This is my favorite post to write each year. There are many reasons why but the main one is that I love how it tasks me with reliving my year in music. I have re-read every review that I have written in the past year. I have thought about every show and every individual set that I have seen in 2010.* I have made numerous lists of the sets I have seen, and I have broken them down into categories to determine the best of the best in each. I always enjoy the concert-to-concert combat that rages in my memory as I try to boil down a year’s worth of experiences into a shortlist that best represents the year. I am equally surprised and proud to discover that this is the sixth year that I have completed this process of list making.
2010 may be the single best year of live music that I have experienced in my eighteen years of concert-going. Collectively the shows I have seen across the U.S. and in and around DC this year have provided me with more moments of music nirvana, pure aural bliss, then I ever imagined was possible. I often say I am on a life-long quest to attain music nirvana and 2010 is as close as I have come to discovering it in a sustained form. With a year this good, my usual challenging task of narrowing the field down to the 10 best concerts was more difficult than ever.**
As a music writer, I carry an arsenal of rubrics with me with which to measure the success or failure of a show. How did the crowd respond? How did the performance measure up against other bands in the genre? And so and so on. For the most part, the biggest gun I’ve got is my music nirvana test; close my eyes, let the club lights dance on the insides of my eyelids, and see if the music can or can’t take me to another place. These are all conscious thoughts I have at a show; when a band can get me truly experiencing their music rather than thinking about it, they are passing my ultimate test. It is rare when a band can meet and then blow past that high standard, but James at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday night did just that.
There are very few concerts that have brought tears to my eyes. When James came out for their second glorious encore to answer the emotional, joyous demands of the crowd-that-would-not-leave and launched into ‘Tomorrow’, I was shocked to discover that tears of joy and empathy were streaming down my cheeks. Great live music is as close to having religion as I get and concerts like this are what make me a believer. This concert was a transcendent good time and easily one of the very best of 2010.
As a way to say thanks to our loyal readers, We Love DC will be giving away a pair of tickets to a 9:30 Club concert to one lucky reader each week. Check back here every Wednesday morning at 9am to find out what tickets we’re giving away and leave a comment for your chance to be the lucky winner!
This week’s giveaway contest is so good, I’d enter it myself if they would let me! Today we are giving away a pair of tickets to see Brit-pop legends, James perform at 9:30 Club on Monday, September 27th.
Not only is it incredibly rare to catch James live stateside (even though DC is lucky enough to get them twice in two years) but their new album “The Morning After The Night Before” is also their best work in years. I have been listening to the new one non-stop since it dropped last week and I am stunned at how “peak of their powers” James sounds after all these years. Everyone knows James from their big early 90′s hit “Laid”, but I’m here to tell you that as great as that song is, James have produced a deep catalog of even more stunning music over the years. Tim Booth and the band are without a doubt some of the best live Brit-pop performers I’ve ever seen and this concert is one of my most anticipated of 2010.
For your chance to win these tickets simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between 9am and 4pm today. One entry per email address, please. Tickets for this show are also available through Ticketfly If today doesn’t turn out to be your lucky day, check back here each Wednesday for a chance to win tickets to other great concerts.