Best Concerts of 2010

From beginning to end, 2010 has kept us busy running from venue to venue in pursuit of some phenomenal live music. Gimme Noise's team of writers and photographers fanned out across the Twin Cities to catch as many shows as we could, and each of us ended up with our own diverse and distinctive list of favorites.

Behold: The best concerts we caught around town in 2010, from Jonsi to Willie to Mark Mallman's 78-hour song.

Mavis Staples at the Cedar
Mavis Staples at the Cedar
Photo by Alexa Jones


1. Marina and the Diamonds at the Triple Rock Social Club (Sept 13)
2. Mavis Staples at the Cedar Cultural Center (Nov. 29)
3. Dawes at the Taste of Minnesota
4. The Antlers and Phantogram at the Varsity (April 21)
5. Zoo Animal CD-Release Show at the 7th St. Entry (May 28)
6. Mumford and Sons at First Ave (Oct. 29)
7. Tapes 'n' Tapes at the Turf Club (Nov. 11)
8. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan at the Cedar Cultural Center (Oct. 23)
9. Local Natives at the 400 Bar (May 18)
10. Yeasayer and Sleigh Bells at First Ave (April 28)

Jonsi at the Pantages Theatre
Jonsi at the Pantages Theatre
Photo by Stacy Schwartz

STACY SCHWARTZ, photographer

1. Jonsi at the Pantages - April 24
2. Guided By Voices at First Ave - October 12
3. Hold Steady at The Cabooze - July 3
4. Mark Mallman Marathon at The Turf Club - October 10
5. Arcade Fire at Roy Wilkins - September 22
6. Electric President at SXSW - March 20
7. Spirits of the Red City at The Cake Shop (Minneapolis) - August 15
8. Metric at SXSW - March 16
9. The Thermals at The Triple Rock - September 30
10. Barenaked Ladies at The Orpheum - May 17

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem at Roy Wilkins Auditorium
James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem at Roy Wilkins Auditorium
Photo by Erik Hess

PAT O'BRIEN, writer

1. Guided By Voices (October 12, First Avenue)
2. Dawes (November 11, First Avenue)
3. The National (August 6, First Avenue)
4. Superchunk (December 1, First Avenue)
5. LCD Soundsystem (October 23, Roy Wilkins Auditorium)
6. Arcade Fire (September 22, Roy Wilkins Auditorium)
7. Pavement (September 12, Roy Wilkins Auditorium)
8. Grinderman (November 22, First Avenue)
9. Shearwater (April 6, 400 Bar)
10. Arcwelder (January 8, Turf Club; December 4, 7th Street Entry)

P.O.S. at the Triple Rock in April
P.O.S. at the Triple Rock in April
Photo by Erik Hess

ERIK HESS, photographer and writer

1. Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream (w/ Eyedea, Kristoff Krane, Eric Blair, Anthony Cox, JT Bates) (12/30/2009), Eyedea, Kristoff Krane, No Bird Sing freestyle jams at Honey (03/26/2010), No Bird Sing, Face Candy and Mayda freestyle jams at Honey (06/18/2010)

I know it's three shows but they were the most moving live music experiences I witnessed all year, by far. I'll just leave it at that.

2. Mark Mallman Marathon 3 at the Turf Club (10/07/2010-10/10/2010)

78 hours of madness. Hundreds of collaborators changing out every hour. Amazing music. Mark Mallman is a mad genius.

3. P.O.S. Pre-Coachella Band Warmup Shows at the Turf Club, Triple Rock and Nick & Eddie (04/12/2010-04/14/2010)

The live P.O.S. experience with B.B.B./M.D.S. backing him up is beyond intense. These "secret" shows were a rare treat.

4. Marijuana Deathsquads Wednesday residency at Nick & Eddie (Weekly from 02/03/2010-08/25/2010)

Between the never-ending list of collaborators and the fascinating assortment of attendees, these shows became quite a force to be reckoned with.

5. LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium (10/23/2010)

Best dance party of the year. Period. Kele's show at the Entry gets an honorable mention though.

6. Holy Fuck at the Turf Club (06/03/2010)

This is a band that simply must be seen live to be believed and the Turf was the perfect venue for them.

7. Southern Songbook at the Southern Theater (11/14/2010)

An amazing night of jazz standards performed by some of the most talented local musicians in one of the must beautiful venues in the Twin Cities.

8. Tame Impala, Stardeath and White Dwarfs at the Entry (11/27/2010)

Incredibly intense psych-rock madness from Stardeath and blissed-out, infectious grooves from Tame Impala made for an amazing experience.

9. Peelander-Z at the Turf Club (10/19/2010)

These guys are the epitome of rock and roll fun.

10. Gastro Non Grata's Vagabond Vacation at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry (Pink Mink, Private Dancer, Unknown Prophets, Birthday Suits, Guystorm, Fuck Knights, Moonstone, Rifflord) (06/27/2010)

Wickedly well-curated lineup of awesome MSP music combined with amazing food at one of the greatest rock venues in the nation.

The Jayhawks rehearse for their three-night run at First Avenue in June
The Jayhawks rehearse for their three-night run at First Avenue in June
Photo by Steve Cohen

STEVE COHEN, photographer

Dan and Matt Wilson - Pantages Theater - Mar 26
George Clinton P-Funk - First Avenue - June 26
The Jayhawks - Electric Fetus - June 18
Dawes - Taste of Minnesota - July 2
Devo- MN Zoo - July 3
Levon Helm - MN Zoo - July 6
Loretta Lynn - Grand Casino Hinckley - July 9
Janelle Monae - First Avenue - September 23
John Prine - Orpheum Theater - September 25
Willie Nelson - Mystic Lake - November 30
Mavis Staples - Cedar Cultural Center - November 28
The New Standards Holiday Show - Fitzgerald Theater - Dec 4
Alicia Wiley - 7th Street Entry - Dec 2

Wish I'd seen: Patty Griffin - Fitzgerald Theater - June 19

Marijuana Deathsquads at "4 Nights in Loring" in August
Marijuana Deathsquads at "4 Nights in Loring" in August
Photo by Erik Hess


1.    The Blow (Music Hall of Williamsburg)
2.    Grinderman (First Avenue)
3.    Gayngs' Last Prom (First Avenue)
4.    Man Or Astro-Man? (Outside in Austin)
5.    Marijuana Deathsquads (Loring Park)
6.    Liars (First Avenue)
7.    STNNNG (The Rochester Eagle's Club)
8.    Glasser (Brooklyn Bowl)
9.    Skoal Kodiak (1419)
10.    Dark Dark Dark (Cedar Cultural Center)

Willie Nelson at Mystic Lake on October 30
Willie Nelson at Mystic Lake on October 30
Photo by Steve Cohen


Don Williams at Black Bear Casino, 11/5/10
Os Mutantes and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti at the Cedar, 11/20/10
Willie Nelson at Mystic, 10/29-30/10
Rosanne Cash at the Minnesota State Fair, 8/31/10
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at the Medina, 3/19/10
Totally Gross National Product Loring Alley Party, 8/14/10
Flaming Lips and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti at Roy Wilkins, 9/19/10
Modern Radio Record Label Anniversary Shows at the Turf and Cedar, 1/22-23/10
Justin Townes Earle at the Taste of Minnesota 7/2/10
Korn at First Avenue, 5/17/10

Grinderman at First Avenue in November
Grinderman at First Avenue in November
Photo by Adam Bubolz


1. Jónsi - Pantages Theater, Minneapolis, April 25 (Review by Carl Atiya Swanson)
2. Grinderman - First Avenue, November 23
3. Foals - 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, September 23
4. The National - First Avenue, August 6 (Review by Pat O'Brien)
5. Shearwater - 400 Bar, Minneapolis, April 6
6. Broken Social Scene - First Avenue, October 4
7. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, October 23
8. Pavement - Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, September 12
9. Eels - First Avenue, October 3
10. Band Of Horses - State Theater, Minneapolis, July 17

Mark Mallman wraps up his 78-hour Marathon 3 at the Turf in October
Mark Mallman wraps up his 78-hour Marathon 3 at the Turf in October
Photo by Erik Hess

ANDREA SWENSSON, music editor

1. Mark Mallman's Marathon 3 at the Turf Club, October 6-10
2. The Jayhawks at First Avenue, June 19-21
3. Jónsi at the Pantages Theatre, April 25
4. Gayngs "Last Prom on Earth" at First Avenue, May 14
5. Jeremy Messersmith CD-release at the Cedar, May 7
6. Marijuana Deathsquads in Loring Park, August 31
7. Sleigh Bells at the Triple Rock, October 26
8. Gorillaz at the Target Center, October 17
9. Joan Baez at the Minnesota Zoo, July 13
10. Rogue Valley CD-release at the Fitzgerald, April 12

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