My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic

This is what Sleigh Bells coming right at your face looks like.
This is what Sleigh Bells coming right at your face looks like.
Photo by Ian Witlen

After joining the New Times Broward Palm Beach music section in late February, it has been a humbling year of catching up. There were bands that I probably should have first caught back before I was old enough to drink (Smashing Pumpkins and Naughty by Nature), a few concerts in faraway locales (Harlem and Pavement), and far too many acoustic cover bands delving into the Gin Blossoms' back catalog. Regardless, this was a varied year that made me glad that I always pack a pair of earplugs -- even if that meant regularly pulling them out to bask in the sheets of noise unfolding during A Place to Bury Strangers' Halloween show in West Palm Beach, for example. Counting the number of concerts I attended in 2010 is disturbingly difficult -- and it's entirely beside the point. Here are 10 that I loved for a variety of reasons.  


Monotonix

Respectable Street, West Palm Beach
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Baby's first South Florida concert occurred before I was officially hired, with former Miami New Times music editor Arielle Castillo and her boyfriend providing transportation. I was already familiar with the Israeli punks Monotonix and their break-neck (too literal?) performances, but this night was a personalized introduction to what sorts of onstage insanity awaited me. As Castillo writes, "And so it went last night that when Monotonix frontman Ami Shalev called

for a doctor barely 15 minutes into his band's headlining set, he was,

at first, relentlessly heckled." And that doesn't even explore the live brilliance of Surfer Blood and Love Handles that opened the evening. The intensity of the live scene here hasn't ceased since.

My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic
Photo by Sayre Berman

Taylor Swift
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
Sunday, March 7, 2010

Speaking of firsts, I got to see arguably pop's biggest star perform way way way before Jake Gyllenhaal was even part of her story line. Was I the target demographic? No way. But it wasn't any less fun to write about "a performer who can synthesize that much Vitamin D into a three-minute

pop song about a pale-colored horse."

My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic
Photo by Ian Witlen

LCD Soundsystem
Fillmore Miami Beach, Miami
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Even my goosebumps had goosebumps. And James Murphy didn't even move.

My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic
Photo by Carlos Charlie Perez

Guy Harvey/The Jameses
The Vagabond, Miami
Friday, August 13, 2010

Having witnessed the Guy Harvey guys (pictured) and the Jameses gang on multiple occasions at Propaganda, Respectable Street, Lake Worth-It, among others, it was intriguing to catch both bands outside the county. With the fresh release of GH's seven-inch "Take Your Time (With Me)"/"Never Seen Snow" serving as the motivator, it was a night for righteous celebration. My favorite moment was seeing the Jameses "placing themselves front and center in the crowd to support their allies and los[ing] their shit." It's great to see that cross-county pollination can work in the other direction too.

My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic
Photo by Christina Mendenhall

Nas and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley at SunFest
West Palm Beach Waterfront
Sunday, May 2, 2010

If Nas had been anything less than transcendent, I might have been upset that I was sweating through my black jeans like a pig in the 90-plus degree heat. Shorts are not optional in South Florida.
 

My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic
Photo by Monica McGivern

Zitfest
The Orange Door, Lake Park
Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18, 2010

Along with Lake Worth-It and the Respectable Street Anniversary Block Party, these were two of the proudest nights for South Florida's local music scene taking place at an underutilized, yet catalytic, venue. Although I could only attend the first day, reports circulating from day two point to a momentous weekend that should build into an even stronger 2011 for locals.   

My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic
Photo by Ian Witlen

Built to Spill
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Friday, October 15, 2010

No shock that any Doug Martsch sighting for this writer will serve as an immediate highlight of any year. Bonus points that this was far more elaborate than the Built to Spill frontman merely farting into a napkin or clipping his toenails.

My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic
Photo by Gina Diaz

Erykah Badu
American Airlines Arena, Miami
Thursday, April 8, 2010

This was by far the most challenging concert of the year to follow up a pretty unspectacular interview conducted by yours truly.

My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic
flickr.com

Weird Al Yankovic
Mizner Park Amphitheater, Boca Raton
Saturday, July 24, 2010

The only concert of the year that I could sing along with every word.

My 10 Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2010, Including Sleigh Bells, Taylor Swift and Weird Al Yankovic
Photo by Ian Witlen

Sleigh Bells
Respectable Street, West Palm Beach
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Minor sound quibbles aside, this was a packed-out, sweaty night that belongs in a category all by itself. Is it possible to crowd-surf in your mind during a concert? I know it is now.


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