My 10 Favorite Concerts Of 2010, Starring Jay-Z, Pavement, And Michael Bolton

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Stephen Malkmus, at the first of Pavement's 50 shows here. Pics by Rob unless noted otherwise.
The 100-plus shows I saw this year spanned from the Cake Shop to Radio City Music Hall, from Williamsburg block parties to Michael Bolton's house in Connecticut, the events that occurred therein all furtively documented on an iPhone notepad and sometimes captured via relentlessly amateurish photography. The best were a mix of usual suspects and total surprises, current hitmakers and reconstructed old-timers, all hitting whatever stage with some combination of joy, ferocity, indifference, disdain, and messianic grandeur. Here are the 10 that made my imminent hearing loss seem nonetheless somehow totally worth it.

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Live: Swans Attempt To Murder Us All At Brooklyn Masonic Temple

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Mr. Gira (second from left), mid-exorcism. Pics by Rob, more below.
Brooklyn Masonic Temple
Friday, October 8

Better than: Primal-scream therapy

And back we go to the Loudest Venue In New York City, to be summarily pulverized by the freshly reunited Loudest, Angriest Band on Earth. Our first audience casualty doubles over at about the 35-minute mark and is gingerly escorted out by his similarly ashen-faced buddies, pummeled with feedback, impaled by the martial stomp, and generally terrified by Swans mastermind Michael Gira, who strides onstage and stares us down like we're the toughest-looking guy in the prison yard, slaps his face several times, and proceeds for the next 100 minutes to put on as mesmerizing a display of feral frontman magnetism as you could possibly ask for, or withstand.

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