Well, two very different concerts this week.
Monday I saw Elbow after I missed them at Lowlands this year (their performance coincided with my shift on the festival's night crew). Beforehand I expected the venue (Heineken Music Hall, packs 5500 people) was way too large for the ambient music Elbow makes, but the audience and band did a very good job of creating the right atmosphere. Great setlist, stunning musicianship, and some good jokes by Guy Garvey to fill the gaps. I sang along to every single line at the top of my voice, and afterwards had completely lost my voice for a while.
The best singing is done as an entire audience, and "Grounds for Divorce" and "One Day Like This" worked like a charm - goosebumps all around. One of the best parts was when the band toasted to their 20th anniversary and poked the audience to sing Happy Birthday; to their surprise we (being Dutch and all) jumped into a vast array of Dutch birthday songs and continued with full force for about 10 minutes. The band was flabbergasted and their techie recorded it all - "we've got to use that sometime" according to Garvey. Absolutely worth it all.
Yesterday a completely different band, The Pretty Reckless. For those of you that haven't heard of it, it's fronted by 18-year-old teen actress Taylor Momsen (of Gossip Girl fame), and she's basically the only teen star-gone-musician that I know of that actually makes good music (and even writes everything by herself). Her legacy does mean the audience is filled with crazy 16-year-old girls that scream your ears off but it's all in good fun. I actually ran into two girls I hung out with at Graspop this year, to everyone's surprise. The performance was short but great nonetheless, with some obvious heart and soul into the music. Perhaps she tries a little too hard to be rock-'n'-roll but it doesn't really matter (the whole 'dragging some girls out of the audience and having them dance on stage in their underwear'-act did have a trying-too-hard sense to it though). Besides, it's not everyday you see Hollywood on stage just a metre in front of you.
I didn't really go to concerts the past year (only some festivals) but I realise now how much fun they are - I'll probably be doing this more often from now on.