2015 in review: Top albums and gigs

Below are two lists: my top 10 favourite gigs of the year, and top 10 favourite albums.

Top 10 gigs

1. Pokey Lafarge – Corner – 9 April – Brilliant stage presence, such a tight band and so, so much fun! Pokey was my gig of the year for many reasons, but mostly because it caught me off guard (going in with little idea what kind of show it would be). He is such a great performer with an endless, genuine energy, his band was spectacularly good, and the show kept a solid dance party going without a moment’s rest.

2. Paolo Nutini – Palais – 1 April – ‘Iron Sky’ gave me shivers and ‘Pencil Full of Lead’ had me dancing – such was the versatility in Paolo’s theatre show. This performance showed an evolution to headliner status, with huge stage presence and the songs to back it. This one also had some of the funniest heckling.

11.4 PAOLO

3. Florence + the Machine – Sidney Myer – 10 November – No one receives a crowd quite like Florence. She brought everything to this show, embracing the crowd both figuratively and literally. How anyone can run and dance so much while singing like that is incredible.

11.1 FLO

4. Father John Misty – Meredith Music Festival – 12 December – Pipping his own sideshow for a place in my favourites, the reception Father John Misty (rightly) received in the Sup played a big part in this rating so highly. Hilarious, sarcastic, soulful and what great hair…

5. Marlon Williams – Corner – 3 July – The most memorable encore of the year. Marlon loves a few covers, but the double of The Zombies ‘Time of the Season’ and Screamin Jay Hawkins’ ‘Portrait of a Man’ was perfect.

6. Montaigne – NSC – 6 November – Another real surprise of a gig. I knew Montaigne had a cool voice, but wow can she sing. This felt like the start of something massive.

7. The Basics – NSC – 24 February – 3 hours of tunes and silliness and working on the spot with occasional sheet music from the crowd, this was one of the more memorable Basics gigs I’ve attended.

11.3 BASICS

8. Flight Facilities & MSO – Sidney Myer – 17 October – This was a special and unique event, with the MSO breathing new life into the electronic numbers. Katie Noonan’s soaring vocals and Reggie Watts’ hilarious cameo were my highlights.

11.5 FLIGHT

9. Mumford & Sons + Future Islands – Sidney Myer – 12 November – Future Islands redefine rock performance with dancing like this show, while Mumford & Sons brought some of the loudest and most glorious singalongs I’ve heard.

11.2 MUMF

10. Jordie Lane – Toff in Town – 18 April – Jordie continues to develop as a poignant storyteller, through songs and banter. An intimate performance of one of our recent greats.

Top 10 albums

10 Maccabees - Marks to Prove It
10. Maccabees, The – Marks To Prove It

09 The Wombays - Glitterbug
9. Wombats, The – Glitterbug

08 Mark Ronson - Uptown Special
8. Mark Ronson – Uptown Special

07 Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
7. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

06 Marina and the Diamonds - Froot
6. Marina & The Diamonds – Froot

05 Calexico - Edge of the Sun
5. Calexico – Edge Of The Sun

04 Marlon Williams - Marlon Williams
4. Marlon Williams – Marlon Williams

03 Everything Everything - Get to Heaven
3. Everything Everything – Get To Heaven

02 Florence and the Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
2. Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

01 Lianne La Havas - Blood
1. Lianna La Havas – Blood

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The Wombats @ Margaret Court Arena, 28 July 2015

The accents and expression of The Wombats are priceless and after hearing them on the radio throughout the years, I could easily just listen to them chat for an hour and a half. But their tunes are damn fun, too, and a minute into the floor rattling ‘Your Body Is A Weapon’ I was more than ready for the solid set of rock and lyrical wit to come.

After the show, I read a review I wrote about the band in 2008. In comparison, I noticed that while the banter between the trio has lessened a little and their mascot and trivia have fallen by the wayside, the amusing and energetic vibe of the show at MCA last night – more than seven years on – was much the same as it was at their first Australian show at the HiFi Bar.

Murph’s voice may have been a little worse for wear after the festival weekend, but he still belted everything out with zealous delight. As for Tord, the guy was absolutely on fire, tearing around the stage to some seriously heavy bass lines and competing against the epic light show for best on ground.

The best thing was that The Wombats haven’t compromised anything, or looked for stadium tactics as they’ve grown. The set lists are longer, lights are brighter and there’s more room for both the band and fans, but they’ve remained true to their musical roots: clever lyrics and infectious hooks played with passionate, dorky and rockin’ energy.

Setlist

Your Body Is a Weapon
Jump Into the Fog
Moving to New York
Greek Tragedy
Be Your Shadow
1996
This Is Not a Party
Kill the Director
Little Miss Pipedream
Headspace
Techno Fan
The English Summer
Give Me a Try
Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)
Emoticons
Let’s Dance to Joy Division
Untitled