YIR- 2010 Music Making

Still from Aaron Henderson's video sculpture, "Feuerball."

For Charlottesville living, it seems that sometimes all you need is a cold beer, good friends, and a rollicking alt-country band at the Pavilion. But wait– other times, it's fun to dress up, grab a cocktail, and take your date to a sultry jazz set at the Paramount. And even other occasions call for skinny jeans, ear plugs (for standing next to the speakers), and electronic-experimental-indie rock at the Tea Bazaar, or the Southern. And no one would pass up an opportunity to sneak into the gorgeously restored Jefferson Theater, whether it's for Ben Folds or Sons of Bill.

But it's not just the venues that are thriving and attracting top international touring acts to Mr. Jefferson's sleepy little town. The live music festival is back on our radar with a vengeance, with the first ever Festy and the revamped Crozet Music Festival satisfying our need for outdoor entertainment.

Who are we kidding– you know all this already! You were there, fist pumping, politely clapping, or heel stomping along with us. Without further ado, a reminder of the highlights of Charlottesville's musical year:

Those Darlins, 1/30 at the Southern: Nikki Darlin sums it up for us: "It's one of my pet peeves when people describe our band as 'countryfied.' I hate it. I think of us as a pop band. Not as in like 'this song is made for TV' kind of pop— more like The Beatles wrote pop songs. That's what a pop song is: really catchy."

Franz Nicolay, 2/21 at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar: The eccentric accordion and piano player from The Hold Steady proved he could strike out on his own, to wild success. Think of his solo work as a range– from parlor room ballads to lyrically rich rock anthems.

Punch Brothers, 2/16 at the Jefferson Theater: These bluegrass dudes are taking the genre into a new era, and we're glad to be along for the ride.

Drive-By Truckers, 2/27 at the Jefferson Theater: Standard fare for Central Virginia. These Athens, GA alt-country veterans are still rocking their southern twang just as hard as they were way back when.

Taylor Swift, 3/20 at the John Paul Jones Arena: The Platinum-selling Swift brought her cheery pop and heartfelt country tunes to a sold-out Arena, donning a short, mature outfit for a crowd full of screaming tweens and their moms.

Ben Folds, 3/23 at the Jefferson Theater: Everyone's favorite pianist didn't fail to disappoint– although the crowd as a bit bummed when Fold's infamous Chatroulette serenades failed to produce a man in the nude.

Joanna Newsom, 3/24 at the Jefferson Theater: The California girl gave as a triple whammy: sensual harp, piano, and vocals.

Pattern Is Movement, 3/25 at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar: Philly duo brought their cabaret riff on "math rock" to town– and made us remember why we did always kinda like algebra.

Gang Gang Dance, 3/29 at the Southern: New York-based experimental rock quartet that recorded alongside the likes of Animal Collective and Black Dice. Are they crazy? Of course– and man, do they like it that way.

Norah Jones, 4/1 at the Paramount Theater: What else is there to say? Charlottesville loves the seductive wiles of Norah Jones, and Norah Jones loves Charlottesville.

The Flaming Lips, 4/15 at the Charlottesville Pavilion: They came. They saw. They conquered. Just as messy and wild as they were the first time they rocked the Pavilion in 2006, these guys were captivating. Did you see Wayne Coyne inflate into a balloon and crowd surf?

Titus Andronicus, 4/17 at Random Row Books: Hometown favorites, as a former Titus guitarist lives right up the street at C-ville Weekly. These guys are playing a huge show in New York City for New Years Eve– so we're still wondering why they hit up Random Row for this show.

Paramore, 4/28 at the John Paul Jones Arena: Emo? Punk? A bit of both, with some pop thrown in? Wherever you place them, we're still charmed by that cute Hayley Williams and the band's alt-rock attitude.

The Whigs, 5/5 at the Southern: First of all, they come from the holy land of all alt-country garage rock bands, Athens, GA. Second of all, they've worked and toured with some of Charlottesville's favorites: Drive By Truckers, Black Keys, Kings of Leon, The Hold Steady. Last, but not least, they're awesome. 'Nuff said.

Of Montreal, 5/31 at the Jefferson Theater: Frontman Kevin Barnes is crazy– and, oh, we are so glad he is. Dancey, funk spectacle are three words to describe the Jefferson's vibe that night.

The Dave Rawlings Machine, 6/9 at the Jefferson Theater: Think Bright Eyes, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Tom Petty, and then ramp up the bluegrass vibe. This guy has done all this and more.

The Love Language, 7/16 at the Southern: Low-fi indie rockers from NC. We love the dark, moody, emotionally-charged sound Stuart McLamb brings to the stage.

BB King, 7/17 at the Charlottesville Pavilion: Greatness. What more is there to say?

Primus, 8/1 at the Charlottesville Pavilion: Les Claypool says, "I think one of the most powerful motivating elements throughout history in society has been satire." Set that to music and you've got yourself a show.

Deerhunter, 8/10 at the Jefferson Theater: Four piece Atlanta, GA ambient noise rockers led by the genius of Bradford Cox. Coming to Cville fresh off a tour with Spoon, Deerhunter made all our shoegaze dreams come true.

Nas and Damian Marley, 8/28 at the Charlottesville Pavilion: The duo blew away audiences at Austin's South by Southwest festival in March; they did not fail to impress in Charlottesville. 

Lady Gaga, 9/8 at the John Paul Jones Arena: The biggest spectacle of 2010, the Lady dominated Charlottesville with her Monster Ball. The crowd went wild. The "Charlottesville gays" danced. And fans, from parents to prim and proper UVA-ers dolled up to join in the fun. Lady Gaga, take us with you when you go!

The Black Keys, 9/14 at the Charlottesville Pavilion: We're still in throbbing from the blues-alt-rock set from this Akron, Ohio duo. Dynamic, pulsing, and we were sad that it only lasted less than two hours.

Wiz Khalifa, 9/19 at the Jefferson Theater: The 23-year-old rapper from Pittsburgh is, simply put, a heartthrob. We can't wait for his 2011 untitled release to drop.

LCD Soundsystem, 10/2 at the Charlottesville Pavilion: What's not to love about James Murphy? The man behind the sound certainly rocked our system, and it's not hard to see why this project is one of the most popular of the decade.

The Gaslight Anthem, 10/2 at the Jefferson Theater: The New Jersey punk rockers hit up Cville in support of their latest, American Slang.

Ratatat, 10/3 at the Jefferson Theater: Ratatat's Evan Mast: "There's not a large audience for instrumental records these days, and not as many avenues for promoting as standard vocal pop music. There just hasn't been a lot of popular instrumental music in the last 20 or 30 years. A lot of it is more droning and spacey, and it's not something that grabs you with melody the way a pop song does. That's what we're always trying to do."

Elf Power, 10/9 at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar: Another one of them Athens bands– and their recent collaboration with the late Vic Chesnutt was a dark semi-tribute to one of their longtime inspirations.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, 10/16 at the Southern: The D.C. band toured in support of their sixth album release, and we'll certainly take more of their punk/indie rock, as long as they keep occasionally throwing some folk and reggae into the mix.

The Avett Brothers, 10/17 at the Charlottesville Pavilion: Another growing Charlottesville staple, this band continues to put on "not-to-be-missed" shows. 

A Fine Frenzy, 11/2 at Old Cabell Hall: The 25-year-old Alison Sudol stole our hearts– and then tweeted "Some nights are simply magical, the kind you keep in a pocket by your heart and treasure till you're old and grey. Tonight was such a night."