THIS has been quite a year for Brisbane-based chanteuse Kate Miller-Heidke, who earned great reviews for her album Nightflight and for the accompanying tour. To end the year the singer is lending her talents to a good cause by performing a concert tomorrow in Yangon People’s Square in Myanmar. The show is part of MTV’s Exit program, which stages concerts across Asia to raise awareness of human trafficking. Miller-Heidke has been a frequent champion of this cause, performing shows in Vietnam and Nepal in recent years. MARCH is turning out to be its usual congested self on the Australian tour circuit, following the announcement this week of more international artists on to a roster that already boasts Neil Young, Paul Kelly and Neil Finn, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Jacksons, Stone Roses, Deep Purple, Journey, Kiss, Motley Crue, Robert Plant, Santana and more. And that’s without naming the bills for Bluesfest, WOMADelaide and the other festivals that month. WHILE we’re celebrating live music, plans are under way for the second annual SLAM Day in February. SLAM stands for Save Live Australian Music and evolved out of the massive protest in Victoria over legislation that incorrectly linked music in small venues to violence. More than 150 small shows were held across the country on SLAM Day last February, in backyards, lounge rooms and proper venues. Next year’s, on February 13, promises to be even bigger in its effort to promote live music at a grassroots level. You can find out more at www.slamrally.org. SD was one of a handful of music journos who got to sample the choice tucker that will be up for grabs at the Big Day Out in January. Among the delicacies from the Sydney menu, supplied by some of the city’s finest restaurants, were Porteno’s barbecue brisket and coleslaw sandwich, Longrain’s soy chicken skewers with cucumber and lemongrass, and fried chicken with hot sauce from Hartsyard. Red Hot Chili Peppers, 360, the Killers and Band of Horses are among the main BDO attractions. THIS is the last Spin Doctor column for the year. SD and the music page will return on January 19. As is customary at this time of year, lists have been formulating in the SD office, such as best albums of the year and the like. It has been a very good year for music, locally and internationally, which makes compiling such things all the more difficult. What follows are my top picks in a number of categories. Feel free to criticise them, as I will be somewhere on a banana lounge deep in thought about something entirely different. Thank you to all those who have sent emails on all sorts of topics during the past 12 months. Feedback is always welcome and I look forward to getting lots more of it next year. Until then, merry Christmas and a happy new year.