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2006 Was A Year-and-a-Half (Pt. III)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Part I / Part II / Part IV

The anticipation grows with this penultimate posting . . . we’re now into the top 10.

10. Tool @ The Hummingbird Centre

Starting off my top ten is my favourite band of all time. Their Hummingbird appearance was one of the most anticipated shows I have ever looked forward to. I was lucky enough to get a pair of tickets in the far back row within the first minutes of them going on sale. A few days before the show a co-worker came into my office with a devilish grin painted on his face. He informed me that a connection landed him front row tickets to the concert. His only reason for getting the tickets was to sell them on Ebay, but his conscience and knowledge of my Tool obsession led him to trade me the tickets for my own, which he promptly sold on Ebay for a nice profit (in turn the second buyer scalped the tickets at the show for still hundreds of dollars more). Watching from my incredible vantage point allowed me a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a legendary metal band at an out-of-character venue. I heard my favourite songs from feet away. My proximity made the show feel intimate, regardless of there being thousands in attendance. Although many in attendance were not overly thrilled by their performance, their rank in the upper echelons of my band hierarchy in addition to the front row experience at an unprecedented venue, earns them an admittedly biased spot on my top ten of 2006.

9. Michael Franti & Spearhead @ The Guvernment

This show is not only in my top ten for 2006, but also gets special mention for being one of my greatest concert experiences of all time. It was a swaying mass love-in, as the band trucked through hours of their patented brand of hippy rap-rock. The highlight of the show was a medley of Sublime’s What I’ve Got mixed in with the Sesame Street classic, C is for Cookie along with other famous songs. Over 2006, I met many of the performers on this list, but none was more notable than Michael Franti. The 6-foot-6 singer hopped off stage into the crowed immediately following the show. He stood there hugging every fan who approached before finally being ushered away by his handlers. My friend and I took the opportunity to greet the hippy front man who, upon meeting us, pulled each of us in for a friendly hug. He is a stand-up guy who’s outspoken criticism of social injustice also gets him bonus points on this list.

8. Common @ The Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee

Before 2006, hip-hop shows had usually failed to impress me. In past years hip-hop acts I have been to were more ego inflating than performing. Big acts like Method Man and Redman have been nothing more than posses posing on stage, yelling rhymes off beat. Special mention to Run DMC for being the worst live act I have ever experienced. 2006 changed my perception of live hip-hop, with great shows from both light and heavyweight contenders to the throne. The Roots, Mr Lif and Aesop Rock were all formidable proponents in 2006; even though they failed to make this list, they all helped to better my impression of live hip-hop. During my first night at Bonnaroo, I got to see one of my favourite MCs throw it down like a ton of bricks. A hip-hop heavyweight, Common left the egotism off-stage and concentrated on the task at hand, entertaining the huge crowd which spilled out from the large tent in this farmer’s field festival in Tennessee. His performance made him one of only two acts from Bonnaroo to make the top ten, the other being his opening act that night, Lyrics Born.

7. Lyrics Born @ The Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee

My knowledge of Lyrics Born is next to nothing. If pressed I wouldn’t be able to name an album of his, let alone a track that he does. I do know that he puts on one hell of a live show. Opening for Common, he warmed the crowed up like a fire on a cold night. The fact that he’s making this list without me being familiar with his music is further proof of his live prowess that night. This is an artist who I must remember to listen to more of.

6. South @ Lee’s Palace

South is a band I learned about a few years back because of my love for trip-hop act U.N.K.L.E. It was while researching U.N.K.L.E’s brain trust James Lavelle that I learned he had started the record label Mo Wax. South were the only non DJ act signed to the label at the time. I immediately got into the band on my first listen of their album From Here On In. Their show at Lee’s Palace was one I looked forward to with great anticipation. Early on in their set I was worried that this experience was going to be a huge let-down. The crowd was shy of 100 individuals. This lack of an audience seemed to have disappointed the band and showed early in their performance. It was when the band queried the audience about who was at their last Toronto appearance two years earlier that things turned around. Almost everyone in attendance cheered in response to the question. This show of dedication pleased the band, it was reflected immediately in their playing which greatly improved after this moment. My highlight of this show was their encore, a great cover of New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle.

Coming soon — the grande finale! eihcnerf

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