My Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2011: Bruise Cruise, Watch the Throne, and Death to the Sun

Swans rattled my intestines and made my year.
Swans rattled my intestines and made my year.
Photo by Ian Witlen

Another fine year of live entertainment in South Florida is now in the books. This is an especially bittersweet collection of memories from 2011 since I now know that I'll be writing a year-end wrap in a different part of the country this time next year. Some concerts were impressive for their marathon length, others bordered on postmodern expression, and then there's just the Swans' decibel-defying noise. I think that these shows were even better than my top ten from 2010, come to think of it. Take a look below.

10. SW 3rd Ave Music Festival New Times Stage
With John Ralston, Plains, Young Circles, the Dewars, the New, & Lavola
The Green Room, Fort Lauderdale
Friday, May 6, 2011

My Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2011: Bruise Cruise, Watch the Throne, and Death to the Sun
Photo by Ian Witlen

This was a particularly satisfying show because I chose all of the bands who played. The marvelous Beached Miami crew even showed up! Read the review.

9. Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls

With Andrew Jackson Jihad and Into It Over It

Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Frank Turner's England Keep My Bones turned out to be one of my favorite albums of 2011, and this energetic performance basically tattooed that assertion to my forehead. Sometimes it's tough to get the crowd at Culture Room to know how to act, but Turner is that special type of showman who doesn't seem too cool for his audience. Mark Pratt called it "a sense of unpretentious unity to proceedings." Read the review.

8. Band of Horses
With Tyler Ramsey and Woody Chowder
Revolution, Fort Lauderdale
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2011: Bruise Cruise, Watch the Throne, and Death to the Sun
Photo by Monica McGivern

There were definitely some aspects of this show that I didn't like -- and a Rolling Stone writer raked me over the coals for it in the comments -- but this wins in a lot of categories. First, it was announced impossibly last-minute after tourmates Kings of Leon imploded and still got an impressive turnout. The Revolution staff hustled to get the show to happen, then got the word out fast. Band of Horses was equally invested in making this a special night by taking requests beforehand, and those trees as a backdrop sure helped. Read the review.

7. "The Monster Ball Tour" Starring Lady Gaga
With Semi Precious Weapons
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
Tuesday, April 12

Just light your piano on fire and I'm in the palm of your hand. Read the review.

6. Tie - Bruise Cruise Day Two
With Black Lips, Vivian Girls, Strange Boys, Turbo Fruits and DJ Jonathan Toubin.
Senor Frogs, Nassau, Bahamas
Saturday, February 26, 2011

and
Kiss Kruise Day Three
The Palladium Lounge, Carnival Destiny
Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2011: Bruise Cruise, Watch the Throne, and Death to the Sun
Photo by Ian Witlen

Neither of these shows took place in South Florida, but they originated here! Two wildly surreal experiences that carried the decadent spirit of the mainland onto the high seas. Bruise Cruise review, Kiss Kruise review.  

5. "I Am Music II Tour"
With Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, and Travis Barker
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2011: Bruise Cruise, Watch the Throne, and Death to the Sun
Photo by Monica McGivern

If you think it's fun seeing these two on T-shirts, just imagine what they're like IRL. The teachers of the year, indeed. Read the review.

4. Swans

With Sir Richard Bishop and Axe & the Oak

Respectable Street, West Palm Beach

September 14, 2011

Matt Preira said it: "Michael Gira and his Swans are ridiculous, intense, and ridiculously intense." This is the first time a concert has literally hurt my body because it was so loud. Can't wait to do it again, and wildly glad I showed up early enough to catch Axe & the Oak. Read the review.

3. Moonfest, featuring Glass Candy
With Millionyoung, Under Every Green Tree, Brobrah Nation, Sweet Chariots,

Darling Sweets, Dharmata, Luna Rex, Doorway 27, Hard Richards, Band in

Heaven, and Loxahatchee Sinners Union
500 Block of Clematis Street, West Palm Beach
Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2011: Bruise Cruise, Watch the Throne, and Death to the Sun
Photo by Ian Witlen

Doesn't that look like fun? Read the review.

2. Death to the Sun III
With Guy Harvey, Dino Filipe, Kenny Millions,

Rat Bastard, Meat, 90s Teen, Holly Hunt, the Dewars, Universal

Expansion, Jellyfish Brothers, Luma Junger, Vast Fang, Möthersky,

Rainforest Wives, Honey Train, This Heart Electric & many more. 
The Snooze Theatre, Lake Park
Saturday, September 24, 2011

If there was ever a concert that required a 20-minute power nap in my

car in the Snooze parking lot, it was this blistering night. I'm so

impressed that photographer Ronnie Rivera just kept on going. Read the review.

1. Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne" Tour
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
Monday, November 14, 2011

My Favorite South Florida Concerts of 2011: Bruise Cruise, Watch the Throne, and Death to the Sun
Photo by Sayre Berman

Jay-Z is the best rapper alive. Kanye West is not far behind. That shit was even more cray than I had imagined. "It's Kanye West who loves putting things like birds of prey flying

majestically on two Times Square-sized HD monitors behind the main

stage, as he did to hilarious effect during 'Touch the Sky.'" They let us get in their zone, and it was splendid. Read the review.

Which were your favorite concerts of 2011?


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