The Schönbys are fictional, made-up awards for me to let you know what I've enjoyed listening to during 2011. Winners and nominations are drawn from music I have seen, heard or bought during the preceding 12 months.
The first award is Best Live Act. Here's the list I had to choose from; Goldheart Assembly, Mojave 3, Band of Horses, Oxo Foxo, Laura J Martin, Jonny, Warpaint, Fiction, Metronomy, Yuck, Phosphorescent, Ash, Los Campesinos!, Futureheads, Dananananackroyd, Standard Fare, This Many Boyfriends, Fear of Men, Dutch Uncles, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Ringo Deathstarr and Outfit.
Notable commendations go to:
Band of Horses - Leeds O2 Academy (Town and Country Club)
If there was a sub-award for 'live act that made me shed a little tear' it would have to be Band of Horses. The gig was everything that you would expect from BoH; tight playing and fantastic harmonies, and a bit of humour thrown in for good measure (the "de jour of the day" cover of a Neil Young classic was particularly noteworthy), but the crowning glory was the acoustic rendition of 'Evening Kitchen' played through just one microphone - simply awe-inspiring.
Evening Kitchen by bandofhorses
Laura J Martin - Sheffield Harley
I wasn't expecting to see Laura J Martin. There was no talk of support for Norman Blake and Euros Childs (Jonny) in this small Sheffield venue, and after the fire alarm had gone off a few times before any band came on I was fully expecting any support to be swiftly curtailed. What happened, however, was that the small crowd were treated to not only Oxo Foxo (local looping songstress) but also Laura. I had no idea what to expect, but her command of looping machine, flute, mandolin, and other objects was attention grabbing and very entertaining.
Spy by Laura J Martin
Phosphorescent - Leeds Brudenell Social Club
The venue is small, the band is many. Phosphorescent took to the stage and looked like the video to The Cure's Love Cats - elbows everywhere and moustacheoed axemen ducking and weaving their way out of getting a base guitar enema. The band played for what seemed like all night, the room getting sweatier and sweatier, but each blues/rock number played with feeling and gusto. Even a few issues with feedback on the microphones (they were on top of each other after all) didn't dampen the enthusiasm.
Phosphorescent - The Mermaid Parade by createspark
But the winner is:
Metronomy - Sheffield Leadmill
What can be said about Metronomy that has not already been said? I remember posting on Facebook that 'Metronomy rocked' after this gig. Not the words you would relate to the band, but they were extremely watchable, had excellent timing, and rocked in a sense that is difficult to explain. The best thing is, if you haven't already, is to go see them and make up your mind.
Metronomy - We Broke Free by FranklinP