A Chronological Look
By Ben Allen
VAMPIRE WEEKEND DRESS PREPPY, DEBUT AT NUMBER ONE (January)
In 2008, it was somewhat shocking when Vampire Weekend ended up on the cover of Spin before they even released an album, but seeing their second record, Contra, debut at number one on the Billboard charts in 2010 was not such a surprise. The gap between an “indie” band and a “commercial” band continues to narrow, and VW’s, quirky, Paul Simon-inspired pop is rightfully, incredibly popular.
PAVEMENT LAUNCH REUNION TOUR, DUDES IN TIGHT SWEATERS AND CHUCK TAYLOR’S REJOICE! (March)
There had been speculation for years that the seminal 90’s slacker band would reunite, in part because guitarist Spiral Stairs couldn’t stop talking about the possibility of getting back together in interviews. As a result, when Pavement announced a four night reunion stand in New York, no one was too surprised. When all was said and done, the band ended up on a yearlong international super tour.
RONNIE JAMES DIO, R.I.P. (May)
Say what you want about some of Dio’s more theatrical stage tendencies, but the man lived to give his audience a show. Battling dragons with swords while pyrotechnics explode all over the place may seem silly to some, Ronnie James was loved by many and had a huge influence on the direction of modern metal. He was also well known for popularizing the devil-horn hand salute. . .HAIL SATAN!!!
KINGS OF LEON GET SHIT ON (LITERALLY) (July)
Prior to the release of 2008’s Only By The Night, Kings of Leon were a decent garage rock group with a distinctive Southern feel. Since that time, their smooth adult radio rock has sucked poop, so it was only appropriate that bassist Jared Followill got crapped on while performing at an outdoor St. Louis arena. The mischievous pigeons dropped bombs from the rafters for three songs before Jared had enough and walked off the stage. He explained, “We had 20 songs on the set list. By the end of the show, I would have been covered from head to toe.”
GUIDED BY VOICES FOLLOW THE VOICES IN THEIR HEADS AND REUNITE (July)
Gerard Cosloy, president of Matador Records, must be one seriously persuasive individual. Not only did he talk Guided By Voices into
playing his wedding, he managed to convince the original 90’s line-up to reunite and headline the label’s 21st Anniversary party in Las Vegas. This was followed by the “Hallway of Shatterproof Glass” reunion tour. The group has lost none of their original live gusto, and
put on some incredibly energetic, captivating and drunken live
WEEZER LOOK BACK WITH PINKERTON REISSUE, BLUE ALBUM / PINKERTON TOUR (August)
It’s very possible Weezer listened to feedback and realized that many dedicated fans haven’t cared to much for their most recent albums. It was with much excitement, then, that the band announced a tour where they would play their two most essential and beloved albums on consecutive nights.
ARCADE FIRE KICK ASS ALL OVER THE PLACE (August)
Arcade Fire managed to become the biggest band in the world this year, without sucking. Their third album, The Suburbs, not only topped the Billboard charts, but the band celebrated the release by playing two sold out nights at Madison Square Garden. In addition, AF was nominated for three Grammy awards including “Album of the Year,” up against more predictable acts such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. At this rate, expect the band to be playing the Super Bowl in 2012.
MATADOR RECORDS TURNS 21, GETS DRUNK IN VEGAS (October)
As an indication of how huge indie rock has become, music dorks from all over the world converged on The Palms casino in Vegas for three days in October. It was a surreal experience to hear Guided By Voices’ “Glad Girls” come over the house speakers as “well dressed” club goers waited in line to see DJ Pauly D, of Jersey Shore fame. With an impressive lineup (Pavement, Sonic Youth, Guided By Voices, Liz Phair, Fucked Up, and Belle & Sebastian among others) concert goers were treated to a mind-fuckingly awesome weekend of music and booze.
CAMPAIGN TO RAISE MONEY FOR WEEZER TO BREAK UP (October)
Seattle resident James Burns started a campaign on thepoint.com to raise ten million dollars to rid the world of Weezer. Although he claimed not to be a fan himself, many hardcore Weezer fans have not appreciated anything the band has done since 2001’s Pinkerton.
Without fail, every new Weezer release leads to significant disappointment among longtime fans. Burns summed it up by saying, “this
is an abusive relationship, and it needs to stop now.”
R.I.P. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART (December)
Although understood and appreciated by few, Captain Beefheart was a hugely original voice in rock and roll. When producer Frank Zappa gave the band complete artistic freedom for a release on his Straight Records, Beefheart and company painstakingly wrote and arranged Trout Mask Replica, a challenging, sprawling double album of musical madness. Although Beefheart retired from music in the early 80’s, his work remains hugely influential on those willing to immerse themselves in it.
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