Well, what can I say, 2011 has been quite the year for music for me. I think I have tackled more gigs this year than ever before. I’ve been up and down the country, been to three festivals, and seen and heard all sorts! So when it comes to picking my favourite of the year it is a tough decision, a very tough decision.
I think though, for my best gig of the year, I am going to have to go with Slash at Victoria Hall in Stoke. A special night for so many reasons. Not only was this Slash’s first time back in the city he was born, but he was playing a gig in a beautiful venue, and it was all being recorded for his first live dvd! It was a fantastic night. I remember the band being on top form, they all looked and sounded amazing and gave a million per cent. I will never forget the look on the crowds faces as Slash played the Godfather theme solo, and hearing everyone afterwards talking about how it was possibly the best show they have ever seen. I know I certainly felt that way. A perfect evening in the company of a guitar god and his wonderful band.
Pulp at Wireless Festival was also a great one. Pulp have been one of my favourite bands since I was a little girl, infact Different Class was the first album I ever bought. I was too young the first time to see them, and they disbanded before I was old enough, but the news this year of their reformation made me ridiculously happy. It was a very very special night. An amazing set, full of timeless classics that I sang every word to. Jarvis Cocker is a true poet, and to hear him sing some of those songs live was honestly a dream come true. The crowd and the atmosphere in Hyde Park was electric and everyone united for mass sing alongs, it was kind of mesmerising.
Other stand out shows for me this year have been the truly fantastic Rival Sons. I managed to catch them play a very very tiny gig at The Cockpit in Leeds earlier in the year and it moved me immensely. They are the kind of band, that when they play you feel every single part of the music and it is so full of emotion, spirit and fire you cannot help but fall in love with them. Also, Michael Monroe and his band headed out on a tour back in April, and seriously, their show is one you need to see. So much energy and rock and roll attitude condensed into 90 mins, it is inspirational to see a band full of great musicians having so much fun playing music they love!
I feel like I have to also mention amazing sets from Rob Zombie, New York Dolls, Def Leppard, Duff McKagans Loaded, really there is just too many to choose from.
Now, onward to another difficult topic, album of the year. How can I pick just one when there have been many?
Rival Sons make it into this for me again. Pressure and Time is an absolute powerhouse of raw, dirty, soulful rock and roll. Nothing more, nothing less, just pure brilliance from beginning to end. Jay Buchanan’s voice is like nothing I have heard before, sure we have had some amazing frontmen in our time but Jay is something else. I first heard them back in January, Young Love was the first song to be precise and I had it on repeat for a good few days, so when Pressure and Time was released, it didn’t leave my stereo for a long time, infact it’s still in there. Honestly, if you are any kind of music fan you must listen to this band, I urge you. I know huge things will happen for them, so be a part of it too.
There have been many other fantastic releases this year, This Might Hurt by The Treatment, Sensory Overdrive by Michael Monroe, as well as offerings from Motorhead, Black Spiders and Graveyard that have kept my ears happy over the last 12 months.
Like I said 2011 has been a solid year for great music, it has been a very difficult task to try and some up just how great it has been for me, and I’m still sure I’ve forgotten some stuff, but you get the picture. Roll on 2012? I think so.