The Electric Soft Parade @ Brel: One of the bands that I was introduced to several years back by the Global Pop Conspiracy. This was an acoustic set in a small pub/restaurant in Glasgow's West End. I love the idea of an acoustic show, but for some reason there is always a group of people in the crowd that just loves to talk and annoy others around them. Why are these people even there if not to hear the band? Anyway, the set was still fantastic and looking forward to seeing them again soon (but perhaps plugged in this time!)
The Automatic @ ABC: Proof that the crowd and the atmosphere can make all the world of difference. The band arguably had the anthem of the summer with their single "Monster", so that combined with a well up-for-it crowd, healthy beer buzz and the general buzz that was T in the Park ensured that their set was the highlight of the festival for me this year. Flash forward a few months. Monday night, annoying and subdued student hipster crowd, and sans beer buzz made for one of the more dull gigs I've ever been to. We even skipped the encore so that we could get home sooner. "Monster" is still a great song though.
The Dears @ Oran Mor: What can I say - pure class all the way. This band is definitely one of Canada's treasures, and still a bit of an undiscovered one in these parts. But this intimate gig was full of the converted, and nobody was disappointed. The albums are great, but the live experience allows you to appreciate the songs in a whole new way. Murray Lightburn's voice has to be heard in person to be believed. A strong candidate for gig of the year.