Well friends, another year has come and gone, and I have another big list of shows behind me.
I thought I would join the large number of people who make their Top 5 of 2011 lists, so with no further adieu, here it is. I refuse to rank these in any order though – it would be like choosing a favourite child – I love them all equally.
Top 5 Shows of 2011 in Chronological Order:
1. National Parks Project @ Royal Cinema – May 19 2011
2011 Marked the centennial of the founding of Parks Canada. A number of artists embarked on an expedition to capture the parks in music and film. The result was simply stunning, and I was lucky enough to mix the concert that was held at The Royal Cinema in Toronto to celebrate the release of the project. On this night a great variety of musicians performed including Bry Webb, and Sarah Harmer.
You can find more information on the National Parks Project here (as well as purchase the film or CD).
2. Sam Roberts Band @ Massey Hall – June 3 + 4 2011
Massey Hall is the Holy Grail for a lot of Canadian Musicians likely due to the history that building holds. Neil Young’s live record from 1971 is one of many that were recorded there, and it makes sense why people would want to record shows there. It’s a very lively room and it feels like the audience on the sides of the balcony are on top of the stage. While acoustically it has is challenges, it is definitely a special place to do a show, and I’ve been lucky enough to do a few in that room. Despite having been there before, it didn’t feel any less special. This show was one that kicked off a month of work with Sam, and it was a very good month.
3. Arkells @ Bayfest – July 10 2011
One thing that really keeps me on my heels with Arkells is the range of shows that I do with them. It isn’t uncommon to go from a small club that only holds a couple hundred people to a large outdoor festival that holds tens of thousands. Obviously adjusting from one sound system to another can be a challenge in its own, it is especially challenging when you go from one extreme to another. Fortunately though some days I really luck out and get to mix on a sound system that is the best in the world.
This show was being headlined by The Tragically Hip, and their FOH mixer Jon Erickson is a man of good and uncompromising taste. He spec’d a L’Acoustics V-DOSC rig for his summer festivals, and the cherry on top were that his choice of subs were not the L’Acoustics subs, but the Jason Sound Industries J-61. Now obviously he has a long history with these boxes but that’s not why he continues to use them. They are a good sounding sub. They have far less distortion, and they are a horn-loaded sub, which means while they are not punchy, they produce the nicest sub-bass you’ll ever hear live. The only down-side is that you need a pile of them, but thankfully when you’re The Hip in Canada, you can pretty much get what you want.
This was the best sounding rig I’ve mixed on, and it doesn’t only take good speakers, it takes a good PA tech, and Juice is a rising star here in Ontario. Kudos, bud.
4. Ra Ra Riot @ Malkin Bowl – September 24 2011
Starting a tour with a new band is always a new band can always be a little bit stressful, but even by day two of touring with RRR I felt right at home. Combine that with working with my one of my favourite teams in Canada – Live Nation Vancouver, at the beautiful Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, and you get a show that is not only easy, but fun too.
5. Tokyo Police Club @ The Phoenix – Dec 8 – 10 2011
What happens when you get three sold out shows in a row? How about when you add snow machines, a great lighting rig, and a Christmas theme? This show was one of the most fun shows I’ve done in quite some time, and it really put me in the Christmas spirit. There’s not much more to say, so you should probably just watch this video: