2006 Was A Year-and-a-Half (Pt. IV)
You’ve been waiting patiently, and here it is. The grand reveal — the 5 best shows of 2006. What will be #1?
5. Emm Gryner, Buck 65 and Holy Fuck @ Cherry Beach Studios
MySpace is a great tool for a music nerd like myself. Whenever I hear about a new band, my first stop is always their MySpace. Not only can I listen to their music, but I can learn which of my favourite bands are coming to my city. It was thanks to a posting on Buck 65’s MySpace that I learned about the show which is now taking spot number 5. In the posting, Buck 65 vaguely wrote about an upcoming film shoot that he was going to be performing on with other special guests as part of an art collective called the Side Street Project. The posting also included an email address; the first 25 people to send an email received entrance to the secretive taping for themselves and a friend. On the day of the show, concert goers were informed of the location as well as the full list of acts, being Buck 65, Emm Gryner and Holy Fuck. The stage was set in the middle of the studio. All 3 acts took the stage together. Each act played three sets over the period of the night. The first set, each act played a few songs as the other musicians watched from the stage. Second set, the other acts accompanied the songs being performed by the artists who wrote them. For example, Buck 65 and Holy Fuck played back up for Emm Gryner’s second set, just as she did for both of their second sets. Finally, the third set was a series of 3 covers performed by all the acts together. The covers were as follows: Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar on Me – Emm Gryner, vocals; Gordon Lightfoot’s Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Buck 65, vocals; Bruce Springsteen’s State Trooper – Emm Gryner, vocals. As far as the performances go, the acts were in prime condition, with exception of two failed attempts by Buck 65 to perform a song, everyone was impeccable. I do have to make special mention of electro funk jam band Holy Fuck. If ever you have an opportunity to see these guys play, do not miss it. They’re like nothing else out there. Now I wait breathlessly on word of what will happen to the video footage taken that night. As of now, no air date, or DVD street date has been announced.
4. Jurassic 5 @ The Reverb
Big bands at intimate venues was a theme for me in 2006. With Tool, Buck 65, Jurassic 5 as well as others all playing venues, much smaller, than what they could easily fill. Without doubt, the best of these intimate shows was Jurassic 5. Set up as part of a pre-tour, the J5 crew played the Reverb show to get back to their roots before embarking on a much larger tour. The Reverb, as the band told the crowd, was the first venue they ever played in Toronto. As I mentioned earlier in this list, hip-hop acts have often failed to impress. Usually it’s either one or two guys yelling off key, and out of time lyrics breathlessly into the mic. What was so incredible about Jurassic 5 is that it’s 5 guys and they didn’t miss a beat. It’s as if the members have a psychic link that allows them to easily switch things up and play off each others rhythm. Simply put, Jurassic 5 take number 4 for 2006, but as well, they take the crown as the best hip-hop act I have yet to see.
3. Sigur Ros @ Massey Hall
Close your eyes . . . imagine Sigur Ros music playing in your head . . . it sounds even more overwhelmingly beautiful than usual. Now, throw in haunting visuals being broadcast onto the back of your eyelids and you have their live show. I just wish I knew WTF they were saying.
2. Something For Rockets @ Lee’s Palace
Up until the night I saw them, I had never heard of them. Within two chords, my jaw hit the ground and I was a huge fan. Something For Rockets were the opening act for South (#6 on this list), their brand of dance-rock and my discovery of a new band that night became the reason for why I’ve tried to take in all opening acts from that night forward. They are a relatively unknown band, but they have managed to garner a bit of notoriety — firstly for their music being in many an MTV promo, secondly because lead singer Rami Perlman is violin legend Itzhak Perlman’s son. Expect to hear more about these guys in the coming year.
1. Silversun Pickups @ Lee’s Palace
Immediately after seeing this show, I knew that it would probably be my number one. A few months later, that thought has not changed. Silversun Pickups’ live show is much rawer than their recorded work. Songs are screamed while still being sung. My expectations were extremely high and the band managed to surpass them. Their show at Lee’s Palace could quite possibly be their last small Toronto show. The Pickups are poised to go big in the near future with an opening gig for Snow Patrol and OK Go in 2007. I would highly recommend their Ep and full length album, but also suggest you fork out the cash to catch their opening spot later this year at Ricoh Coliseum. Silversun Pickups were my favourite new music find of 2006, and it is all too appropriate that they are also my favourite live act of the year.
In retrospect 2006 was a year of many ups and downs for me. Luck and a great connection at Exclaim Magazine (*plug* Please keep getting me onto guest lists Exclaim!) allowed me to see so many shows over the year. Although many bands greatly impressed me, many, including some heavy weights didn’t even manage to meet my expectations. 2007 probably won’t be as hectic for me, but I still hope to see a good number of shows over the next 12 months. eihcnerf