Their set was brutal, heavy and full of energy. Then, the mighty Arch Enemy took the stage and brought the fucking roof down. The crowd was so into this show - guys and girls alike moshing and crowd surfing like fucking crazy...it was simply...awesome.
6. 12/1/10 – Watain / Goatwhore / Black Anvil – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report
Those of you who read my recently-posted review of this gig know that I was deeply affected by what I saw during Watain's set. That alone would probably be enough to explain the high placement of this show on this list - but the fact is, Black Anvil was awesome (they were half the reason I was there, and they did not disappoint), and so was Goatwhore (who I've never really cared about all that much, but have always respected). Then, add on top of an awesome group of openers the single most intense live performance I've seen in a long time, with some of the sickest shit I've ever witnessed going on in the background (i.e., their stage "ritual"), and brother, you've got yourself one hell of an unfuckingforgettable show.
7. 8/3/10 – Primus / Gogol Bordello / The Dead Kenny G’s – Tower City Amphitheater (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report
Let's be honest. I didn't even see the openers, and I could have cared less. I showed up just in time to see Primus, and that's the only reason I was there. And they fucking owned my ass, and the asses of every other motherfucker in the Time Warner Amphitheater that night. Plus, they played "Fistcuffs" for the first time on the tour that night, as well as "Mr. Krinkle", which might be one of the best individual songs I've seen performed live all year.
This band is just phenomenal live. End of story. I finally got to see Primus after being a fan for almost twenty years, and it cost me ten fucking dollars. You can't beat that shit with a stick, son.
8. 12/8/10 – The Sword / Karma to Burn / Mount Carmel – House of Blues (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report
Expectations were set to medium for this show. I was really anticipating seeing Karma to Burn, and to me, The Sword was going to be a bonus. I missed Mount Carmel, unfortunately, but all the same, this was a great show. Karma came out and completely rocked our faces off. I think about half the folks in the HoB that night knew them, and the other half became instant fans. Then, The Sword came on and surpassed my expectations as well. Lots of moshing and fan participation made this show all the more fun. At the end of the night, I left with a sore neck and big, stupid fucking smile on my face. 'Nuff said.
9. 9/13/10 – Caspian / If These Trees Could Talk / Like Bells – Beachland Tavern (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report
This was my second time seeing Caspian last year, and my second time seeing Trees play. Having seen these two outfits before, I was slightly apprehensive that I might be disappointed by one or the other, but...nope! Trees ripped out a set that was just as awesome as I had remembered from their gig with Gifts from Enola last year, and Caspian played with even more intensity than they did when I saw them open for Red Sparowes just a few months before. In fact, they played a slightly longer set, too, because they were headlining this show. I missed Like Bells, unfortunately, but overall, this was still an awesome gig.
10. 9/9/10 – Fu Manchu / Black Tusk / It’s Casual / Venomin James – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report
This show was pretty awesome, but for reasons I really didn't expect. It was one of several shows that I saw all by my lonesome last year, and I just sneaked off down to the Grog on a night when I found myself unexpectedly free and saw a cheap gig just for the hell of it. I was looking forward to Black Tusk, and they did not disappoint - but what I had no idea about was how entertaining the headliner was going to be. Admittedly, I had never listened to much of Fu Manchu's stuff, but they won me over that night with their party attitude and riffy goodness. I missed the two openers, because like I said, this was a last-minute thing for me, but I still had a shitload of fun.
11. 4/10/10 – Mouth of the Architect / Mockingbird / Red Sun – Now That’s Class (Lakewood, OH) Gig Report
I went to this show thinking I'd like the headliner only, and the openers would be kinda meh. I was wrong (click on gig report above for details). Not only were the openers pretty good, but MotA blew me away with a truly awesome set of post-metal heavosity. They even played a song I requested when they found themselves with an extra few minutes at the end of their set. Can't beat that! Plus, I met Steve Brooks before the show and talked to him at length, and he was another one of the coolest band members I met last year. This was a great little gig - small, but cool.
12. 6/4/10 – Dying Fetus / Arsis / Misery Index / AOAA / CFTG – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report
Went to this show to see Arsis, enjoyed Dying Fetus and Misery Index as well. This was actually my second time seeing Misery Index, and both times I came away with the same question: "why don't I have any of their albums?" They're pretty damn good. Dying Fetus was the same way - only I knew beforehand I was going to like them, because they had impressed the hell out of me the previous year at Summer Slaughter. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are heavy as fuck and their riffs are very engaging. Arsis was simply awesome. That band is so underrated, in my opinion. Such good musicians, and such nice guys. Fun show.
13. 10/13/10 – Triptykon / 1349 / Yakuza – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
This was a weird show. First of all, I wanted to see Yakuza but wasn't able to get there in time, so that sucked for me. Then, this was one of several shows around this time frame where 1349 and Triptykon had switched places (with 1349 actually headlining), so since I was at this show alone and it was a work night and I really had not that much interest in seeing 1349, I just skipped their set. So basically, I showed up late - just in time for Triptykon - and then I left. It was pretty cool and all, and actually Triptykon gave one of the best individual performances I saw all year, but that was it. Nothing else noteworthy happened at this show, and because of that and the fact that the set list was essentially the same as several other shows on this tour, I never got around to posting a set list or gig report. Great performance, very nostalgic for me, but one of my "least awesome" show experiences of the year. Maybe if I had arrived earlier and / or stayed later, I'd have a better story for this one.
14. 11/18/10 – Cannibal Corpse / Dying Fetus / Vital Remains / Devourment – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH)
This show was even weirder than the above one. Basically, I had wanted to check this show out, but had no one to go with. I chose to play poker with some of my peeps from work, and I think I got put out of the tournament earlier than usual, so on the way home, I decided to stop by Peabody's and see who was yet to play. When I approached the front door, the guy with the wristbands was talking to some chicks or something and not paying attention to me (presumably because the show was almost over and anybody coming in was just re-entering after having a smoke), so I just walked in to see who was playing. Cannibal Corpse (the headliner) was setting up. I decided I wasn't going to go back to the door and try to get the dude to take my money when he didn't seem to care about doing his job and I was only going to get to see one band anyway, so I just stayed put and watched Cannibal Corpse play roughly the same set as when I saw them at Scion Rock Fest, and then I just left. I gotta say, Cannibal Corpse was pretty awesome the first time I saw them, but when they play almost the exact same set - and even make most of the same jokes - the next time around, it's not all that interesting.