Top 5 Concerts I Saw in 2006

I did this list last year, realising that its not exactly the kind of list others can judge. No one but my wife could say whether or not these particular shows were the best of the 8 I saw this year (9 if you include the Evening with Kevin Smith event we attended). But, it’s a fun way to look back at the year and see what kind of shows I went to. I’d be interested in seeing a list like this from others if they have one, or any year end list for that matter. Seriously, put the year in the title of a list and post it in December/January, and I’ll read it. It’s something I should probably look into.

5. Broken Social Scene and Feist at Folkfest– An outdoor show at Folkfest, we only attended the festival to see these two acts. A couple others played while we were there, but we just toured the grounds and ate food during those. This was the second time this year we saw Feist live, the first time was at Mac Hall with New Buffalo and Jason Collett. That show was probably better due to intimacy and acoustics, but this one gets the nod because it also had Broken Social Scene, who are amazing live. If this were a more traditional show, with better acoustics and a completely invested crowd (as opposed to a bunch of festival goers who were unfamiliar with BSS’ music), it could’ve contended for number one.

4. Wolf Parade with Frog Eyes– First off, I want to say that Wolf Parade are awesome live, bringing a real rock mindset to the world of indie. We were about three feet away from the stage at the small venue (The Warehouse, a bar for those who don’t know). The problem with this show was the sound engineering. The mix was totally fucked up, making Frog Eyes almost completely indecipherable, having to stop every song asking them to turn something up, or the feedback down. This continued into Wolf Parade’s set, making it near impossible to hear the vocals of the first couple songs, even though we were three feet away (meanwhile, the freakin’ Moog dominated all other sounds on stage). They eventually got a handle of the mix so that we could enjoy the show, but it was never really good, just good enough. It’s too bad, because the show was otherwise fantastic. It could’ve been the best if the venue knew what it was doing.

3. Pretty Girls Make Graves– I don’t remember who the opening acts for this show were, but they were both decent enough as openers. Not good enough to make me buy their album (like I did with The Diableros, who opened for The Stills at a show that just missed this list). The first great thing to happen with this show was that the venue was changed from the Warehouse to The Underground next door when we got there. Since The Warehouse proved such a crap venue for Wolf Parade, this was a welcome sign. Pretty Girls were awesome, all energy on the first night of their tour. What was a little weird was that we were up front and centre for the show, literally a foot away from lead singer Andrea Zollo. You want to be close for a show, but that’s closer than I usually get to people in elevators. We were hoping some short people would stand between us and them to give us a bit of a buffer, but I think that’s what everyone else was thinking with us. For the encore, they didn’t bother doing the whole leave-then-come-back thing, which was appreciated, then just asked us what we wanted to hear (I voted for “The Teeth Collector”, which they played).

2. Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand with The Cribs– Normally, I’m not a huge fan of arena shows (this one was at the Corral), as they’re a lot less personal and not as involving if you’re not on the floor (which we weren’t). Concert going shouldn’t be a passive sit-and-watch deal. I don’t like to mosh or anything, but I do like to be in the crowd, moving my feet a bit, making eye contact with the band, and feeling the music in my chest. But, this one was too awesome, featuring two bands that I didn’t expect to come to Calgary. Plus, we were in the first row, so it we weren’t too far removed from the action. It was a bit annoying that no one in our section felt like standing for the bands, but we just ignored them and stood anyway. This isn’t a movie, you non-fan bastards. When Death Cab played “Transatlanticism”, my body was all shivers.

1. Stars– Again, I don’t remember the opening acts, as this show was in February. Doesn’t matter. Best. Show. Ever. What a fantastic night of music, beginning with the stage set up, which made the show look like an off-broadway play. Which perfectly matched the mood the band was projecting, giving the crowd stories through songs. The whole night felt magical. It was the first concert I went to this year, and the best.

(For the record, the eighth concert we attended this year was Metric with The Elected, which was pretty good, but the crowd kind of killed my enthusiasm for it. I’m kind of over all-ages shows now).

Death Cab for Cutie – Plans
Drive Well, Sleep Carefully – On the Road with Death Cab for Cutie (2005)
Top 5 Death Cab for Cutie songs
Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
Metric – Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?
The Stills – Logic Will Break Your Heart
Top 5 Concerts I Saw in 2005

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