Last weekend I made a quick getaway to Miami to attend the Ultra Music Festival, otherwise known as the biggest electronic music festival in the world. This was the thirteenth installment of this Miami institution and the first time that it was expanded to a three day event. I along with 150,000 devoted dance music fans* sampled some of the world’s best DJs, producers, and electronic-leaning bands at what amounted to a three-day orgy of drugs, sweat, booze, bikinis, concrete, and ultra-heavy bass. I have been to some huge festivals in my day and some mighty big parties, but I don’t think I have ever been to something that combined the two quite like Ultra Music Festival did.
I thought that the readers who follow my musical adventures on We Love DC might like to hear about my field trip down south. The organizers are already planning UMF 2012 and if you dig what you see and read about here, you might want to consider making the trip yourself next year.
While I consider my Best Concerts list to be a pretty definitive guide to what concerts totally rocked socks in the DC area in the past year, I think that top album lists are a bit more vague and really only serve as guides to albums the reader may have missed. I am much more a theme-based best-of list maker. I usually don’t compile a best albums of the year list, but I have received several requests for me to do one this year.
I acquire music rapidly and without much regard to year. So really albums are not so much attached to years for me as they are tied to whatever genre or sub-genre kick I am on at a given time.* It was actually pretty difficult for me to put together my starting list. A lot of what I thought were 2010 albums were actually from ’09! That said I did put together a list of about 50 or so albums from this year that are worthy of mention. From that list I battled them down to a top 10. These are not the best albums of 2010, they are simply my favorite. Maybe you’ll find something new here to check out. Maybe you won’t. Readers you asked for it, you got it. My picks in reverse order (along with a taste of each) after the jump…
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.**
The two combined for one of the most fun nights of electronic dance music that I have had in Washington DC since the heydey of 90’s techno at Trax or Capital Ballroom/Nation. It was so much fun, I can hardly believe that it took place in our city. No offense DC, but on the pure electronic party front you’ve been lacking for years.* Simian Mobile Disco’s ‘Delicatessen’ party at U Street Music Hall rivaled some of the best European dance parties and Sahara Tent raves I have experienced. I imagine that bringing real ‘experience’ dance parties like this one to DC is exactly why Jesse Tittsworth and Will Eastman built their electronic music mecca in the first place.
You may know the UK remix duo known as Simian Mobile Disco from their reworkings of Muse, Air, and The Klaxons but tonight at U Street Music Hall get ready to see another side of them. Simian Mobile Disco have spent the last year crafting a series of original minimal techno tracks and releasing them as 12’s on their own label. The whole project is called “Delicacies”; as each track is named after an exotic delicacy discovered by the two during their world travels.
All year Simian Mobile Disco have been showing off their great new sound and their live mixing talents by hosting ‘Delicatessen’ parties in the UK. Now they are collecting their singles onto an album and bringing their ‘Delicatessen’ parties to the US. Their limited run of US events kicks off tonight at U Street Music Hall. I can not wait to hear Simian Mobile Disco’s spare electronic beats and mellow techno melodies working out U Hall’s custom built sound system. This is one of the best acts the U Hall has booked yet!