In honor of a new year, here are a series of posts about my favorite live music, books, and albums of a year gone by, and perhaps, a list of random stuff too! Should be fun to reminisce. :)

I go to concerts like it’s my job or something.* (Well, sometimes it actually is, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.) 2010 was an incredibly good year for live music, checking one off the “Artists I Must See Before I Die or They Retire” list and making memories with friends that are sometimes even better than the show itself. So here we go… my top 5 from the first half of 2010. (The rest will follow Wednesday.)

Heavy & Light // House of Blues Orlando // January 9
First show of the year! Gotta admit, I’m feeling a void this year without Heavy & Light in my January. Last year’s, admittedly, had issues (like a 4.5 hour runtime… people were passing out), but with a lineup of some favorite artists and a sweet presence of hope and love, this frozen January night was one for beautiful memories. I remember there were supposed to be snow flurries in Orlando that night. I don’t know if they ever happened, but the potential was there, and that, as you can imagine, is even more special. (I wrote all about it here.)

Needtobreathe // House of Blues Orlando // March 12 (and again Nov 27!)
Twice in one year? Same venue? Oh yes. Both spring and fall tours came to HOB, and of course, I was there. I would say the March show was my favorite, simply for introducing me to Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers (one of the most crazy fun openers I’ve seen) but I gotta admit… front row at the November show was pretty sweet. (for more, here’s a review of the fall tour that I wrote for JFH)

Gungor // The Plaza Theatre, Orlando // March 18
I never thought I would go to a show for a primarily worship band without it being work-related. But after signing up to review an album by a band I didn’t know, Gungor turned out to be one of my biggest musical surprises of the year, and I had to catch their show at the historic Plaza Theatre. In spite of an unfortunately slight turnout and a room plagued with sound issues, this was a beautiful and artistic evening of worship.

Anberlin // FMF 2010 at Wall St. Plaza, Downtown Orlando // April 23
The first time I saw them in 2005, Anberlin won me over as five guys having the time of their lives up on that stage. No matter how much my musical tastes shift, I’ll always have a special affection for this band. I’ve probably seen them more than any other artist since then, but I have to say their homecoming show at Florida Music Festival may be the best one yet. Late night, downtown, front row with two of my dearest friends, singing along with every word. And then they played their first single “Ready Fuels” for the encore… super exciting for us old school fans! (More on the show, including a video and why I claim partial credit for the encore, here)

The Dead Weather // House of Blues Orlando // April 26
Truth be told, I didn’t really know this band or want to go to this show (Monday night, after FMF and a weekend away from home) but at Lindsay‘s prodding and insistence I’d hate myself if I missed seeing a Jack White band, I caved and bought my ticket. I’m glad I did. Moody, gritty, and atmospheric, this show was a memorable experience. And hey, I can say I saw Jack White and impress music people. Bonus! (I also blogged about this show here. ‘Twas a busy weekend.)

Part 2 Wednesday!

* I credit my friend Kaitlyn with this delightful expression she picked up on a summer stint in Minnesota (and, subsequently, passed on to me. along with “boom! roasted!”) When you don’t have the right first line, steal it from someone else. :)