Thursday, January 27, 2011

Top 13 Live Shows of 2010

Well this is long past due. Having seen about 90 shows, and one festival, in 2010 it was incredibly hard totrim down the list. And not only the sheer volume, but the variety of shows. How do you compare a giant stage production in Stanley Park to an intimate acoustic show in a 200 person venue? With that in mind, there was no way I would be able to rank them against each other, so rather here is a chronological listing of my personal favourite shows of 2010.

Before I go on, though, there were a few bands I had seen multiple times, but the band I saw most last year? At nine times -- sometimes opening, sometimes free shows, always awesome -- We Are The City.
But now, to the list!

February Seventeenth - Karkwa at Place de la Francophonie
I have told this story many times, but the first time I saw Karkwa, I was immediately won over and they blew out a speaker in the Biltmore. Given that they hadn't had much prominence outside of Quebec (this was pre-Polaris), I was insanely excited that they were coming back, but a little worried I had built them up in my head. Turns out I was silly to be worried, and absolutely astounded by their show. Even for a free, short(ish) outdoor show it was one of my favourites, and I can not wait until they return.

February Twentieth - Broken Social Scene at Ontario House 
They were back to play a show at the Commodore a few months later, but it was their free Olympic show, in a room of only a couple hundred people, that stood out more. With a surprise appearance by Julie Doiron, what may or may not have been a spontaneous jam song, and Drew leading the crowd in "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" when they couldn't come out for another encore, and my favourite "It's All Gonna Break". A once in a lifetime opportunity, and the only show that I actually waited in line for hours during the Olympic break.

March Twenty Sixth- The Bonfire Ball with Jason Collett, Zeus and Bahamas at Biltmore
For a while now, my dream-show-format includes a bunch of related bands joining forces to weave a set together consisting of each others songs. Monsters of Folk did it masterfully in 2009 and the Malahat Revue did a damn good job last year, but neither topped the Bonfire Ball. Jason Collett, Zeus and Bahamas (aka Afie Jurvanen) all have a history of playing on each others records, and the three hour plus show, including an all-cover encore, was more than I could have ever wanted.

April Sixth - Jónsi at Vogue
Sigur Rós is among my favourite live bands, so Jónsi had a little bit of hype to live up to for his solo show. Turns out, he surpassed expectations. There were a few shows this year with just incredible stage shows, and this was one of them. Projection screen with wire-frame animals which gave way to post-apocalyptic building structures, the stage looked amazing, and the music matched. I got chills, and almost tears, when "Grow Till Tall" climaxed the show, with the "weather effects" mimicking the songs calm beginning building to a chaotic end, proving Jónsi has not just command over the stage, and the audience, but mother nature herself. (It sounds silly in describing it, but was one of the single most amazing songs I have ever seen performed live).

May Sixth - Brasstronaut with The Zolas at St James Hall
I hadn't heard too much from Brasstronaut before this show, and honestly, I was going mostly to see The Zolas. Then Brasstronaut played. First, though, The Zolas, put on a great set, as usual, full of energy. But as Brasstronaut filled the stage, with their projection screen, the space clarinet and incredible sound, by the time they ended -- with monks and bubbles and stars projected onto the ceiling -- my (healthy) obsession with them had begun.

May Thirtieth - Mumford & Sons at Yaletown
They played again at the Vogue in October and I would probably not have this on the list had I not gotten a chance to see them do a full show, but this secret gig was pulled off by The Peak, announcing the location mere hours before the show. Even though they only played 4 songs, a couple thousand people showed up to see them, packing Yaletown and even shutting down streets. Yes, it was an amazing spectacle, but the handfull of songs were also really damn good.

August Eleventh - The Tom Fun Orchestra with Treelines and Redbird at Media Club
It started with Redbird (well, not really, but I missed the first act) who I had never seen before, but really impressed me. Then was Treelines, a band who I had heard much ado about, and more than lived up to the hype. Those two alone would have been enough for a great show, but what cements this show on my favourite list is the Tom Fun Orchestra. The eight members -- all playing different instruments -- had unparalleled energy on stage and were less a band and more a force of nature.

September Fourth and Fifth - Live @ Squamish at Logger Sports Grounds
We Are The City. Said The Whale. Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. Devo. Hollerado. Mother Mother. Civil Twilight. You Say Party. Bad Religion. Tokyo Police Club. Matthew Good. The Decemberists. It wasn't just that it was my first music festival, or the incredible fun I had with friends that weekend, but also the incredible lineup and spectacular music that puts this on the list. So much great music packed into two days. Can't wait for this September to go back.

September Twenty Sixth - The Flaming Lips at Malkin Bowl
Either The Flaming Lips is one of the best bands you have seen live... or you have never seen them before. They have the absolute best live spectacle I have ever seen; crowd surfing in zorbs, video screens, giant hands, huge balloons bouncing through the crowd, bears, aliens, and confetti that was still being found days later. But it wasn't just the show, anyone can put on a nifty stage show. The fearless freaks back it up with some incredible music, great sing-a-longs and an unmatched love for their fans.

November Fifth - Stars with Young Galaxy at The Vogue
This was a tough choice between this show, and the earlier show with Hey Rosetta!. Both shows had incredible openers -- Hey Rosetta! maybe being a shade better than Young Galaxy -- I picked this one because I enjoyed Stars set more than the first. Perhaps it was because after it was their album was out, perhaps it was the copious amounts of bubbles pumped into the crowd (much easier to clean up than confetti) or the acoustic songs added in. No matter how many times I see Stars (I think I'm up to five now?) I never fail to be amazed by them, by how fantastic a performer Torquil is, and how beautiful their music is live.

November Nineteenth - Wil with Shaun Verreault at Media Club
In contrast to the giant spectacle shows in the list, this was "two men, naked on stage, with wood in their hands" (as Shaun put it) with Wil and Shaun Verreault, of Wide Mouth Mason, in an intimate setting for two acoustic sets. You will be hard pressed to find two better guitar players than the two of them -- and Wil lived up to his string breaking reputation. Probably the most minimalistic show on this whole list, but shows you don't need a giant spectacle for a good show, just fantastic music.

November Twenty Sixth - Grinderman at Commodore
Nick. Fucking. Cave. For several years, I have been a huge fan of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and was consistently disappointed that they never came here. So when I heard that Grinderman, a side project with Cave and a few Bad Seeds was coming, I was overjoyed. Cave is one of my top four favourite musicians, and the only one of which I hadn't seen live. Leading up to the show I feared a little that I was anticipating it too much and it couldn't live up to my own hype -- but then Grinderman proceeded to shatter my expectations, my mind, and my eardrums. They played with more energy I've seen from musicians half their age, and while I am not ranking this list of favourite shows... they would be a strong contender for number one.

November Twenty Seventh - Henry and The Nightcrawlers with David Vertesi and Zach Gray at Billy Bishop Legion
This show right here is the perfect example of why the Vancouver music scene is so incredible right now. It was Henry & The Nightcrawler's CD release party at a Legion Hall in Kits, which turned out to be a really cool place to see a show. And not only did Zach Gray (of The Zolas) and David Vertesi (Hey Ocean!) open, but Henry was joined by Andy, Cayne (We Are The City) and Zach for his backing band. But it wasn't just a coming together of musicians, there were three damn good, and fun, sets of music.Henry was another act who I had seen multiple times through the year, and even though he had a rotating cast of supporting musicians, his shows just kept getting better and better, culminating in this one.

So, there you have it. Were they the best shows to come through Vancouver last year? That's debatable. But they were my favourite shows. And in case you are interested, here is a list of all the shows I have been to this year.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Behind Sapphire w/ Treelines & David Vertesi @ St James Hall -- 01/21/11

It had been a while since I saw a show at St. James Hall; mostly by design, since despite its great sound, it can get incredibly hot and stuffy in there. Especially if you have high energy bands playing. But even though I avoided shows there in the past, I could not pass up the trio of bands there last night.

David Vertesi -- who I've now seen play four times in the last two months -- was up first, and it seems like almost every time he has different composition to his band. This time he was joined by drums and [sometimes upright] bass, the latter of which played by Peter Carruthers (of Said The Whale & Siskiyou). And, of course, the keytar, which drummer Dan Klenner (Hey Ocean!) also played. As I mentioned the last show, as much as I like his acoustic sets, the full band lets him really cut loose, as with the dynamic ending to "Born To Run" or the upbeat "Mountainside". Both of which were great, and adhered to his mantra that night that his songs would "make old people dance and young people cry". Vertesi also seems to be getting more and more talkative during his shows, joking with the crowd between songs. He took a tuning-lull and turned that into the opportunity to come up with a couple "codewords" to elicit cheers throughout the set.

Next up was Treelines, who always bring an exorbitant amount of energy on stage. The Brothers Lockhart and Matt Kelly were joined by fill in drummer, Grant, and started off with "Statuette", cranking the energy -- and power kicks -- through most of the set. They focused on the Young Man EP, but also played a couple from their previous self titled album. One such, when they brought the energy down for a moment, was "Canadian Airlines" where the Matts, Lockhart & Kelly, were joined by Rebecca Slaven on accordion. It was a really cool addition to the song (even if there did seem to be some sound issues with the accordion). There were also a few new songs throughout the set, including one called "Linked Arms" and "Cowbell" which, as you might guess, features a solo from the eponymous instrument.
I think the best indication of the passion Treelines has on stage is bassist Steve Lockhart, who sings along to almost every word of every song... even though he only "officially" joins in on vocals for a few small parts -- the whole band shares that level of energy, and it's one of the main reasons that makes them so fun to watch live.

Finally was Behind Sapphire, who were playing their last Vancouver show before heading out on tour. They hit the stage with a half dozen members (including one new), and while they may not have the same intensity as Treelines before them, they are no less energetic live. Between their soul-funk-pop songs, lead singer Grant singing into his trumpet bell -- not to mention his cape and genie shoes -- and natural joking around between songs, the best way to describe their show would be whimsical.
Starting with "Oh My, What A Fine Day" -- which has a new video out by the fine folks at Amazing Factory -- they definitely had the all ages crowd engaged. Playing mostly from their self titled album, they also had a new song, which showed the band was stretching their musical wings -- while most of their songs don't necessarily sound repetitive, they definitely all have a distinctive sound to them, so it was nice to hear them expanding their repertoire.
I have seen them a few times over the last few months, and I would say they are doing nothing but getting better.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Zolas @ Club 560 -- 01/17/11

Last night was the opening festivities of the Push Festival at Club 560, and part of the celebration included The Zolas playing a set.

They kicked off the set, as they usually do, with "You're Too Cool" and went through most of the songs from Tic Toc Tic. There were a few new songs thrown in, including "Guest", which never fails to get stuck in my head, and the seasonal "Snow".  They also played, and I think debuted, a brand new song "Strange Girl" (here is a middling-quality cell phone video of it).
The whole band seemed to be even more energetic than normal, especially Zach, who was running and dancing around on stage; perhaps because it was a decent sized stage and their setup was pretty minimal, leaving lots of extra room -- room used by Zach and Henry to roam, dance or jump around the stage. (Tom and Ajay couldn't really go anywhere). Going to the opposite, the calm "These Days" had Zach kneeling or crouching down for most of the song. It's weird when something as small as that adds so much to the song, giving it more emotion and personality.

The usual closer "Cab Driver" brought the set to an end, and thought I've seen it a few times, I realised that it is probably one of my favourite songs to see performed live -- it's just so explosive and a fantastic way to end a set, always somehow managing to top an already dynamic set.

And if I can digress for a moment, as for the venue itself; it is a really good place to see a show, but someone has definitely dropped the ball on what was supposed to be the new Richard's on Richards. Since their opening in April last year, this is only the third show I've seen there -- and it wasn't even really a concert, but an event that happened to have a band. I guess they have been doing other things with the space, but it was billed as an awesome new live music venue, and has really... not been.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wide Mouth Mason @ The Yale -- 01/14/11

Turns out the last time I saw Wide Mouth Mason, over a year ago, was the last time I would see the original lineup. When bassist Earl Pereira left, I was wondering what would happen to the band, but they picked one hell of a replacement. Last night was the first of two nights at The Yale, as a dress rehearsal, of sorts, before the trio went down to Willie Nelson's studio in Texas to begin recording their new album. Oh, and the new bassist? Gordie Johnson. He of Big Sugar and Grady. Producer of WMM, Joel Plaskett, The Trews and countless others. And just generally being legendary.

They kicked off the night with some older songs, "Why" and "Midnight Rain" to get everyone going, but the bulk of the set were the new songs. Or as Shaun called them, "baby pictures", snapshots of the new songs in their infancy, before they were recorded. And the cool thing was seeing the songs form on stage. They admitted most of them hadn't been played before, or had been just written, and you could tell some songs were still taking shape as each of the three members would throw in improvised flourishes here and there; especially noticeable when Shaun and Gordie had a brief back and forth before one of the new songs. Most of the new songs were very much in Mason's blues-influenced rock vein, but definitely sounded like they were evolving and stretching their musical legs, as it were. Especially with the the funk infused and playful "Sweet Little Thing". I also liked the titles of a lot of the new songs; "Only The Young Die Good", "Shut Up & Kiss Me" and "When The Night Fell, It Fell On Me" being a few good ones.
The set was bookended with more older songs, with one of my favourites, "Ease Your Mind" and then drawing the set to a close with "This Mourning", which segued into a little bit of Big Sugar's "I'm A Ram" before an awesome ending. I would have been content with that 45 minute set, but the band wasn't, as they  took a break and were back for more.

Opening with "Smile", the second set was again loaded with new songs. There was also the usual banter and joking from the band, as Shaun introduced one song being for "douches who text while driving. And people who get back into damaging relationships... and then text the person while driving". But when they had to restart the song for Shaun to switch guitars, they added: people who tune guitars while driving or drive with out of tune guitars.
The night came to an end with an extended "Change" and Gordie, at one point, behind the keys and playing bass simultaneously. And making it seem like nothing much.

Even though I have been a fan of the band for over ten years, and seen them at least a dozen times live in that span, their live shows always manage to blow away my expectations, and a lot of that lies on Shaun Verreault. More specifically, his guitar playing. With multiple solos throughout the night, Verreault makes it look absolutely effortless, and less that he is playing the guitar, but coaxing the sounds from it.I wouldn't hesitate to say he is one of my favourite guitarists to watch live.
After hearing these new songs in their infancy, I am very much looking forward to hearing the final product, which they said will be out later this year.

And I would definitely recommend anyone with free time tonight heading down to The Yale for night two.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Carmen Townsend @ Railway Club -- 01/11/11

Two years ago I saw The Tom Fun Orchestra live, and in the middle of the set, they had one of their members perform a few of her solo songs. I liked the songs, but never really heard anything from her since. Skip to now and Carmen Townsend has a new album, Waitin' and Seein', due out on the 25th of this month, and a CD release show at the Railway Club to go along with it.

It was an early, free show with Townsend playing a 45 minute set, with a couple members of the Tom Fun Orchestra as her backing band. I don't know if "power folk" is a genre, but it would be a pretty apt description of her sound. She completely rocked out for most of the set, with the blues driven songs giving a rich sound that seemed larger than the simple three piece on stage. Despite her powerful voice in the songs, Townsend started off not saying much between them, but seemed to get a bit more talkative, not overly so, as the set progressed -- though she admitted being a bit out of sorts due to both just having arrived back from Australia and hearing word she'll be opening for Heart across Canada. But despite that, she had a great energy while playing, and great chemistry with her band (which is not surprising).
Mid way through the set she switched to an acoustic guitar for a few mellower songs, showing off a good range, before driving right back into high gear for an incredibly explosive climax.

I don't know what it is about Nova Scotia, pumping out so many great musicians, but if they keep producing people like The Tom Fun Orchestra and Carmen Townsend, I will keep lining up to hear them.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

41st & Home @ Biltmore -- 01/07/11

After releasing a split magazine last month, Vancouver is Awesome and Discorder teamed up for a show at the Biltmore with some local talent.

The first band up was Facts (formerly knows as Armadillatantes) which is kind of a great name, just for the pun potential alone. They had a very electro-dance-punk sound to them that, on a couple occasions, reminded me of LCD Soundsystem-lite. Especially when one of singers attempted the James Murphy Yell, with middling success. They put on a fun dance party, but a few of their songs were a bit repetitive and their set went on for a shade too long.

Second was The Oh Wells, with dual female vocals providing a more folk sound. They weren't bad by any means, but maybe a touch bland with not much variation between the songs. Even their cover of Coldplay's "Yellow" was in the same vein as the rest of their own material. Completely inoffensive and Perfectly Acceptable Music.

Oh No! Yoko was third up -- another great band name. I had heard lots of hype around them leading up, and while I don't know if they are going to be the next big thing right now, as a few have suggested, they were damn enjoyable to watch. Very catchy tunes and a great energy on stage made for a really fun set, and especially considering all the members of the band are under 19. They, too, had a cover song thrown in, with "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", originally by Tears For Fears.
They also had a projection screen in the back, which was playing Fantasia for the whole set -- which made for a slightly awkward moment when their [underage] drummer took off his shirt and had Mickey Mouse projected on his chest. I am definitely interested in seeing them again, and seeing how they progress, because even if they don't break through now, they will soon enough.

Closing out the night was 41st & Home. They started out with just Garth on stage drumming, then one by one came out for the incredibly energetic opening song. They kept up the energy through the set, despite some technical difficulties early on. After first song, Thom's power bar went dead; after the second song, he had a broken string. But both times they were saved by some smooth jazz, so as not to have an awkward lull between songs while things were getting fixed. They played a mix of their album, Left In Places, and some new stuff, with the new material being quite compelling.
There wasn't much in the way of banter, but still a few times they joked around, like with George playing the "Floor Thom" (complete with Thom's grinning face taped on). The set came to a climax, sans encore, with their grandiose song "Eva", a great ending song.
It's always interesting seeing a band evolve, and 41st & Home has definitely grown and matured, as a band, since the first time I saw them last year.

This was a great week in music, as I was fortunate enough to see, over the course of the last three nights, nine pretty damn good local(ish) bands.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Ruffled Feathers w/ Julia and Her Piano, Katie Schaan & Thomas Kolb @ Media Club -- 01/06/11

One good way to kick off the year, music-wise, is three nights of great local(ish) talent in a row. Night two had some acts who were all friends with each other, which always adds a nice touch to shows.

First up was Thom Kolb of 41st & Home playing a solo set. He mentioned it was his first time doing so, and only seemed a little nervous at first, getting more relaxed as he went. Playing all original material, except for one 41st & Home song, he had a bit more of a country twang to them, even breaking out the banjo for a song. I was somewhat surprised by the tone of the songs, but they ended up being quite good. The other difference between 41stThom and soloThom was he was quite a bit more chatty, telling stories behind the songs, or sometimes just completely random, but usually amusing.
The set also included his first time use of a looping pedal, which he successfully pulled off, and ended by getting a good number of the musicians playing later to come on stage with him to help on backing vocals for a song about Steveston*
*fun (and absolutely true) fact: Steveston was once known as Salmonopolis. Why they changed it, I can't say.

Katie Schaan was up next, starting with a really cool song that consisted solely of her singing over looped clapping and "ooh"s, no instruments. It definitely highlighted her incredible voice, that just seemed to effortlessly flow out of her.
Starting on keys, she gradually moved to guitar and ukulele, her set included a cover of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes", with Thom backing her up, a version of her "Last Night" song from the Peak Performance Project bootcamp (she was there as part of Steph Macpherson's band), and then ended when she called all of her friends in the crowd to come right to the front so she could serenade them with her final song.
There was also one point where she called out a certain blog for writing that all her songs were written about boys & crushes -- which, to be fair, she pretty much admitted at the time -- and went on to play a song that was decidedly NOT about any of that. (I think I got, as they say, "served")
Perhaps it was due to a bit better of a venue, but I enjoyed her set even more than the last time I saw her, so here's hoping she is back from the island soon enough.

Much like Schaan, last time I saw Julia & Her Piano it was at a chatty café (in fact, the same café, just different times), and I mentioned wanting to see her in a better setting, so her being third up was nice. It was just, as the name implies, Julia McDougall on stage behind a piano, with her smooth voice and catchy folk-pop songs grabbing the attention of the [strangely] seated crowd. She was also incredibly vivacious, with a kind of dorky charm (which I say in an absolutely positive way), joking around between songs and being just generally full of energy. Even when she messed up a song a little, she rolled with it, joked about it, instead of letting it get to her.
The set ended with a song that usually included a trumpet solo from Ruffled Feather's Andrew Lee, but he was not on stage, so she improvised something... which mostly consisted of mocking and embarrassing Lee, who was sitting right by the stage.

Finally, closing out the night was Ruffled Feathers, which included the aforementioned Andrew Lee, formerly of the aforementioned 41st & Home. They had a very upbeat and poppy sound, incorporating instruments like the trumpet and mandolin (how can you not love a mandolin?). The set was also pretty fun to watch, with members using a megaphone, a couple coming through the crowd, and a few small bubble wands being handed out to people in the front. Aside from a couple giveaways -- a draw for t-shirts and throwing paper airplanes with a download code for their EP -- there wasn't too much banter/talking between songs, but they had enthusiasm to spare while playing.
Most of the set consisted of the more high energy songs, but there were a few slower, more relaxed ones as well, as well as the requisite dance-with-that-special-someone song (introduced as such, even). They seemed to imply that were written by various members, and while there wasn't a vast difference between songs, there were definitely a few that stood out more than others, and that could be the reason.

In all, it was another fun night in local(ish) music, and while all four acts of the night put on good sets, I think ultimately, Julia and Her Piano kind of stole the show.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Redbird (acoustic) @ The Helm -- 01/05/11

After seeing Redbird for the first time back in August, I had managed to miss all of their subsequent shows, so when an acoustic show popped up at some place called The Helm, I was glad I could actually make it. I had never even heard of The Helm, but the new restaurant/dinner club in downtown Vancouver ended up being quite nice, and a cool place to see an acoustic set like this. I hope they end up booking more shows.

But as for Rebdird themselves; the acoustic show features three of the members, John Sponarski on guitar, Geneva Gamble on backup vocals and shaker/tambourine and, of course, Savannah Leigh Wellman on acoustic guitar and lead vocals. It was a very intimate set, with both the cosiness of the restaurant and the fact that most people there were friends of the band both helping it be quite casual.
As with last time I saw them, I was struck by Savannah's voice, and the really fitting indie-folky-rootsy sound built around it. A couple songs also really stuck out, lyrically -- one titled "No Game" and the other I missed the name of -- and hope are on the upcoming EP, apparently due out in the spring. There were a couple times where there was a bit of a lull between songs, but nothing that stalled the momentum too much.
After a good 45 minutes or so, the main set ended with a cover of The Black Keys. I am always a fan of seeing bands play covers, to see how songs are interpreted, how an artist puts their own spin on something, and Savannah pulled off "Tighten Up" quite well, being different enough to make it unique, but still doing the song justice.
The encore was even more loose than the main set, as it seemed genuinely unplanned and the band just ended up jamming, with older songs and another cover, of Call It Off by Tegan & Sara.

It was quite a good show, and it wasn't as bad, ambient-noise-wise, as other shows in similar settings have been, and upped my anticipation for both the aforementioned EP, and the full band show next month at the Railway.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

One Night Stand III @ Media Club -- 12/31/10

Last year, I said: "the best way to describe what happened last night would be that it was like watching a huge group party of Rock Band. Except instead of your tone deaf, rhythm-less friends, it was actual, talented musicians. And instead of plastic instruments, it was the real thing". And while it's pretty lazy to just copy and paste that, I can't think of a better description of One Night Stand III. All year I've been talking about the magic of Vancouver's local scene, and the third instalment of this New Years Eve party was the culmination of that, with a dozen musicians from various bands coming together for a night of cover songs. 
The band consisted of Adaline, Andrew Braun, Johnny Andrews & Laura Smith (Rococode), Brian Healy & Rob Tornroos (Elias), Dominique Fricot, Hannah Georgas, Jasmin Parkin (Mother Mother), Josh McNorton, Peter Carrutthers (Said The Whale), Robbie Driscoll (Hannah Georgas) as well as a surprise guest for a couple songs. They rotated on and off stage all night, except for Johnny Andrews, who was on the drums for every single song (but one), and played nearly three hours of music, across three sets.

The first started at 10 and consisted of:
Call Me (Blondie)
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Stevie Wonder)
Just Like Heaven (The Cure)
Someday (The Strokes)
My Moon My Man (Feist)
Love Fool (The Cardigans)
Where The Streets Have No Name (U2)
Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen)
All These Things That I've Done (The Killers)

One of my favourite covers of the night came early with "Just Like Heaven", a song I adore. At first I though Hannah was an odd choice to take vocals, but as soon as she opened her mouth, I was proven wrong (really, I should have known better). The set saw Hannah, Smith and Adaline taking a lot of the vocals, with both "My Moon, My Man" (Smith) and "Love Fool" (Adaline) also being great covers. After that Dominique Fricot -- who was actually too tall for the decorations -- came out for a pretty spot on Bono, and the set ended with the crowd chanting along to the chorus of "All These Things That I've Done". Though I have to admit, I was a little sad that The Killers got a much bigger reaction than The Cure.

Second Set:
Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel)
Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode)
Pump It Up (Elvis Costello)
Breakdown (Tom Petty)
This Charming Man (The Smiths)
Rehab (Amy Winehouse)
Creep (Radiohead)
Where Is My Mind (The Pixies)

This set was a little slower in tone, but "Sledgehammer" was another great cover, and Robbie Driscoll stepped out from behind the bass to channel some Costello for his only song on vocals.
The set ended with a bit of Mother Mother, as not only Jasmine came out to sing, but there was a surprise appearance by Ryan Guldemond joining the group on stage. He brought the final set of 2010 to a close with one of his favourite songs, "Where Is My Mind". It was definitely another highlight of the night, and judging by the amount of singing (and ooo-ooooh-ing) along, I wasn't the only one of that opinion.

Third Set:
Never Tear Us Apart (INXS)
(I've Had) The Time of My Life (Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes)
If It Makes You Happy (Sheryl Crow)
1901 (Phoenix)
Dog Days are Over (Florence & The Machine)
The Good Life (Weezer)
Bullet Proof (La Roux)
Loser (Beck)
Instant Karma (John Lennon)

And the first set of 2011 started with the customary slow dance, before continuing the dancing theme with a duet from Fricot and Adaline. Who, as far as I'm concerned, both stole the show throughout the night; especially after Adaline crushed "Dog Days Are Over" in another of the best renditions of the night.
Finally, after Hannah nailed "Loser", with the crowd joining in on the chorus, all the performers came back out on stage to cap off the night with "Instant Karma" -- I was expecting a Beatles song, I was close -- for another sing-a-long, and a fantastic way to both end the night and start the new year.

In all, it was an amazing night. While I think I liked last years setlists a bit better overall, the experience of the night, the friends and the atmosphere and everything, far outmatched it.
And since I started by shameless copy & pasting, I may as well paraphrase the end of last years post, too: "There is a saying or superstition, I guess, that says that whatever you're doing at midnight is what you'll be doing for the rest of the year. If that's the case, I can't wait for whatever this next year has in store."