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The best metal shows of 2010

Slough Feg @ Spaceland

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The next category in this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards  is “Best Live Show”.

(Voting begins soon this week.)

. . .

I attended between 40 and 50 shows this year. You’d think that would get old, but it doesn’t. I do tire of opening bands, surly security, and drunk people. But live music is a pleasure that remains undiminished ever since people began performing for each other.

Live is where my like of bands turns to love. The stage is the best proving ground for bands. Are you a studio creation, or can you cut it in front of people with no safety net? I admire those bands who lay their credibility on the line night after night, often under terrible touring conditions, to bring us their music.

. . .

My five most revered shows this year:

1. Black Breath @ Spaceland

They open for Converge, then head across town to play a surprise midnight set. 50 people bang their heads like they’ve never banged before. Hair flies, and beer flows. It’s one of those nights one wishes could last forever.

2. Triptykon @ El Rey Theatre

The heaviest show of the year, hands down, and a much-needed reminder of the power of heavy metal.

3. Cannibal Corpse @ House of Blues

Good on disc, but, wow, otherworldly live. The sound is insanely heavy, and a sweaty, stormy crowd maintains multiple pits at once – despite there hardly being room to stand. The animal nature comes out in full force.

4. Slough Feg @ Spaceland

One guy and a Les Paul can still change the world – one fan at a time. Mike Scalzi is a force of nature and a showman par excellence. He gets bonus points for having the balls to pull off a solo acapella performance live.

5. Huntress @ Les Deux

Their first show, and potentially the start of something big. The band is rough around the edges, but the set has a magical darkness rich with the spirit of heavy metal.

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What were your favorite metal shows this year?

— Cosmo Lee

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