10 Favorite Shows of 2011: Melissa Fossum

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I went to a lot of shows this year. Thanks to last.fm, I can conform that I went to at least 56 concerts, not counting the numerous times I swung by Yucca Tap Room or Crescent Ballroom just for fun. That's one show every six and a half days!

I covered most of these shows for Up on the Sun, using words, photos, videos, or some combination of the three. I spent a few too many nights working through the sunrise, but you know what? I'd do it all again, even if it was at the expense of my first DSLR camera.

I'd like to say Buckcherry broke it, but in reality, I took way more pictures than my poor Canon Rebel could handle. At least now I have a fancy schmancy 7D with video capabilities.

My final concert tally would have been a bit higher if I wasn't in a nasty car accident in early October. I'm bummed I missed out on artists like St. Vincent and CSS, but hey, there's always next year.

Honorable mentions go out to X, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Ben Folds, Cake/Calexico, and Rush. Check out my top 10 concerts of 2011 after the jump.

10. No Age at The Trunk Space, January 30, 2011

What I said at the time: Spunt's vocals were difficult to hear at times due to Randall's six amps and array of effects pedals, but that didn't stop the crowd from dancing and singing along to their favorite songs, including a cover of Black Flag's "Six Pack."

This was my first review of a touring band for the New Times, and honestly, I was somewhat terrified when I wrote it. Almost a year later, I'm still rocking out to "Fever Dreaming."

9. Chromeo at Marquee Theatre, 10/18/11

What I said at the time: I'm sure both Battles and The Naked and Famous put on good shows, but I'm glad I choose Chromeo. The venue was warm and heavy on B.O. stank, but it didn't matter; it was all for good reason -- the Marquee was packed full of people dancing and having an incredible time.

This show was about two weeks after my accident. A sprained shoulder made it difficult to dance, but that didn't stop me from trying.

8. M83 at Crescent Ballroom, 11/7/11

What Anthony Sandoval said at the time: With a twinkling starry backdrop and rotating blue spot lights Gonzalez's high-pitched vocals echoed through the venue amid various digital bleeps and bops, airy synths and driving drum rolls. Oh, and it was loud. Like really loud.

I was planning on ducking out as soon as I got all the pictures I needed, but I was so impressed that I stayed the whole time.

7. Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls at Rhythm Room, 10/10/11

What I said at the time: He devoted "Glory Hallelujah" to Billie Holiday, and I've never seen an audience so enthusiastic to shout "So clap your hands together, there is no god, no heaven and no hell." This was the start of four back to back fast-paced crowd pleasers: "Long Live the Queen," "The Road," and Queen's "Somebody to Love." The band did the cover justice. Turner had the correct range and even hit a high note at the end of the song.

I've been a fan of Turner since Love, Ire, & Song, and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to see him live.

6. NKOTBSB at US Airways Center, 6/30/11

What I said at the time: This show was a lot better than anticipated. I was all smiles, feeling the same way I did seeing Arcade Fire and Matt & Kim. I'm sure I'm just as surprised to make that statement as you are to read it. Tonight, I watched a concert with the same enthusiasm as a tween. I don't expect to feel it for any other '90s band unless the Spice Girls come back to town.

Yeah, spoiler alert, even back then I knew Arcade Fire and Matt & Kim would make my year-end list. Like every other generation Y girl, I had a boy band obsession. Any girl that says otherwise is lying.

5. Within These Walls at Nile Theater, 9/24/11

What I said at the time: This sense of camaraderie was particularly strong during "Guilty by Association." It's a powerful song, it's nearly impossible not to jump around and scream the lyrics. I think deep down all of us wanted to be that guy that jumped on stage at the end.

4. Matt & Kim at Marquee Theatre, 6/14/11

What I said at the time: I went in with high expectations, which is always a dangerous idea, but somehow Matt and Kim took it to a whole new level. I was expecting maybe 800 people to show up and have a lukewarm reaction, but the Marquee was near capacity, full of fans eager to clap, sing, dance, and crowd surf.

Before this show, I was a casual Matt & Kim fan.

3. Phantogram at Crescent Ballroom, 11/5/11

What I said at the time: Last night was one of the group's many sold out shows. Phantogram has been hyped up, and the buzz is well deserved. For one, "When I'm Small" is honestly one of the greatest songs I've ever heard, and two, the band sounds even better live than on their albums.

Phantogram is tremendously underrated, please check them out.

2. Cut Copy at Marquee Theatre, 8/12/11

What I said at the time: I don't know what it is about Australian bands, but I've yet to be disappointed by one. Granted, I've only seen a handful, but Cut Copy, Tame Impala, and The Living End have all consistently put on great, memorable shows --though they don't share much stylistically. I had high expectations after seeing Cut Copy at Coachella, and am happy to say I was once again blown away.

My ringtone is still "Out There on the Ice."

1. Arcade Fire at Comerica Theatre, 4/13/11

What Martin Cizmar said at the time: That background, and the way Butler seemed to point out the parallels to Phoenix, is what made Wednesday's concert so impressive to me. Not that it wasn't a solid show on a technical level, as well. A Grindhouse-style vintage-look movie trailer set the tone. The eight-piece band sounded exactly as you'd expect from their records -- big, tight, anthemic. Video screens and lights kept things interesting without upstaging the band.

This show was magical. I didn't think anything could top it until I saw the band two days later at Coachella. I sang my heart out during "Crown of Love" and watched the epic "Wake Up" balloon drop in awe.

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