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Thursday, 29 December 2011 16:00

Chris Sewell's top 5 concerts of 2011 (St. Louis edition)

Chris Sewell's top 5 concerts of 2011 (St. Louis edition) Nate Burrell
Written by Chris Sewell

The year 2011 was an active one as many major tours made stops in St. Louis. There were plenty of big-name gigs going on from the enormity of the U2 360 tour's stop at Busch Stadium, the second annual LouFest at Forest Park and the visit from Arcade Fire at the Scottrade Center.

It wasn't just the large tours that were memorable but some of the smaller gigs as well. Places such as the Luminary Center for the Arts (Destroyer, Of Montreal), the Firebird (the Raveonettes, Joy Formidable) and St. Louis staples such as Off Broadway (Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Handsome Furs) and the Pageant (Elvis Costello, Fleet Foxes) did a great job with booking.

Of all this great music that came through town, what were your favorite shows of 2011?

Here's my list of top five concerts of the year. Click on the links to read reviews from KDHX volunteers (including yours truly) this year. Enjoy!

5. Wilco at the Peabody Opera House - October 4

There wasn't a better way to kick off the inaugural opening of the Peabody Opera House than Wilco's gig with Nick Lowe. Wilco is a band that has amassed so many great songs that they could have done a "Wilco Week" at the Peabody and probably sold out each night. The band covered much of the musical spectrum during their nearly two-and-a-half-hour set and did so tirelessly.

4. Gillian Welch at the Pageant - September 3

If you're a fan of stripped-down, intimate performances, this show likely ranks high for you. Welch and Rawlings nailed it all night long, and did so with heart and an effortless professionalism that only seasoned performers can pull off. The duo's stage show is so barebones that not even the power outage at the Pageant could derail them from churning out heartfelt bluegrass, country and twang all evening long.

3. My Morning Jacket at the Pageant - August 2

This show was pure, raw power. MMJ brought a rare charisma and energy that is not found often in today's more mellow-leaning indie rock scene. This Louisville band fully embodies the rock 'n' roll spirit of previous generations, pulling heavily from RNR roots and showcasing their musical abilities with genre-hopping ease.

2. TV on the Radio at LouFest 2011 - August 28

There wasn't a better way to cap off the second annual LouFest than with TVOTR's set. The energy was still running high even after two solid days of music and TVOTR capitalized on it with an enlivened performance that really had the crowd buzzing. There is something soulful, easy-going and just cool about the way TVOTR carry themselves on stage. Easily one of the best bands's out there right now; go see them.

1. Arcade Fire and the National at Scottrade Center - April 21

Double-billings like this don't come around often anymore. It was a special night as the National's sound filled the Scottrade Center, and frontman Matt Berninger entertained with his usual antics. The stage then came to life with the old drive-in feel as Arcade Fire took us for a memorable ride through "The Suburbs." The band's ensemble line-up of musicians brought the stadium to its feet with their colorful, theatrical performance.

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