Top Shows of 2010 | Laura Hamlett

We made the most of it, catching Matthew Good in Austin at South by Southwest, then following him to Dallas and Memphis.

1. Matthew Good | Hi-Tone, Memphis, 03.22.10
2. Matthew Good | Granada Theatre, Dallas, 03.21.10
Hands down, Canadian rocker Matthew Good is my favorite performer ever. As he rarely tours the States, we went to Toronto December 2009 (one of the best Christmas presents ever!) to catch back-to-back shows—the first time I’d seen him live. Shortly after we booked our trip, Good announced his first U.S. tour in years. We made the most of it, catching him in Austin at South by Southwest (one of the best birthday presents ever!), then following him to Dallas and Memphis. While all the shows were a treat (despite the SXSW one being short and in a crappy basement venue), the Memphis one stands out as the best because I was literally three feet from Good. The Granada in Dallas is a really cool venue, though, so I’m glad we had a chance to visit.
3. a-ha | Riviera Theater, Chicago, 05.13.10
In early 2010, a-ha announced their disbanding at the end of the year. They played just a handful of U.S. dates (though they’ve remained huge throughout the world, their U.S. distribution and popularity hasn’t been as strong), and we made sure to catch the one nearby. I wrote this in my review, but it bears repeating: I overheard a guy behind me telling his date, “We’re going to remember this for the rest of our lives.” We are, indeed.
4. GreyMarket | PLAY:stl Music Festival, Blueberry Hill Duck Room, St. Louis, 09.18.10
I discovered this Tampa duo at PLAY:stl 2009 and knew I had to work with them. I now manage the band, but that doesn’t make them any less spectacular (just ask anyone who’s seen them; they are truly amazing). This set was particularly pristine, filled with songs from their fabulous 2008 release Some Orbits Will Never Decay, along with enough new material to build excitement for spring’s Dark Matter and Other Love Stories. No one left that show unimpressed.
5. Tommy Keene | SXSW, Taproom at Six, Austin, 03.20.10
I’ve been a huge Tommy Keene fan since high school, and getting to see him perform is always a treat. This year—his first at SXSW in ages—saw Tommy performing three times, one official showcase and two daytime parties. Of course I caught all three, but it was the artist’s official festival performance that left the biggest mark on me. With his 15-year-old nephew on drums, Tommy & Co. demonstrated that songwriting genius knows no expiration date.
6. New World Spirits | The Pageant, 01.16.10
In my late 20s, if New World Spirits was playing you could almost certainly find me there. The band’s reunion show—which led to a permanent reuniting—proved why they’d been so popular: strong, bouncy, fun songs, killer vocals and frontman J. Chambers’ captivating stage presence. Even the nonbelievers (who’d, presumably, been dragged along by their dates) were impressed. The simultaneous release of Twenty-Ten, a collection of old NWS material that never saw the light of day, proved this group’s talent still holds up as well as ever.
7. Bamboo Shoots | Cicero’s, St. Louis, 01.14.10
This was the first time I saw Brooklyn indie popsters Bamboo Shoots, and man, was it fun: singalong pop songs that border on the edge of guilty pleasures, and four members who wear their hearts on their dancing sleeves. Truly a participatory performance, Bamboo Shoots proved why they’d won the MTV Best Music on Campus award, which led to their signing with Epic Records. (I loved these guys so much I also joined in to help promote their music.)
8. Gooding w/The Paperclips | Cicero’s, St. Louis, 04.16.10
Gooding’s aptly titled new CD The Return was a welcome reminder of how good this independent career rocker was; his live show was the defining moment, though. With some of the most killer guitar skills in the world (no joke), Gooding and Co. deliver one of the most searing live shows you’ll see. The man even plays two guitars at once; mind blowing. After a 50-state tour in 2010, Gooding will be back on the road in the spring, so don’t miss him.
9. Matthew Good | SXSW, Parish Theatre, Austin, 03.19.10
(See above.)
10. Bad Veins | SXSW, Emo’s, Austin, 03.17.10
They had to cancel their Cicero’s appearance a few weeks prior, so it was a treat to get to catch the band at SXSW. Solid, solid indie rock, big sounds from just two guys. I’d love to catch ‘em again with a full set this time; hopefully 2011 holds good things for this band.
| Laura Hamlett
About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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