Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Concerts of the Year

If you had said a few years back that this year I would see Kylie Minogue and Jandek and Pet Shop Boys and My Bloody Valentine and Steely Dan and Hall and Oates (twice!) and fucking R. Kelly, all in 365 days, then everything else is pretty much icing on the cake right? But there were many more great shows this year. All in all I wound up seeing about 60 shows for the third year running. I still have my hearing and I still have the desire to go to shows, but it may finally be diminishing a bit. At the end of 2005, after a painfully long Broken Social Scene show I decided to "quit" seeing live shows, and I actually decreased the number of shows I saw by quite a bit in 2006, but the last three years I've seen a looot of concerts. Who knows how many I'll attend in 2010, but here are a few of the notable ones from the end of the decade:

Juana Molina @ Iota Juana Molina is simply one of the most innovative musicians on the planet, she can create whole worlds of sound with her voice, a keyboard and a sampler.

The New Deal @ State Theater The New Deal were one of the best live bands on the planet - three guys playing live, largely improvised electronic music. Now that band time is split with the pop ground Dragonette, it's just nice to catch them touring again, and there's been no drop off in quality.

Bang on A Can performing Music For Airports @ CSPAC Playing Music For Airports in the lobby of CSPAC was a brilliant move, allowing the audience to relax on the stairs and enjoy as the collective performed one of the most important and lovely of ambient albums.

My Bloody Valentine @ The National I never thought I'd have a chance to see My Bloody Valentine and I just feel blessed to have the chance. They were indeed loud as hell, and the mix wasn't the greatest ever, but it was worth it for the experience.

M Ward @ 930 Club Matthew Ward is getting more rocking as time goes by. This was a raucous, freewheeling show, far from his folky roots. But he's got enough tunes to more than pull it off.

Hall & Oates @ Wolf Trap/930 Club I saw Hall and Oates twice this year, and granted if their 930 show and sure once would have been sufficient, but screw it, they play the hits, every has a good time, and it makes for a great concert experience both times.

Nomo @ DC9 Nomo are an Afro-Beat combo from Detroit, who make a great polyrhytmic positive noise. They ended the show in the middle of the crowd, and think that pretty well sums up the connection they created with their music.

Kylie Minogue - Canada Twighlight Sad/Jetpacks @ El Mocambo I went to Canada to see the pop goddess and got to a fantastic bonus show out of the trip. Kylie was splendid. Everything was spot on - the staging, the setlist, the crowd. Then I saw a couple of Scottish bands play visceral, honest indie rock. It was a good vacation.

Future of the Left @ Rock and Roll Hotel Future of the Left came out of the flaming wreckage of mclusky, who were one of the funniest, meanest, loudest most amazing bands of my lifetime. FOTL took a bit of time to get their shit together, but now they are pretty much the funniest, meanest, catchiest bands on the planet.

Fuck Buttons @ DC 9 Two guys standing in front of electronic equipment may not sound like a compelling live show, but they now have the material to play 60 utterly entrancing minutes of music. Listen to the youtube link, words don't really do them justice.

Numero Soul Revue @ 930 Club A real honest to goodness soul review. Syl Johnson sang Wu Tang songs on top of his own songs that they had sampled (Meta!). Reginald Domino was as smooth as sugar. And Baltimore is the new Brooklyn!

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