Year in Review | Top Live Shows pt 2

 She & Him photo courtesy of Robert Loerzel |

Year in Review | Top Live Shows pt 2

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Our top live shows of 2010 round up continues with our fave rock shows.

5) She and Him @ Millennium Park Chicago
This show makes it onto the list as much for the music as for the surroundings, and the night itself. You wouldn't believe the number of people that made the alt-country pilgrimage to Chicago's Millennium Park to see Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward unless you were there. But judging from the thousands that made the trek that I did, there's a solid chance you were. If not, it was a beautiful summer evening, thousands of the city's hippest twenty-and-thirty-somethings gathered on the lawn, kids running around and spilling bottles of wine, couples close talking; it was pretty spectacular. And She and Him's music made for the perfect compliment.

Nouvelle Vague photo courtesy of Robert Loerzel |

4) Nouvelle Vague @ Lincoln Hall
This show was one of the first I attended at Chicago's Lincoln Hall. A gorgeous hall to see a band in, it's shiny, sounds good and is fantastically intimate. Which works out in a fan's favor when the beauties that Marc Collin and Olivier Labaux gather to front their band take the stage. There was a point when Brazilian chanteuse Karina Zeviani hopped off the stage and made her way out into the middle of the crowd. I think I was, oh, a foot away. Did I mention she's also a model? From my review at the time: "They clearly commanded the undivided attention of the crowd, especially the guys in attendance who whistled and hooted, calling out "legs for days" and "I'm in love" in response to [Helena] Noguerra's impossibly hot cover of "Fallen in Love." I think it was at that point that my friend Hillary turned to me and whispered that even she wanted to take one of the lead singers home with her." Oh, and the music was awesome too. 

Florence & the Machine photo courtesy of Kyle LaMere |

3) Florence and the Machine @ House of Blues
Reviewing the show for Time Out Chicago, I had this to say: "Florence and the Machine is definitely best witnessed first hand. Stepping onto the stage just after 8pm, she was dressed like Molly Ringwald circa Pretty in Pink, but gone fashionista: decked out in a full-brimmed hat, ballet flats and a long, lacey dress that gave the illusion of wings when she raised her hands and belted out her verses. And this girl can sing." If not for the technicality of her debut album coming out in 2009, I would have included her in my best of the year again this year. That's how much I love her band, how much I listened to it over the past 12 months and how much I loved this show.

2) Broken Social Scene @ the Riviera
The review: "Fighting an 11pm curfew—meaning the show had to be done by that time—Drew pushed the band on. The collective skipped an encore. But they tried. After a failed attempt to push everyone off stage, Drew returned to the mic exasperated. 'We’ll never make it in Vegas' he joked. Having a collective for a band surely equates to herding cats from time to time, but we weren’t watching and loving Broken Social Scene for feats of choreography. With chops like that and a love of Chicago that had it pulling out all the stops, who cares about theatrics, Broken Social Scene clearly came to deliver the jams." These guys played for more than two hours. It's a once in a lifetime thing to catch a band go beyond the motions, clearly at home, with family and enjoying every minute of every song. I was lucky enough to be there for this one. 

1) Arcade Fire @ Lollapalooza 2010
I have really come to appreciate Arcade Fire, but in the spirit of full disclosure, the band closed out a Lollapalooza weekend that also happened to be my 30th birthday weekend. So, this No. 1 rating has a bit of a personal bias to it. No matter, I'm sure I'm not alone in ranking this performance one of the best in Chicago this year. Here's how I summed it up in the days to follow: "Looking like a rock n' roll orchestra up on stage, Win Butler, his captivatingly talented wife Régine Chassagne and the rest of the crew greeted thousands with the fitting "Ready to Start." The background visuals, which began projecting serene postcard-worthy tropical images, seemed strangely appropriate as the band performed material from its new record, a decidedly more subdued turn from the grandiosity of Neon Bible." By the time the troupe got to set closer "Wake Up," my friends and I were arm-in-arm, jumping up and down and singing our brains out. This is a moment I'll remember until my end of days.



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