Every other website and publication did their ‘best of the year’ lists about a month ago, but my last gig of 2011 was last night, so it only seemed fair to wait until all the cards were on the table before making any decisions.
Here are my top 15 performances of the year (I couldn’t shave it down to just 10). These are the ones I was genuinely blown away by, and which still stand out in my mind as amazing nights. To put them in order was virtually impossible. You can click on those we reviewed to find out my thoughts from the time, and those we didn’t have notes alongside them to give an indication of why they were included.
14. Bombay Bicycle Club, Barfly
(According to my Facebook status, “Very intimate, very sweaty Bombay Bicycle Club gig at the Barfly. Really rather wonderful.”)
7. Blackout: Anonymous artists play in pitch black, The Apiary
(And this amusing tweet: “This is the weirdest fucking night of my life. Expect a very weird review tomorrow…” Lots of love to our favourite promoters, Eat Your Own Ears.)
6. Money, The Castle Hotel
(A performance which, in one fell swoop, made them my second favourite new band of 2011. Sort of review here.)
4. Pulp, Brixton Academy
(Facebook status said: “But then tomorrow morning, ooh do you come down. Thus ends a week of Pulp.” I saw them three times in one week. The last show was the best, but every time they blew everyone away, and every show was uniquely captivating.)
3. Beyonce, Glastonbury
(Absolutely brilliant. She’s a real entertainer. Great dancers, great lights, great fireworks, great voice, great songs, great atmosphere. Everyone was happy.)
2. Spector, Electric Ballroom (I know Spector are in here twice, but there is a reason I saw them six times this year.)
1. The Strokes, Leeds Festival
(This was just one of the most fun experiences of my life. I’ve been in love with The Strokes since I first discovered indie music as a youngster, but until this grey day in August I had never seen them live. They played everything you wanted them to. I jumped up and down like an excited three-year-old throughout the entire set, and shouted every word. I lost my phone that day, but I couldn’t care less. I was on cloud nine.)
Disclaimer: This list is based solely on the gigs our editor, Sophie Armour, went to this year. We’re sure plenty of other fantastic gigs happened, but we weren’t there, so we don’t know. Feel free to enlighten us.