2010 is quietly a monster year for CNY live music

Tired of people complaining about a lack of shows near us? They haven't looked up a concert schedule recently.


I was driving home from a Neon Indian show in Buffalo last week (shown above, I may or may not have contributed to that video footage). The show didn't start until 10:30pm, so this was post 2 a.m., everyone else was asleep and I had a chance to just drive and reflect on the show.

"Neon Indian was surprisingly good. Best show I saw this semester? Has to be up there. Although, YACHT was really good too. Can't ignore Phantogram back in February either. And next month..."

It hit me - next month. The Flaming Lips pass through the area. OK Go hits Ithaca too. Both The Hold Steady and Sleigh Bells precede all that here in Syracuse (not to mention Miike Snow / Theophilus London still to come in March).

That all comes before Drake / N.E.R.D. own the SU campus for a day and every other college in the area holds their own year-end shows (featuring acts like Passion Pit, Dan Deacon, Dirty Projectors, Yeasayer and Drake again). This doesn't account for some of the offbeat acts passing through (Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down) or the gigantic shows nearby that require a little roadtrip preplanning (scroll down to see what nearby Canadian cities offer in March/April).

It begs the question, despite all the murmurs of a lackluster scene and too few quality bookings, has 2010 crept up and surprised all of us? Is this shaping up to be the best post-Spring Break collection of live shows for CNY in some time?

I didn't bother to do any strenuous data collection since it is currently Spring Break. However, over the past few years I've kept a small list serv among friends of acts that pass through the area (compiled through sites from specific venues and schools, Skipster, Ticketmaster, Tourfilter, DSP, Pollstar, etc.). Check out how this year compares to the same time frame last year:




Tokyo Police Club- 3/21, 3/25, 3/27 - Canada

Ben Folds - 3/23 - Rochester *later booked for SU's Block Party with Guster

Ra Ra Riot - 3/27, 3/28 - Rochester / Wescott Theater

The Hold Steady - 3/31, 4/1 - Albany / Buffalo


Girl Talk - 4/5 - Cornell

Cold War Kids - 4/6 - Rochester

Mates of State / Black Kids - 04/10 - Toronto

Margot & The Nuclear So-Sos - 4/17 - Buffalo

Dave Brubeck - 4/25 - Buffalo

Peter Bjorn and John - 4/25, 4/26, 4/27 - Toronto / Quebec / Montreal

Presidents of the United States - 4/22 - Syracuse


Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - 5/14 - Verona

2009 Summary: Certainly some can't miss shows nearby (Girl Talk, Ra Ra Riot, Ben Folds), but lacking in quantity of shows. Also, any act with mainstream name cache required a bit of a roadtrip and some serious planning (Peter, Bjorn and John for instance) and there wasn't a lot of genre diversity going on outside of some major jazz/swing groups (notable lack of big hip-hop, mainstream pop or R&B acts).



Wynton Marsalis - 3/22 - Rochester

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - 3/26 - Lake Placid

Henry Rollins - 3/27 - Wescott Theater

Passion Pit - 3/28 - Buffalo

Spoon/Deerhunter - 3/29 - Toronto

Vampire Weekend - 3/30 - Toronto

Miike Snow / Theophilus London - 3/30 - Syracuse

Wilco - 3/31 - Scranton


Dum Dum Girls - 4/4 - Buffalo

Sleigh Bells - 4/8 - Syracuse

Tokyo Police Club - 4/7, 4/8, 4/9 - Near Ontario

The Hold Steady -  4/9, 4/10 - Jermyn, Pa. / Wescott Theater

Matt & Kim - 4/10 - Hamilton College

Snoop Dogg - 4/10 - Rochester

Air Supply - 4/16 - Syracuse

Michael McDonald - 4/16 - Buffalo

Flaming Lips - 4/18 - Cornell

Thao and The Stay Down Get Down - 4/18 - Northhampton

Shawn Colvin  -  4/18 - Ithaca

Apples in Stereo - 4/24 - Ithaca

OK Go - 4/25 - Ithaca

Drake / N.E.R.D. - 4/30 - Syracuse 


Dan Deacon / Dirty Projectors / Passion Pit - 5/7 - Hamilton College

Yeasayer - 5/7 - Ithaca College

Drake - 5/7 - Cornell

2010 Summary: Take that in for a second. Tell me there isn't a scene to appreciate in CNY (and keep in mind acts that have come through earlier in the year too - John Legend, Alicia Keys, St. Vincent, Metric, Girl Talk, The Cool Kids). My 2009 e-mail for March through May had 12 concerts total. This year, the last two weeks of March 2010 have eight alone.

Highlights include indie mainstays like The Flaming Lips, recent darlings like Passion Pit or the Dirty Projectors, old but hip pop acts like Michael McDonald and some of the bigger names in mainstream hip-hop like Snoop or Drake. Add to that some of the cool offbeat opportunities (Henry Rollins for crying out loud!) and the fact some of the desirable acts from 2009 are coming through the area again (Tokyo Police Club, The Hold Steady). It's not even close - you're much better off being a music fan at SU in 2010 than 2009.

Don't listen to any of the complainers out there, it seems they just aren't looking hard enough. Use your down time during Spring Break to plan out a few shows to go to for the rest of the semester, map out some upcoming album release dates while you're at it, and let Spring 2010 be the monster music semester it's meant to be.

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