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15 Top Live Acts In 2009

The best shows I saw last calendar year. It was a good year, here's hoping 2010 will be too (it's looking good with Muse and Silversun Pickups confirmed, with an outside chance at Phoenix). Anyway, the best 15 concerts of 2009, as seen by Aids:
1 Coldplay
July 3 in Werchter, Belgium

Most of the live music I saw in 2009 was at this one festival. Coldplay was
my most anticipated (I had purchased my tickets a long long time ago) and
in front of 80,000 they definitely did not disappoint. Their legendary live
reputation was confirmed for me as I witnessed a great set which featured
mostly material from 2008's Viva La Vida. A magical night.
2 Thrice
August 29 in Nanaimo, Canada

A one day music festival in my small hometown of about 80,000 people
somehow managed to book Thrice and Protest the Hero as headliners.
Thrice closed the day and were absolutely magnificent. Their high energy
matched their heavier leaning playlist. Closing with The Earth Will Shake
was a masterstoke and one of my live musical highlights.
3 Bon Iver
July 23 in Galway, Ireland

Bon Iver's lo-fi sound surprisingly sounded terrific live and even the mellow
musical sections were played with the agression of a true live band (when I
had previously assumed Bon Iver were more of a studio band, turns out
they're both). Extending some of their songs with long jams, notably
Creature Fear, was a great addition to a stellar set which featured every
song from their LP and 2 of the 4 from their Blood Bank EP. Also, it was the
other guitar player's birthday (the one that isn't Justin Vernon).
4 Fleet Foxes
July 2 in Werchter, Belgium

Back to Belgium, this time day one of the festival. These guys sounded
phenomenal live, much better than expected (like Bon Iver). Also like Bon
Iver, they were a young band with a catalog of less than 20 songs so all of
the favourites were played. Blueridge Mountains and Sun It Rises were
highlights. I was very close to the band too, so that was pretty cool.
5 Mono
October 8 in Vancouver, Canada

I went by myself (because none of my friends know Mono) and the intimate
venue assured I could be very very close. Maserati opened and while they
were just ok, their drummer (may he rest in peace) was phenomenal. I
took a seven minute video I may post in which he is just relentless for the
full seven minutes. Anyway Mono, a brilliant set which featured all but one
song from 2009's near-classic Hymn to The Immortal Wind. I don't know
what to say about this show, it was just so great. Especially the signed
setlist and guitar picks I got after.
6 Regina Spektor
July 4 in Werchter, Belgium

Honestly, I expected that she would be top three. The only thing that
dragged down my experience of her magnificient perfomance was that I
was positioned right on the front bar, but to the right side so that her
gigantic piano completely blocked her from my sight. She stood up to play
two on guitar though, and I could see then. Still, she still sounded phenomenal
live: both Samson and On the Radio moved me nearly to tears.
Some favourites were missing, like Blue Lips and Daniel Cowman but it was
overall a very good show.
7 Protest the Hero
August 29 in Nanaimo, Canada

The first time I saw them, in March, they weren't very good. This time,
playing right before Thrice, they were excellent. All the songs got the
crowd going, not to mention the large pit, and the audience banter from
Rody was as painfully funny as always. Also, Arif got nailed in the face from
so far away with an egg and just kept up his insane bassline throughout all
the confusion and took it all in stride. What a guy.
8 Mogwai
July 4 in Werchter, Belgium

I don't so much remember certain songs from this as much as I just
remember one continuous wall of loud of nice sounding noise and 5 (or 6,
can't remember) Scottish guys playing their hearts out. I'm only a casual
fan of this band but my word their sound translates excellently live.
9 Kings of Leon
July 4 in Werchter, Belgium

The day three headliners of Rock Werchter 2009 and I was drunk by this
point (had been drinking throughout all of 6 and 8 of this list haha). I was
also far but the giant screens and crowd of 80,000 was exciting enough to
entertain my drunk self while I screamed in a horribly off key voice "YOUR
SEX IN ON FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRE" I feel bad for the people around me but I had
a good time.
10 Open, Parachute
August 29 in Nanaimo, Canada

This is a disbanded localish band that reunited to play one show for The Big
Easy music festival (with PTH and Thrice). It had two of the members of my
favourite local band and it was very very good. I didn't expect post-
hardcore but that's what I say it was. I heard they have one CD but can't
find it. Could anyone in the know around the BC scene help me out?
11 Yeah Yeah Yeahs
July 4 in Werchter, Belgium

What a good day. This show turned me from "hey I've heard Maps on Rock
Band" to a fan with their lively trip of a show. By the way, Maps was
awesome and I'm sure everyone knew I was a pseudo-fan when I belted it
out for that song after having been quiet for all the rest but I don't care
one bit.
12 Mastodon
July 5 in Werchter, Belgium

I liked the set the second time I saw them (in Vancouver with Dethklok)
better. It was the full Crack The Skye album and the encore was one from
each other album. But at this venue, the large music festival, I was able to
enjoy and rock out more. Their drummer is insane, I've got to say.
13 Dethklok
October 5 in Vancouver, Canada

The aforementioned Dehtklok show with Mastodon was nothing if not
entertaining. This video accompanying the brutal assault of pretty technical
death metal was hilarious. Let's just say I didn't know exactly how bloody
a cartoon murmaider could be until I saw this show, ok?
14 Rorschach
Several times throughout the year, in Nanaimo, Canada

The guitar and bass player of this band were in Open, Parachute. Now,
they rock faces at the only local bar with occasionally live music in town.
They've inspired my friends and I to be a band, their driving rock songs
seem so easy to write and play live but are still awesome in every aspect.
Once, they closed with a cover of The Beatles' 'She's So Heavy' Their metal
spin on it was perfect. They also played at The Big Easy and were great.
15 Nine Inch Nails
July 5 in Werchter, Belgium

I saw them from afar but Trent Reznor really seems to love what he does
and their songs sound great live. I don't know most of them but oh well.
The Hand that Feeds and Pigs were favourites of mine (and the crowd).
16 Honourable Mentions
For one reason or another

-Lily Allen, who I should have put at about 8 or 9 but forgot and don't want
to move everything down. July 2 in Belgium. She makes me continue to
give pop music a try every now and again.
-Katy Perry, July 4 Belgium. Thought she was tacky and lame, instead
found out she's genuine and talented. Also, some of her songs don't even
-Metallica, July 5 Beglium. Casual fan, huuuuuuuuuge crowd that was really
into it, so was the band. Guitar solos and patchy drumwork for the win.
-Ninjaspy, once opening for Protest the Hero in March and once and The Big
Easy. I don't know what their story is but they rocked face both times.
Time guitar player sings with a face mic (or whatever it's called) and he
rocks the stage.
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