Countdown: 2009: Gigs

Today’s Tuesday Ten is slightly different to the norm. Mainly because I’ve not been to that many gigs this year, here are five of them worth mentioning.

Damnation Festival – University of Leeds
24-October 2009

Better organised, but less well-attended, than last year’s one, this had a number of great performances, but for me Akercocke’s vicious hour of death metal was by far the best. Savage, brutal, heavy-as-fuck and no time-wasting by nattering to the crowd for extended periods, they delivered exactly what the baying crowd wanted, and left me wondering how I’d never seen them live before…

Machine Head
Sonisphere Festival, Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire
02-August 2009

Returned to the bill as “special guests”, MH took to the stage like conquering heroes and got a reaction like I’ve perhaps never seen for a band at a festival. Nothing new played, as perhaps might be expected, it was all the crowd favourites and the big, big crowd went batshit for all of them. A new album would be nice sometime, but if they continue to be this good live I’m sure not too many people will be complaining in the meantime.

The first of a run of gigs this year that were utterly staggering, and I were initially not planning on going to this until I won tickets at the last minute. Needless to say, I’m glad we did go – not only did I get to see NIN on their last tour (as it turned out I actually saw them twice during the summer, as I saw their set at Sonisphere too), but I also got the chance to finally see Jane’s Addiction after nearly two decades of waiting. JA as support were fantastic, playing all the “old” stuff with no regard for the post-reformation material, and also no regard for fairweather fans who might only have known the hits. As for NIN…wow. A searing, furious four-track opening left our jaws on the floor, and they weren’t picked up again until nearly two hours later. The end of NIN as a touring entity has been confirmed since, and this was one hell of a way to say goodbye.

Number_02Alice In Chains
Academy 1, Manchester
14-November 2009

This was actually the second time I’d seen AiC live in 2009 (the first was again at Sonisphere), but the first time ’round was but a mere taster of the wonders that were to come. A packed-to-capacity crowd who, like me, seemed to be fans from their 90s heyday and so knew every word. The atmosphere was fantastic, the songs and performance even better, and the new material fitted in nicely without any complaints – but without being mere nostalgia. Not quite the best gig I saw all year, but the one that left me with the biggest smile on my face afterwards, that’s for sure.

Royal Festival Hall, London
12-October 2009

The only gig I’ve been to, I believe, where I’ve seen a band run through a single album, and perhaps it’s going to be the only one I ever do go to. Seriously, this gig was that good. The album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space has long been a favourite of mine, and in the live environment it was somehow even better in every respect. One of the few gigs that I have attended where it has left me dumbstruck with joy, I never want to see Spiritualized again live lest it taints the memory of how joyously brilliant this was. By far the best gig of 2009, and possibly the best I’ve ever seen, in fifteen years of gig-going

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