I’ve been fortunate to attend more than a handful of gigs this year, but one in particular stands out.
After winning the coveted Christmas number 1 slot as a result of a Facebook campaign, legendary rockers Rage Against the Machine graced London with a free victory party in Finsbury Park in June. Tickets for the party, dubbed ‘The Rage Factor’ were allocated on a lottery basis, and a lucky 60,000 were treated to a mini-festival. Finsbury Park was transformed into an alternative wonderland, complete with fairground, charity tents and anti-war campaigns. After extensive support from Gogol Bordello, Gallows and Roots Manuva, Rage bounded onto the stage and whipped the crowd into a frenzy, their set culminating with ‘Killing in the Name’.
My musical horizons have expanded this year – I’ve been much keener on discovering up and coming local bands. In early 2010, I enjoyed sets from Southend based rock group The LeonHearts and alt-rockers In the Pipeline. Hopefully they both have bright futures ahead.
Autumn saw gigs (courtesy of MTTM) by Brooklyn art-music collective MEN and piano engineer extraordinaire Hauschka play small venues in Glasgow – two very different performances, but both enjoyable and interesting to watch.
My run of low-key gigs in small locations was soon to end – in November, Deftones and Coheed and Cambria returned to the UK, packing out the O2 in Glasgow. Progressive metal group Coheed and Cambria were more than adequate warm up for the legendary Deftones, who stormed the stage and performed fantastic renditions of ‘My Own Summer’ and ‘Rocket Skates’. Their latest album ‘Diamond Eyes’ has recently been declared Rock Album of the Year by iTunes.
Hardcore tour Taste of Chaos hit the UK in November. Halestorm and Buckcherry provided so-so warm up for supporting band Papa Roach and headliners Disturbed. Papa Roach played all the crowd pleasers – wrapping up with ‘The Enemy’ and ‘Last Resort’. However it was the mighty Disturbed, one of the most successful metal/hard-rock groups who thrilled the most. Frontman David Draiman and guitarist Dan Donegan had superb stage presence, singling out members of the crowd and stalking the stage like wild animals. Their set was accompanied by animated and live-action footage of abandoned asylums, tying in with their recent album, much darker than their previous releases.
Finally, after their supposed ‘hiatus’, which lasted all of a few months, Scottish rockers Idlewild played a small tour to celebrate the 10th anniversary of 100 Broken Windows. A few thousand happy Scots packed out the Liquid Room in Edinburgh to celebrate the band’s return. Idlewild didn’t disappoint, playing the entirety of the album, and finishing with a long encore including crowd pleasers – ‘American English’.
Well that’s 2010 done for me gig-wise – I’m looking forward to the NME Awards and Foo Fighters’ triumphant return in 2011.