I had a think the other night when I was lying in bed, you know, that little twilight time Macca describes right before you fall asleep and strange thoughts come into your head. (at least that is his explanation for 'Yellow Submarine'. a likely story...) and thought it might be nice to have a "best memory" of each month of this year.
January - this is a tie: 1) standing in front of Johnny Marr, jaw on the floor, as he played with the Cribs at the 9:30 on 19 January. he really is that amazing on guitar. and 2) interviewing We Are Scientists backstage at the Black Cat. they are so, so funny. and I got to enjoy the gig with my good friend Catherine, who enjoyed their show even she had no idea who they were / what they sounded like previous to the gig. score!
February - this is probably going to sound a bit strange, but the highlight of February was seeing Delphic's 'Halcyon' video in all its full colour, wide screen glory on a tv display at DC9, 19 February. I had only ever seen it on a computer screen and being able to see it in front of me, huge, brought a smile to my face. that and MB and I were singing along to it and dancing to it like loons, even though no one else there had a clue why were acting that way. (ohhhh, the ignorant!)
March - watching the xx play a sold-out gig at 6th and I Synagogue, 28 March. what a gorgeous, intimate venue to see such beautiful music being played.
April - witnessing Two Door Cinema Club's debut appearance in Washington, at Constitution Hall, 26 April 2010. they could have been scared and apprehensive playing one of the bigger stages in DC, supporting heavyweight Phoenix, but they showed no signs of worry. they were friggin' amazing. I was happy I wasn't the only one dancing along to their tunes but golly, just 5 months prior I'd received a sampler from Kitsune with 5 tracks of theirs (absolutely loving them) and now I was getting to see them live.
the best part was afterwards, when I went right up to Kev Baird and said hello, showing him I knew who he was (he was very surprised!) and when I gave him my business card, he said, "IT'S YOU! you're the woman who writes lovely things about us!" and we hugged. since then I have been sending friends to see them all over the world, and the band know this, b/c inevitably, they meet my friends after and they say, "Mary sent me!" haha
May - Laura Marling at Iota (16 May). I'd just come back from Philly seeing Two Door and was feeling ambivalent about this gig - I'm not a big fan of hers. live, she is WOW. how is it possible someone so young has so much talent?
June - meeting Conor O'Brien (Villagers) and seeing him do a solo show at DC9, 21 June. I wasn't sure if it was such a good idea going to this gig, just days before I had to leave for Denmark, but I am so, so glad I went. we had a nice chat. he wanted to know about me b/c I had said I had learned about him from Steve Lamacq (um, of course!)
July - Roskilde. professionally, this was a major coup, being the only American invited to be an official blogger for the festival. (seriously, I now get the "you went to Roskilde???" gasp from most bands when I tell them I saw them there. probably the best gasp was from Dougy Mandagi of the Temper Trap, whose mind was blown when I told him I had stood behind him as he smoked during the Kissaway Trail's set at Odeon and since he was chilling, I didn't want to bother him. this discussion went on outside the Boston House of Blues, see September.) I saw so many bands gig there that I may never get the chance to see in my lifetime, and I feel truly blessed for the opportunity. personally, I met two English musicians who I think will be friends for a very long time. if their band doesn't get too big and they forget the little people that helped them at the very beginning of their world domination, that is :)
August - I bought my first amp! it's only a practise amp but it signalled my first real foray into bass playing. I am teaching myself how to play electric bass guitar - I started the week after I got back from Roskilde - and it's become a wonderful hobby. I used to sing alto in the school choir, so it's coming pretty naturally to me to play a harmonising instrument than a lead melody one. also of note: I have learned how "sensual" an instrument the bass guitar is. (and yes, that is all I will say on that subject!)
September - travelling to see Temper Trap and Delphic in Philly (26 September) and Boston (29 September). such great shows. forget the money and traveling, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat for similar amazing experiences. probably the two best moments were 1) interviewing Matt Cocksedge of Delphic, b/c he's such a funny, intelligent, and talented guy and 2) getting hugged by Dougy Mandagi after the Boston show, he'd had such a high after meeting a large group of girls from Indonesia (where he is from) who had travelled all the way to Boston to see their show, because up to that point, they had not played in his home country. I am really glad to have seen them before they start playing stadiums, b/c I'm sure that's where they're headed next. Delphic had a good if not great reception, which is pretty good, considering not too many people know who they are on this side of the pond (hope this will be rectified soon, b/c I've tried my darnedest to promote them over here).
October - seeing the tragedy of DC9 scared the heck out of me (it took a couple weeks before I would even go back downtown again) and First Aid Kit's show was cancelled (boo), the highlight of the month was seeing Delphic there on 8 October, a week before that drunk guy got killed outside the club, is bittersweet.
it had been pretty much a perfect night, the weather was wonderful to hang out on the rooftop bar. (nearly) all my local friends had come for the show, and they were not disappointed. even weirder, one of my cousins was there celebrating a friend's birthday (I had not invited her, she just happened to be there and was surprised to hear there was a band playing that night). before the night was out, I'd introduced her to Rick Boardman - her first rock star encounter (insert proud older cousin smirk here). before the band left, we were able to have a moment with them for catch-up so I could wish them well for the second part of their campaign across our continent. there was mutual appreciation and hugs all around.
aww, now I'm getting teary-eyed! haha.
November - two things. 1) emotionally, I needed to see the Script at the 9:30 on 2 November. (don't you dare laugh.) a lot of people think they're too commercial but I like their sound and they are v. good live. I was amazed how the crowd sang along to every song. what a great night. however, 2) I also needed a good rocking out / kick in the pants this month, and that was delivered by the Joy Formidable at Black Cat Backstage (11 November). it is with some amusement that I remember almost getting hit in the head several times by Ritzy Bryan's guitar. haha.
December - interviewing Brian Briggs of Stornoway at the Black Cat and telling him how much 'Beachcomber's Windowsill' meant to me, and he was touched. before I left the venue, the whole band signed a set list for me, "to Mary, with love from Stornoway, and thanks for the praise online! Oli, Brian, Jonathan, and Rob". I feel very grateful that my "job" allows me opportunities like this.
I am now looking forward to seeing what 2011 brings - more amazing gigs, interviews, and meetings, surely, but I also wish for love. blogging as a single woman is a very, very lonely experience. you just don't know how lonely it is until you actually do it for 2 years and go to most (if not all) gigs by yourself. everyone else is at a gig with their significant other, or at least their friends.
I've travelled alone to all sorts of places for gigs and I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had in places near and far, meeting bands and seeing them gig. but most of the downtime, wandering around an unfamiliar town, is pretty lonesome. it'd be nice to find someone who loves music as much as I do and be able to share that important part of my life with him.
well. it is time to bid adieu to 2010. if you are in DC, London, Manchester, New York, LA, or further afield...I hope you have exciting plans for tonight to say goodbye to this eventful year.
roll on 2011! and happy new year!
top gigs of 2010 - TGTF - winner: the Postelles
top albums of 2010 - TGTF - winner: 'Acolyte', Delphic
top 'lists' of 2010 - Popwreckoning - posts tomorrow, 01.01.11