Best gigs of 2011

Here’s a totally subjective list of the top five gigs I went to in 2011. Enjoy

5. Ball Park Music @ The Gaelic Club

In July I went to Sydney for two weeks of PR work experience, Thai food and gigs. I spent most of my trip realising just how much of a stereotypical Melburnian I am (wearing black, eating from lane ways and being obsessed with decent coffee don’t bode so well in Sydney) and sizing up our rival city’s live music scene.

Towards the end of my trip I got sick, but luckily one of the friends I made convinced me to see Ball Park Music launch It’s Nice to be Alive. Having written them off as just another sunny Brisbane band, I was completely blown away by their shambolic and fun live show. I’ve seen them since and  was not disappointed.

4. Harvest Festival @ Werribee Mansion 

Life Music Media

With the cancellation of Soundwave Counter Revolution many were expecting Harvest The Gathering to fail. However with a killer line-up and a relaxed atmosphere it showed how one day festivals should be done. Unless you wanted to eat, drink or use the bathrooms that is.

Much has been said about the queuing situation and the lack of beer and it did put a dampener on what would have been an amazing festival. But with bands like The National, The Flaming Lips, Mogwai and Portishead on the bill, the music made up for the terrible organisation.

3. Will Sheff @ The Toff

It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of both Okkervil River and The Toff and Will Sheff’s solo show totally exceeded my expectations. With excellent support from Mike Noga and Jimmy Stewart there wasn’t a fault the entire night. Except for perhaps Mike Noga’s hangover.

The songs from I Am Very Far really shone without the layered instrumentation that bogs down the entire album, revealing the great tracks that lie underneath. We were also treated to some older tracks such as Happy Hearts and The President’s Dead, which has seem largely forgotton since its muse left the White House.

2. Pulp @ Festival Hall

The Vine

Reunion shows are often quick cash-grabs that leave the audience unsatisfied. But there was none of this to be had when Pulp played Festival Hall after almost fifteen years since their last Australia visit.

Their intelligent brand of britpop is just as relevant as ever and despite the lack of new material, the band played as though they still had something to prove.The set was largely made of their greatest hits with surprises such as Like a Friend and Party Hard thrown in for good measure and it was perfect. In fact this would have been the best gig of the year if it wasn’t for a certain festival in country Victoria.

1.Meredith Music Festival

Meredith Music Festival combines all the things a festival should have: no clashes, acts that play in a mixtape-esque order and a very, very relaxed BYO policy.

With bands ranging from the hilarious Viking hair metal of Barbarion to the 1920’s stylings of Frank Fairfield there was literally something for everyone provided their tastes extended beyond the top 40. The lack of clashes meant that there were no difficult decisions in picking bands to see and most importantly we got to see Grinderman go out on a high. While the secret act turned out to be DJs it was the only downer in an otherwise perfect weekend.

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