20. Crystal Castles 3/4 (The Warfield, San Francisco, CA)
I have loved Crystal Castles since the first time I heard them. I still remember now vividly putting their first album on while waiting for my next class at Davis and loving it right away. So naturally it was a huge disappointment that they did not deliver the performance I was expecting when I first saw them at Coachella 2009.
This show at the Warfield in San Francisco was just incredible. I ended up seeing Crystal Castles 3 times this year and of the 4 times total I have seen them, this was the best. The greatest part about it is that it almost did not happen. Before they came on a technician came out and said that Alice Glass had broken her leg earlier that day and that her doctor had recommended her not to perform for us that night. Well to our excitement she told the doctor to go fuck himself and came on anyway with a fresh cast! The crowd went nuts and the whole experience was just incredible. This band is much better in a venue then at a festival, though they did rock it this year at Coachella.
Bryce and Ramzi and I were front row for this show from the beginning, but unfortunately I got really sick before the first act came on and had to go to the bathroom. I legit stayed in the bathroom for about two hours and thought I was going to miss the show. Thankfully there were many opening acts because I came out right as Big Boi came on. It must have just been the awesomeness of his music or something but I felt much better once he came on. Near the end of the set I pushed my way back to the front where Bryce and Rums were still holding down a spot for me. Swag! One of my favorite songs/music videos ever is Rosa Parks, I remember even printing out the lyrics when I was 12 to memorize them. This was the first time I have ever seen that song live which makes this show really special to me.
18. Donald Glover/Childish Gambino 4/28 (Fillmore, San Francisco, CA)
Back in 2005 Chris showed me this awesome class made video that was hilariously funny he had found on the net. It featured a very young Donald Glover before he was made famous and barely gaining a following. With all that has happened in his career since then, I couldn’t help but be wowed during this entire set. Half sketch comedy and half live hip hop, the whole show was top notch. It even featured a video sketch with James Murphy of the late and great LCD Soundsystem. Had a really great time at this show!
17. Dirty Diddy Money / Tyga / Lloyd / Lil B 5/6 (The Warfield, San Francisco, CA)
I almost did not go to this show. I didn’t have a ticket, and after work I went to San Jose to take a nap that day. I woke up and realized that the show was not sold out and that I could get a ticket for about 20 bucks on craigslist. On top of that I read a rumor that Diddy might bring out Lil B. This was feasible to me because of the awesome footage of Diddy and Lil B at SXSW earlier this year. So I bought the ticket, put on my SWAG Lil B shirt and drove over. I didn’t expect it to be one of the best shows I have ever been to! On one level it was great to see YMCMB up and comers Tyga and Lloyd do their thing up close, especially after seeing Lil Wayne’s show a few weeks prior. On another level, Diddy was at the first concert I ever went to (KMEL Summer Fest in 98) and used to rap with my then favorite rapper MASE so it hit a lot of nostalgic levels. Also, by the near end of an already amazing and long night, after I gave up on the idea of Lil B showing up, he brings out Lil B for three songs! It was soooo swag and so much fun as you can see in the videos below.
16. Akon/Usher 5/29 (HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA)
This was pure nostalgia for me. I listened to Usher all of the time back in the day when I couldn’t wait to get home from school and watch TRL. It didn’t hurt that we were basically in the front row! Akon killed it as an opener and the lights, effects, and money they put into Usher’s production was incredible. He literally was lowered onto the stage by this glowing platform on the roof of the opposite side of the stadium! It was also great to see the guys who signed Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, two of the biggest names in music today, together in one show.