By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Feb 12, 2010 at 6:52 AM

My Milwaukee Talks interview this week with radio host and music guru Steve Palec got me thinking about how I'd answer a question I posed to him.

I asked Palec about the best concert he's ever seen, and he quickly answered with the infamous Bruce Springsteen "bomb scare" show, and a Paul McCartney concert in Chicago.

I know, hands down, the best concert I've ever seen, but it wasn't in Milwaukee. It was Radiohead in Chicago's Grant Park on Aug. 2, 2001. I'll never forget that show, and when Radiohead came to Alpine Valley a few years later, it sadly didn't even compare.

So, I've spent a little time thinking about the best shows I've ever seen in Milwaukee, which were not necessarily put on from my all-time favorite bands. About a year ago, we discussed this very topic on, but for one reason another (maybe I was sick that day?), my picks aren't included. Fortunately, being an OnMilwaukeean for 12 years gives me a handy guide to my favorite shows ever: with a few exceptions on this list, I wrote reviews at the time, and thus, I could easily find the dates of the shows and could revisit my impressions at the time. I think, but I can't promise, the dates are exactly right.

This list is in no particular order, and each show is special for a different reason. Links to my reviews at the time are included where possible, but forgive me if there are some broken images on some of the very old ones.  I'd love to hear your picks using the Talkback feature below:

Spacehog at Shank Hall, Feb. 28, 1998: This show was in support their second record, "The Chinese Album," and I still have the T-shirt. Not many people got into Spacehog like I did, but I loved them, and saw them twice at Summerfest after this gig. But, as I recall, there weren't a ton of people at this Shank Hall show, so we got right up to the stage and heard a band best suited for an arena rock a small club with excellent acoustics. It's possible that this is the best show I've ever seen in Milwaukee.

The Pixies at the Milwaukee Theater, Nov. 9, 2004: The Pixies are probably among my top 20 favorite bands, but I never thought I'd see them live. They're in my wife's top five list, and we saw this show just 11 days before we got married (the calm before the storm, if you will). Even though critics said the Pixies mailed this reunion tour in, I disagree: they sounded great, passionate and looked like they were having fun.

Tenacious D at the Eagles Ballroom, April 13, 2002: The D had so much momentum at this show. Even though their HBO series was over, they were riding high on the success of their first album, and they hadn't already squandered their 15 minutes of fame. The sound quality was iffy, but JB and KG gave it their all. I remember laughing so hard it hurt, then hanging back in awe as they covered everyone from the Beatles to Bryan Adams.

Kings of Leon at The Rave, July 25, 2005: In my snotty opinion, the Kings of Leon had two amazing albums, then everything else they've made has sucked. This show was supporting "Aha Shake Heartbreak," before K.O.L. got too glam and shaved their beards and mustaches. From top to bottom, they belted out a high-energy show that rocked so incredibly hard. I gave their Summerfest show the next year a good review, but it was nothing like seeing them pack The Rave.

Violent Femmes at the Marcus Amphitheater, May 29,1995: There was a time when the Femmes were my favorite band, and my best friend Eron and I begged "New Rock 102.1" for tickets to this show. Eventually, they gave us a pair, and we sang every word to every song. This was Eron and my 21st birthday weekend, with the show falling between our two milestones. It was also a year before I moved back to Milwaukee for good, and seeing my favorite Milwaukee band with the skyline of my favorite city in the background felt really magical.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre at Turner Hall, March 27, 2009: As witnessed in the insane, car wreck of a documentary, "DIG!," BJM is such a volatile powder keg, no one knows what will happen at one of their shows. This one had a few fireworks, but mostly just lush, dreamy walls of guitar sound. I felt like jumping into this ocean of music and riding its waves all night long. I will definitely be at their show this May.

The Polyphonic Spree at The Rave on July 9, 2008: I've seen the Spree twice, and in fact, their latter show at The Pabst Theater was a much more pleasant aural experience. However, I knew their schtick by then, so I wasn't as blown away as the show at The Rave when I showed up knowing nothing about this larger-than-life band. With somewhere around 27 people on stage, these guys are one-of-a-kind.

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.