Top 10 Musical Moments of 2010: Jay's Top Five

5. Kanye West Record Release @ Bowery Ballroom: From the start, this concert had legendary written all over it. At the 11th hour Kanye West decided to throw himself a record release party for his latest opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The show leaked via Twitter on Monday night and by Tuesday morning the city was buzzing with excitement at the chance of seeing West with 600 other lucky New Yorkers. As Tuesday became Wednesday, West took the stage at Bowery Ballroom and pleased the crowd with powerful cuts from the new record and an all-star ensemble cast including Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), John Legend, Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross. The special event came complete with at 10 minute rant from West regarding the media’s willingness to take quotes out of context and misconstrue their meaning. It was all quite magical.

4. The Strokes @ Lollapalooza: They were the sole reason I travelled with some friends to Chicago’s Grant Park for 2010’s installment of the Lollapalooza Festival. Sure, the line up was stacked with favorites like The National, Arcade Fire, Against Me, The Black Keys and Frightened Rabbit, but it had been a few years since my last experience with The Strokes so my focus laid on the shoulders of New York's finest. In the headline slot on the first evening of the festival, The Strokes took the stage fashionably late under the booming Queen anthem “We Will Rock You,” and for the next two hours they did just that by opening with "New York City Cops". Their set was a healthy mix of their entire catalog, but they leaned heavily on their classic debut album and it left me wanting more – so much more.

3. Pavement Returns to New York: Pavement is one of those bands that didn’t get to me until it was too late and as I read more about them, it seemed as though there purveyors of slack rock would never play again. Much to my surprise, the band not only reunited, but played dates all over the world including a week long stand in New York where they played the Williamsburg Waterfront and Central Park Summerstage. The first gig was in Brooklyn and it took my breath away. I finally got to see the band that wrote so many of the jams that helped usher me through my collegiate years. It was a big moment for me and the week only got better as I got to see them in the rain at Rumsey Playfield, in the studio on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and at Merriweather for the Virgin Mobile FreeFest.

2. Weezer’s Memories Tour @ Roseland Ballroom: Yes, this happened just a few days ago and barely snuck in under the 2010 umbrella, but these shows were epic and could not be excluded from my list. It surprises even me that they are not the #1 moment for this year, and maybe after a bit of time there will be some reconsideration, but right now they will sit in the second slot. Both shows opened with a 40 minute set where Weezer took the crowd in a “time machine” back through their career in song and on Friday the second set was the Blue Album in its entirety. Favorites like “No One Else”, “Surf Wax” and “Holiday” were highlights, but the closer “Only in Dreams” brought Roseland Ballroom to its knees. Saturday was unreal as the first set ended with the b-sides “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly”, “Suzanne” and “Jaime” before we got treated to “Only In Dreams” for the second straight evening. The band took a short break before coming out to blow through one of the most important albums of the last 15 years. The no frills Pinkerton set will go down as one of the biggest musical moments in my personal history.

1. LCD Soundsystem Crushes 2010: As much as I love Rivers Cuomo, 2010 was the year of James Murphy, Pat Mahoney, Nancy Whang and the rest of LCD Soundsystem. In April the band performed shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg and Webster Hall to preview a few songs from their May release This Is Happening. Both gigs were larger-than-life and set the tone for the rest of the year that would have them dominating all over the globe, but more importantly would feature a four-night sold out run at Terminal 5 in May. Despite there being no deviation in the set list during the course of the residency, each night brought a unique energy and excitement to the room. After a couple of festivals, the band returned to the Wellmont Theatre with a new set that included more hits off their new album. Later that week they played the V-Fest alongside Pavement and their set blew the roof off the pavilion. As a little cherry on top of 2010, the band released a live studio album The London Sessions in early November as homage to the late great John Peel. There is no question that 2010 did indeed belong to LCD Soundsystem, but before they’ve had a chance to try on the title belt, I’m already wondering who will step up to challenge them in 2011.

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