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2006 Was A Year-and-a-Half (Pt. I)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Part II / Part III / Part IV

2006 was a year-and-a-half for me; it saw me adventuring across North America accompanied by the spirit of rock and roll. Over the course of the year I saw in excess of 100 live music acts. Some were small indie-rock bands, some were legends and monsters of the music world.

It was shortly after NXNE, in early June, just before a fateful trip to Tennessee for the Bonnaroo Festival, that I realized I could potentially reach a century of bands in one year. I proceeded to feverishly research bands, scanning MySpace for gems that were headed to Toronto or, in some cases, were already here.

Now I sit here in a new February reflecting on the previous twelve months. I’m commonly asked what my favourite act of the year was; I’ve been hesitant to answer this question without much deliberation first. Finally, the jury has reached a verdict. Here are my top 20 of 2006.

20. Kid Koala @ The Mod Club

The show started late, leaving me and three friends to hang out for a couple of hours, awkwardly trying to talk over blasting speakers. But then Kid Koala hit the stage and the wait was worth it. Mixing Radiohead, Unkle, Nine Inch Nails, Amon Tobin, Arcade Fire and countless other music-nerd bands into seemingly new music, Kid Koala is an entertaining DJ to watch. His hands move ridiculously fast on the ones and twos while regaling the audience with renditions of Moon River, Over the Rainbow and a mosquito playing clarinet. This was the second time I have seen him live, the earlier show the better of the two though. The fact that this performance is worthy of my top 20 shows the strength of Kid Koala’s live presence. (My full article about this show).

19. The Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee

Bonnaroo is getting an honourable mention for being a memorable experience. While some bands that I saw during this 4 day music festival will appear again on this list, I felt the Bonnaroo entity deserved an award. This adventure saw me hitchhiking in Tennessee, and spending close to 60 hours on the road. Over the course of my time there, I saw: Bright Eyes being joined on stage by 5 special guests including Gillian Welch; Tom Petty accompanied on stage by Stevie Nicks; Radiohead, while myself accompanied by 15 Canadians who I had just randomly met; legends Dr. John & Buddy Guy; Damian Marley; Trey Anastasio jamming with Mike Gordon; and Beck, who gets kudos for doing a live puppet show on stage.

18. Born Ruffians @ Sneaky Dees

Let me start by saying I love Sneaky Dees — the beer is cheap and the food is good. It was here that I met a band called Catfish Haven who later told me about the Born Ruffians. The Ruffians are a Toronto band who are beginning to get well deserved praise from the media. A week after learning about them, I ended up at an art show at the Pilot. Playing there that night were the Born Ruffians. Their show was plagued with technical difficulties, not to mention the main floor of the Pilot is not a suitable venue for live music. Determined to see them again, I went to their show at Sneaky Dees a short while later. They were opening that night for The Bicycles and Old Soul. Their set was great, fully making up for their lacklustre Pilot performance. Funky and fun, this 3 piece have a whimsical jam to their sound. This show made me a big fan (A previous word about Born Ruffians).

17. God Made Me Funky @ The Drake

God Made Me Funky are the first NXNE band to be mentioned on this list. They’re a live funk band, with a great horn section, multiple singers, coordinated swaying, and a big fat guy in a cape with a bullhorn. It was hard not to dance the night away. God didn’t make me funky, but He definitely made them funky.

16. Mr. Something Something @ The Gypsy Co-op

I have a case of the booty shakes. It’s been with me since highschool. I’ve been on medication for it, but a series of live funk shows have resulted in a recent flare up. It’s a common disease, brought on by a danceable jam. The inflicted individual is overcome first by small bumps of the rump, followed by uncontrollable spasms of the head, legs, arms, hips and torso, usually in time with the music. At times, an attack can be accompanied by fits of the robot and outbreaks of popping and locking. Mr. Something Something’s show at the Gypsy resulted in a full blown epidemic.

Coming soon — #’s 15 – 11 eihcnerf

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. James17930 permalink
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 2:58 pm

    The Born Ruffians show kicked ass, that’s for sure.

  2. Jyl permalink
    Thursday, February 15, 2007 11:19 am

    I’m feeling a lot of dancing, and i like it. that mr something something show was awesome, and not even the best of theirs i’ve been to.

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