Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lab Report 2009: The Year in Review

I thought 2008 was insane. I was wrong. 2009 was epic.

Total number of concerts for 2009: 205.

Average of seeing a show every 1.7 days.

Total number of reviews/photos for Amateur Chemist: 67.

Total number of contributions to OC Weekly: 65.

Total number of contributions to Stereogum: 68.

Assuming a concert lasts roughly 3.5 hours, I listened to live music for approximately 30 days of the year.

Highlight shows throughout the year by month:

January: Hum at the Double Door.

This was the first indication that 2009 would be special. I flew by myself to see my favorite band reunite in the freezing cold of Chicago. I nearly died of frost bite trying to find a cab on New Years Eve, but it was completely worth it. I have been dreaming about seeing Hum live for thirteen years and it was a dream come true. I disqualified this show from the "Best Of" awards because it was in a class by itself.

Runner up: Thorns of Life in Eagle Rock.

If you do some research, you will know why I call this blog Amateur Chemist. It was awesome seeing Blake's lefty Les Paul and Big Muff distortion pedal back in action.

February: Puscifer at the Pearl Theater.


3 shows of Puscifer along with 3 nights of debauchery in Las Vegas. I would say more..but can't.

Runner Up: Jane's Addiction at the Echoplex.

I only wished they started the open camera policy for the tour at the Echoplex. Regardless, I was lucky to be there.

March: Cut Copy at the Glass House.

Cut Copy was in sharp touring form and shattered the Glass House. The whole place was going bonkers. I would bet big on the next Cut Copy album.

Runner Up: PJ Harvey and John Parish.

PJ Harvey has a distinct energy of her own. You have to witness it live in order to understand.

April: The Presets at the Glass House.


I think it was my seventh show in a row (including Coachella) and I still managed to drag myself out to Pomona to see the Presets. It was worth it as it rivals Cut Copy for best show of the year held at the Glass House.

Runner Up: Ratatat at the Hollywood Palladium.


Guitars, synthesizers and a crazy light show? Yes.

May: Nine Inch Nails at the Santa Barbara Bowl.


I read my review again and still can't figure out what made the Santa Barbara show so special. It just was.

Runner Up: School of Seven Bells at the Detroit Bar.

I was front and center for the guitar and synthesizer washes of School of Seven Bells. I still listen to the album frequently and anxiously await their follow up album.

June: The Prodigy at the Grove of Anaheim.


It was loud and vicious. It was saddening that this tour didn't get as much press as it should have. They were in top form and played to the crowd as if it were a stadium.

Runner Up: Metric at the Wiltern.

Fantasies is a fantastic synthesizer fueled album and Metric brought it to life as it was one of the more electric shows at the Wiltern this year.

July: Dirty Projectors at the Troubadour.

I was familiar with only a few songs prior to the show. I was floored by their technical precision and was instantly sold. Anyone who dismisses this band has not seen them live. I think their upcoming show with the LA Philharmonic will be epic.

Runner Up: Jarvis Cocker at the Wiltern.

It's Jarvis. A true entertainer with his assortment of dance and ninja moves. What more really needs to be said?

August: Judas Priest at the Gibson Amphitheater


My concert addiction can be traced back to 1984 with my first concert at the Long Beach Arena to see Judas Priest. I still can't believe I took some of those photos. I think I lost a bunch of followers on Twitter because I live blogged the show.

Runner Up: Depeche Mode at the Santa Barbara Bowl and No Doubt at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater



Depeche Mode are legends. One of the many highlights of the year. No Doubt put on an energetic show and sold out arenas across the nation without releasing an album. From a photography standpoint, No Doubt was definitely one of my favorites to shoot with a plethora of lights and action.

September: Nine Inch Nails at the Henry Fonda Theater


Best show of 2009. The setlist, Gary Numan, Danny Lohner and the energy was unbeatable. If you were there, you would completely agree.

Runner Up: Mew at the Detroit Bar


Another amazing night at the Detroit Bar. Mew is stunning live.

October: U2 at the Rose Bowl


I was one of 28 photographers for a concert attended by nearly 100,000 people. I still remember seeing the entire floor of the Rose Bowl bounce during "Elevation". Even though it was broadcasted on Youtube, you can't recreate the feeling of being surrounded by thousands of people with Edge's delayed guitars echoing at maximum volume.

Runner Up: The Horrors at the Detroit Bar and A Place To Bury Strangers at the Echoplex.



Both bands made my short list of top albums of 2009. I highly recommend picking up The Horrors album Primary Colours and A Place To Bury Strangers album Exploding Head.

November: KISS at the Honda Center


Nostalgia seems to be the theme of this year. KISS put on a full blooded rock show. Yes, they want all your money but they rocked harder than people one third their age.

Runner Up: Them Crooked Vultures at the Wiltern


Them Crooked Vultures have criminally been left off a lot of "best of" lists this year and its because those people didn't see the band live. It is nearly impossible to capture the sound and intensity of Them Crooked Vultures in recorded form. Watching Dave Grohl drum was worth the price of admission alone.

December: Morrissey at the Fox Theater in Pomona


Morrissey himself said it was his fourth favorite show of the year. I fully agree. The setlist was magnificent and I will always remember "Cemetry Gates" and "Why Don't You Find For Yourself?" back to back. I have seen 30+ Morrissey shows in my life and this was top five for sure.

Runner Up: KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night 2


Muse owned this night. Metric, Phoenix and Vampire Weekend were the added bonus.


Anonymous said...

Nice summary and nice pics...

Unknown said...


You brought me back to so many shows. And it was nice to hang with you at a lot of them. Totally agree on NIN at Fonda. I'll never forget that one. I wonder how many 2010 will bring after 2009 was so spectacular.


Albert said...

So pleased to be there with you for some of these shows! - Albert