Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wayward's top fifteen shows of 2010

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 11:32 AM

  • Phoenix

At The Pitch, we go out. Scratch that: We go out a lot. And in 2010, we saw you, Kansas City. We saw you cheer, dance and roar at dinosaur acts at the Uptown Theater, at steamy rock shows at the Replay Lounge, at hard-charging DIY punk sets in warehouses, and at crusty blues riffs at Knuckle­heads Saloon. With the help of David Hudnall, Nick Spacek, Jenny Kratz, Chance Dibben, Alan Scherstuhl, Nadia Pflaum and Ian Hrabe, Wayward has put together a list of the top 15 shows of 2010, and what made them great.


The Uptown Theater, September 11

In a rare show of scene solidarity, everyone is in complete agreement: Pavement's performance at the Uptown was an amazing, fantastic, awesome and -- might we go this far? -- transcendent show that kept the crowd rapt for nearly two hours. That's an unsurprising reaction when one considers the audience, though: It was a debutante ball for formerly awkward adolescents, with gangly Stephen Malkmus presiding as king.

-- Nick Spacek

The Zero Boys
  • The Zero Boys

The Zero Boys

RecordBar, April 16

The Zero Boys' set may have started with all-new songs, but when the band launched into "Vicious Circle," people in the crowd went off like they'd been waiting for years -- which, of course, they had. Rarely does a band sound better after 30 years. We bounced around the audience with such abandon that when we woke up the next day, we found bruises in all sorts of interesting places.

-- Nick Spacek

Ray Price
  • Ray Price

Ray Price with Dale Watson and Billy Joe Shaver

Knuckleheads Saloon, May 23

In his gracious grandpa-gone-a-courtin' manner, Ray Price, age 84, stomped total ass. He performed his hourlong set standing stock-still, and he did it despite having lived long enough to see his style of lilting, heartsick honky-tonk fade.

-- Alan Scherstuhl

Janelle Monae
  • Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae with Of Montreal

Liberty Hall, October 22

Janelle Monae, in some freakish feat of superhuman ability, conjures rocking, toe-tapping ragers that are also touching, vulnerable portraits. Better yet, she does this while doing a one-footed mashed-potato. As evidenced by a passionate hometown crowd at Liberty Hall, Monae is still a Kansas City girl deep down, and she's quickly becoming the future of pop music, too.

 -- Elke Mermis

Sufjan Stevens
  • Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens

The Uptown Theater, October 17

Sufjan Stevens took a hard left into electronic territory for this year's The Age of Adz. The live result: symphonic slop, jarring noise, and lingering beauty that still bore the artist's unmistakable imprint.

-- Elke Mermis

  • Phoenix

Phoenix with Roman Numerals

The Uptown Theater, April 21

Phoenix is a delightful date, ready to pull out your chair and pay for your dinner. But don't be fooled: The band's smoking show at the Uptown proved that Phoenix isn't a goody-two-shoes. Thomas Mars' voice edged toward hoarse anguish, pristine guitars erupted into snarling dissonance, and crisp drums became muddied and chaotic. Phoenix bid Kansas City goodnight with two quick European-style kisses and a cheeky wink.

 -- Elke Mermis

Lady Gaga
  • Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga with Semi Precious Weapons

The Sprint Center, August 3

The boob sparklers, the teeny leather bikinis, the Monster Ball claw in person -- all exhilarating. But Lady Gaga live is about more than iconography. Sex, fire, glitter, bass, dancing and high heels all made cameo appearances at the pop star's show, along with torture, fake blood and a healthy dose of political rhetoric. In other words, a killer stage show that gave its audience everything it wanted.

-- Elke Mermis

The National
  • The National

The National with Owen Pallett

The Uptown Theater, September 29

High Violet, the latest from the National, is a moody, elegant record, but it isn't necessarily the kind of material that makes for a dynamic live show. At the Uptown, however, the band drew wattage from tenderness, creating moods and blowing up songs at precisely the right moments. The band absolutely fucking torched the place -- on its own terms.

-- David Hudnall

Roger Waters
  • Roger Waters

Roger Waters Presents The Wall

The Sprint Center, October 30

"Are there any paranoids in Kansas City tonight?" Roger Waters yelled. The Sprint Center was packed with fans who hadn't updated their shirts (or their mustaches) since Pink Floyd was a touring enterprise. Kids in costumes -- it was Halloween, after all -- cheered next to 40-something guys in Dockers, loafers and faceless student masks. At an arena as smoky as a high-schooler's bedroom, The Wall took on operatic grandeur and celebrated its own rich history, in rock and in the lives of its fans.

-- Elke Mermis

Xiu Xiu
  • Xiu Xiu

Xiu Xiu with Tune-Yards

Jackpot Music Hall, March 29

It's one thing to listen at home to heartbreaking songs about depression, sexual abuse and suicide relayed through Jamie Stewart's about-to-fall-apart quaver. In a live setting, it's -- actually, it's fucking brilliant. Onstage, Xiu Xiu distilled its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink instrumentation into a wash of sound constructed with clattering cymbals, distorted synthesizers and a Nintendo DS. The result was something akin to eavesdropping on someone having an intensely personal conversation, and being able to dance to it.

-- Ian Hrabe

Girl Talk

Crossroads KC, September 10

There's no question that this year's best rain-soaked dance orgy was courtesy of Gregg Gillis, better known as the mash-up genius Girl Talk. Hundreds of people packed in tightly at the muddy, soggy Crossroads KC, took off their shirts and shoes, and grinded madly as Gillis' sound system thumped and bumped out the best (and the hilarious worst) of popular dance music.

 -- Jenny Kratz

The Republic Tigers
  • The Republic Tigers

RecordBar's Fifth-Birthday Bash

RecordBar, October 1-3

This year, RecordBar turned five, and it cele­brated with three days of live music. Local darlings Soft Reeds opened for Field Music on Friday, and Sunday's crowd thrashed to the metal-rific lineup of Hammerlord and Valient Thorr. But the highlight of the weekend was the return of KC rock royalty the Republic Tigers, which debuted new music.

 -- Jenny Kratz

Thee Oh Sees
  • Thee Oh Sees

Thee Oh Sees

Scion Garage Fest, October 2

Thee Oh Sees wasted no time getting down to its absurd, scrappy, scary brand of psychedelic garage rock. Singer John Dwyer howled and screamed, and the Bottleneck fumed with the collective heat of its overpacked crowd. Some songs were fast -- nearing speed-metal velocity -- and some, like the 14-minute "Warm Slime," were epic cool-downs.

 -- Chance Dibben

The Budos Band with Superwolf

RecordBar, August 25

The Budos Band prides itself on having a little something for everyone, which is why those of us who don't crack 5 feet 5 inches had to get up on tippy-toes to catch a glimpse of the Staten Island funk stars at RecordBar. You don't need a good view to dance, and nobody had trouble getting down to warm horns, driving drums and head-bobbing bass. It broke the sweat barrier and the Kansas City record for "Most Beards in One Room."

-- Nadia Pflaum

Black Friday

Crosstown Station, November 26

In a strong year for live jazz collaboration at the talented hands of local pianist Mark Lowrey, Black Friday's jazz versus hip-hop showcase at Crosstown Station was the highlight. Featuring Les Izmore, Reach, Hermon Mahari, Ryan Lee and Schelli Tolliver, the night paid homage to hip-hop superstars Common, J Dilla and Notorious B.I.G., with Kansas City's best jazz musicians holding down the rhythm. Legendary grooves by Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis effortlessly backed hip-hop lyrics, and a packed crowd was treated to Kansas City's rich musical history -- and a glimpse of its future.

-- Jenny Kratz

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