Best and Worst Shows of 2011

Shows that stuck out for me in 2011

Trashcan Sinatras/Salim Nourallah at the Loft, March 4 This was a very special tour for the Sinatras. Paired down to a four-piece, the mostly-acoustic show was more of a fans-only event. Before the tour began, they solicited song requests on their website. When they played The Loft, they mentioned who requested what. Opener Salim Nourallah was even mentioned, as he'd requested a song. A very elegant evening of Smiths-inspired rock.

Taking Back Sunday/Thursday/Colour Revolt/The New Regime at House of Blues, July 5 Reunited with the lineup that put their name on the map, Taking Back Sunday put on the kind of show that makes you glad you see bands live. Not only did they play a lot of songs (20 to be exact), they played material from when Shaun Cooper and John Nolan weren't in the band. It was a nice touch hearing their take on songs like "A Decade Under the Influence" and "MakeDamnSure." What made the show special was how frontman Adam Lazzara walked to both bars on the ground floor and sang his head off. Yes, microphone cables can stretch that far.

Against Me! at the Double Wide, June 23 This wasn't supposed to be an Against Me! show, but that's what it became when Tom Gabel and company took the stage for the Vans Warped Tour kickoff party. This was a free show that felt like the kind AM! played years ago. It had a small but fiercely devoted audience pushing and pulling the whole floor.

The Jayhawks at the Granada Theater, November 16 How can a reunited band stun a crowd with a set filled with catalog favorites, obscurities and b-sides? The Jayhawks nailed this over the course of 22 songs. With a fantastic sound mix, nobody was fighting to be heard. And the band played the kind of show you'd hope for.

Show that struck out for me

A Perfect Circle/Red Bacteria Vacuum at Verizon Theatre, July 23 A Perfect Circle doesn't really have a backlog of hits. That's fine because they're a pretty fantastic band worth seeing, and can easily fill an entire night with their best known material. So what was their decision with this show? Sleepy cover songs from an album that came out a handful of years ago that a lot of people forgot about. Add in a steep parking fee (that definitely put on the hurt when the show finished at the same time as an Airhogs game) and very little interaction with the audience, and many who paid good money walked away cheated.

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