Tuesday, December 28, 2010

3 LIST MANIA: Nik's Favorite Live Music Experiences of 2010

Post-Red Fang at MusicFest NW | Photo by John Sherman
10. Goatsnake at Neumos; August 12th, 2010

The reunited super group featuring Sunn O))) mainman Greg Anderson, Scream/Wool frontman Pete Stahl and on bass guitar mutherfucking Scott Reeder of Kyuss fame, came to town in a package deal with the "Animosity-era" lineup of COC back in August. Goatsnake are one of the heaviest bands I have ever seen live, and between Stahl’s crowd interactions, Anderson’s massive riffs, and let’s not forget Scott Reeder slapping the bass a few feet away, it was utterly mind blowing. Matt and I at one point turned to each other, both sporting shit eating grins and mouthed the words “Holy Fuck!” It was amazing!

Goatsnake at Neumos | Photo by Nik Christofferson

9. Christian Mistress at Phoenix House (Olympia); November 9th, 2010

Christian Mistress is easily my favorite local discovery of 2010. I had the opportunity to see the band three times in 2010 but easily the most amazing experience was seeing them live on their own turf back in November at a long running DIY venue called the Phoenix House. Palmer and I headed south to Olympia on a dreary Thursday night to catch Christian Mistress along with California’s The Makai. Despite the shortcomings of the sound system, seeing a band of this caliber in a basement of a house, all the while being pushed and shoved and whipped in the face by charismatic CM vocalist Christine Davis’ hair, it’s a no brainer that this one is top 10. Let’s not forget this is a band whose debut record has been included on just about every important metal publication's “best records of 2010” lists to come out so far.

Christian Mistress | Photo by Nik Christofferson

8. Musicfest NW 2010; September 8th-12th, 2010

For the second SRG crew road trip Jerry, Matt and I decided once again invade Portland and visit our buddy Don 'Chile', this time for Musicfest NW. On paper the sheer amount of amazing bands we saw over the course of the three days should probably make up this entire top 10 list, it was a phenomenal weekend. Night one featured Rabbits, Red Fang, and Baroness at Dantes. Badass! Night two featured a Black Lips matinee and then Thee Oh Sees and The Gories at Dantes too, not to mention a surprise visit from "Ninja Metal". Amazing! Night three featured a Trash Talk / Toxic Holocaust warm-up followed by Scott Kelly, YOB and the first half of SLEEP followed by the second half of an amazing NoMeansNo set. Holy fuck, what a weekend!

NoMeansNo | Photo by Nik Christofferson

7. Capitol Hill Block Party (in paticular sets by Helms Alee, Absolute Monarchs, My Goodness, Virgin, Night Marchers, Cold Lake, & Black Breath); July 23rd-25th, 2010

The Cha Cha Lounge was home to the CHBP’s underground sounds and having the opportunity to see both the mighty Helms Alee and the Absolute Monarchs each destroy in the cavernous booze hole, not to mention catching My Goodness and retro rockers Virgin for the first time, made for quite a few memorable moments over the course of the CHBP weekend. On Saturday of the festival the Vera stage was nearly melted to the ground when Cold Lake and Black Breath took turns sticking their boots up the asses of the aimless bystanders looking for Mad Rad merch, and yes that was me dancing like a crazy person during the Night Marchers’ killer Neumos set.

Black Breath at CHBP 2010 | Photo by Nik Christofferson
6. SRG Presents: Smooth Sailing, Sandrider, Dog Shredder, Grenades at Rendezvous; December 4th, 2010

I decided it would be a sweet idea to end 2010 on high note, so I took to the task of building one of the strongest local heavy bills of the entire year. I was able to finagle 4 of my favorite local bands and stick them into one of the city's more intimate settings. It was a special night and I am very proud of this show. It not only marked the beginning of monthly SRG sponsored shows but also it featured four amazing local heavyweights in: Smooth Sailing, Sandrider, Dog Shredder, and Grenades. The fact that this show came together and pulled in the attendance it did, it made me feel like we are truly involved with something cool-- mini-movement if you will. Thanks to the bands for killing and to everyone else who rocked in the Jewelbox Theater that night. Be on the lookout for more SRG shows in 2011, including January 8th at the Comet and February 19th back at the Rendezvous.

Smooth Sailing | Photo by Nik Christofferson

5. REVERB Fest; October 9th, 2010

The scene at the 2 Bit was the amalgamate of everything I love about Seattle’s current rock and metal musical landscape, and featured so many of my favorite local bands all playing back-to-back. Between the Sunset Tavern and 2 Bit Saloon, Reverb featured eight bands that SRG has backed vigorously throughout 2010: Kinski, Absolute Monarchs, Throne of Bone, Vultures 2012, Dog Shredder, My Goodness, He Whose Ox is Gored and Smooth Sailing. Each and every band gave stellar performances, the vibe was amazing, and it was great to see so many friendly faces throughout the long day of live music. It really doesn't get much better, despite the lame ass sponsor of the party.

My Goodness at Reverb | Photo by Nik Christofferson
4. Bonnaroo 2010; June 9th-12th, 2010

I can't think of a better 30th birthday present than taking in the sights and sounds of my first major out of state festival and it was one of the highlights of my life so far. The only reason it doesn’t top this list is probably due to the absence of the 4 bands that I ranked higher. Over the course of 4 sleepless, showerless days and nights, my wife and I saw over 50 performances by bands ranging from The Flaming Lips, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z to The Black Keys, Melvins, Isis, Clutch, Against Me!, and even Seattle’s own Moondoggies. I met King Buzzo and Aaron from Isis backstage and the 3am Gwar bloodbath will forever be tattooed in my brain as a concert highlight. I really want to go back in 2011, but am currently weighing the options with so many other amazing festivals available. I highly recommend you do Bonnaroo at least once; I personally didn’t want the experience to end.

Isis at Bonnaroo 2010 | Photo by Nik Christofferson

3. The Spits at the Funhouse / Throne of Bone at Bumblefuck; September 4th, 2010

Billed as Dokken due to a Bumbershoot black out policy, The Spits packed the Funhouse for Brian Foss’ birthday with Warning: Danger! as openers, a couple days before they were scheduled to take the stage in the Sky Church. The crew stood front row center and for 40 minutes fought off one of the most raucous crowds of the year, rocking about as hard as humanly possible. We gave everything The Spits gave us and more. It was mayhem and will easily go down as a classic in my book.

The Spits at the Funhouse | Photo by Nik Christofferson
…wait there’s more

We weren’t even close to done for the night. Down the way in Belltown an anti-Bumbershoot festival was winding down in the early morning hours and we showed up just in time to catch one of our local favorites headline the event. In the shitty confines of one my favorite DIY venues, Throne of Bone systematically crushed my head in one of the most brutal performances I witnessed all year.

Throne of Bone at Bumblefuck | Photo by Nik Christofferson
2. Soundgarden at Showbox at the Market; April 16th, 2010

This still seems like a dream. I never thought I would ever have the chance to see Soundgarden live after missing my opportunity as a teenager. Getting my hands on that coveted pair of golden tickets and having the opportunity to share access to the once in lifetime show with Mr. Abramson, it was definitly a major highlight of 2010. Standing sandwiched between Jack Endino and Tad Doyle, we looked on in astonishment as Cornell hit the highest of high notes like he had saved them for the moment, all the while Thayil, Shepherd, and Cameron mightily brought the classics back to life. It was a celebration bitches and I feel more than blessed to have had the opportunity to be in attendance.

Showbox Marquee | Photo by Nik Christofferson

1. Red Fang at Dantes (PDX); March 12th, 2010

The crew’s first Portland road trip way back in March still resonates as my favorite show of the year and was seriously a wild experience. You would think by our massive Red Fangovers following only one night in PDX that the crew probably doesn't get out much. I mean we set on Portland like a pack of wild dogs. We tore Portland apart, or was it that Portland tore us apart? The details are still a bit hazy. One thing is for sure, sitting in on an interview with the Fang gang, hearing new music at soundcheck, and then seeing Red Fang destroy on their home turf with the SRG fellas made for the most memorable concert experience of 2010. This show still gets me amped as fuck.

Red Fang | Photo by Nik Christofferson
Honorable Mentions:

1. Android Hero, Vultures 2012, The Keeper, Dog Shredder, Jan 2010
2. Your Village Sucks Fest at Rendezvous, May 2010
3. NoMeansNo at Neumos, September 2010
4. Escalator Fest Night 1 at Lo-Fi, September 2010
5. Helms Alee, Thrones, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Lozen at Greenhouse, June 2010
6. Melvins at Hell’s Kitchen, September 2010
7. Red Fang, Kinski at Sunset Tavern, July 2010
8. Black Mountain, Black Angels at Showbox at the Market, December 2010
9. Slayer, Megadeth, Testament at WAMU Theater, September 2010
10. A Frames at the Funhouse, May 2010
11. AIC, Deftones, Mastodon at Key Arena, October 2010
12. The Keeper, Madraso, Vultures 2012, Grenades at Comet Tavern, September 2010
13. Smooth Sailing at the Blue Moon, April 2010
14. Tool at Key Arena, July 2010
15. Kylesa, Lesbian, Book of Black Earth, December 2010
16. Helms Alee, Narrows, Akimbo at Neumos, October 2010

Words and Photos by Nik Christofferson


  1. What a Top 10! Damn dude, nice coverage this year past year. Keep up the good work! Here's to more good times.

  2. What!? No Ladies' Choice shows!?

  3. Actually Adam your right, hard to believe. I'm bummed out thinking about it, but the weeknight Rendezvous shows (though I know not all were there) are all but unfeasible for me to attend ( I missed Monarch!, damn it!). I'm making it a resolution in 2011 to make Ladies Choice more a priority though. Thanks for doing what you do.

    I will say that the Git Some/Smooth Sailing show was rad as was the Android Hero/Prize Country, and Madraso/Sandrider/Salavdor shows.



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