Today we present installment #2 of our Rabbits Black “Best of 2011” Staff Picks: Best Live Show of 2011! Whether its a festival performance, high budget arena show, or that surprising Tuesday night at the Echo, our award for “Best Show” goes to that one band that took the stage and shattered any and all expectations. There are a lot of great choices for this category, which is a testament to all the great live bands out there, but at the end of the day our staff members had to choose only 1! See what live performances rocked our world after the jump!
RB Staff Picks #2 – Best Live Show of 2011
1. Ronnie: Night Horse @ Headhunters (SXSW) 3/18
You had to be there. Maybe that’s the cheap way out, but for the handful of people who saw Night Horse at their late night SXSW performance, you know exactly what I mean. The venue seemed to be standing on its last legs before the show even started, and after the show Night Horse put on its a modern miracle its still there. The venue consisted of two bars in an outside back lot. The bathroom doubled as a public restroom and the private bath and tub for the apartment upstairs. About two songs into their set, you couldn’t tell where the crowd started and the band began. With no elevated stage, it was pure madness, with lead singer Sam James Velde throwing the mic to fans to sing for portions of the songs. Ya, it was that type of show. It made you believe in rock n’ roll all over again.
2. Ryan: The Cure @ Pantages Theatre 11/22
This was simply the most historical and unique concert I saw all year. It is extremely difficult for a such a legendary band with such a large catalogue of music to satiate their fans, but one to do it is to play 4 different sets including 3 full albums in their entirety! This was a 45 song set performed like a theater production with several different acts. This choice isn’t completely unbiased, I have been a fan of The Cure for a long time so this show was designed for me.
Honorable Mention: Night Horse @ Headhunters (SXSW) 3/18; Dax Riggs @ The Echo 6/10; Jane’s Addiction @ Ford Theatre 10/4
3. Andrew: Night Horse @ Headhunters (SXSW) 3/18
You honestly couldn’t tell who was in the band, and who was in the audience. It was just a mess of bodies, sweat, and heavy guitar licks. It’s shows like this that got me into Rock and Roll.
Honorable Mention: Social Distortion w/ Frank Turner @ Stubb’s; Valient Thorr @ The Double-Wide (literally in somebody’s garage, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way).
4. Tiffany: The Glitch Mob @ The Regency Ballroom 6/24
I know I’m the sole Rabbit going with electronic music here, so I’m happy to plug The Glitch Mob in this year-end round up. The LA-based trio put on a great live show. It’s just fun. Although the glitch hop group has removed much of the live-show focus away from live performances of the instruments, they still know how to put on a great production. The visual experience of The Glitch Mob live is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Each member of the trio stands elevated on their own platform, surrounded by zig-zagged stadium lights perfectly synched to the group’s carefully selected playlist. The screens that serve as a backdrop coordinate with the light saber-like frames, and flash 8-bith images and colors, again coordinated with each song. Add to that the audience-facing Lemur touch pads and a Cirque du Soleil-worthy suspended ribbon performer, and you’ve got an idea of the visual show that is The Glitch Mob live… definitely something you have to experience to understand. Plus, it’s just one hell of a dance party.
5. Anthony: Queens of the Stone Age @ The Fox Theater Oakland 4/2011
Hands down, the best show of the year. One of my favorite all time sexy rock bands, my favorite Bay Area venue, floor cocktail service, a packed house, and a DOUBLE ENCORE!! There is seriously not much more I could have asked for in a show, except for maybe a back stage pass, a pull off of Homme’s coveted vodka bottle, and a stage dive. I had a great group of friends and true QOTSA fans to party with and knew every word to almost every track. This show was my first post on Rabbitsblack and I found it extremely hard to find a stopping point in the article. QOTSA totally rocked the house with the re-release and full play through of their debut album…did I mention the DOUBLE ENCORE?!?!?
6. Shawn: Crocodiles @ Troubadour 10/3
Even though Dum Dum Girls were headlining that night Crocodiles definitely took the cake. Very raw sounds, fast paced, and in your face. Their live show closely mimics their album work but not so much that it’s like listening to the album. They add some new sounds to the mix so you can still hear the songs you love but in a slightly different variation
7. Stephanie: Snoop Dogg @ Pacific Festival OC 8/13
Small crowd, epic act – I was pretty apathetic about this act until Snoop Dogg took the stage. It was amazing hearing so many classic songs by a pioneer in the genre, and when Kurupt and Warren G joined the show, shit got unreal. Also, I just love watching white people dance to gangster rap.
…check in tomorrow for installment #3!