According to my google calendar, I was at a show at least 80 days of 2008, and here are the 15 I enjoyed most. While I attempt to be as objective as possible in assessing my best albums lists, this list is completely about my subjective experience. Here you go:
15. All The Saints, Summerbirds In The Cellar, This Piano Plays Itself @ 1084
After throwing shows and parties in my old house for years, this would be the final show ever at the legendary 1084. I didn’t bill it as such at the time, but I kind of knew that this would be the last. It wasn’t the biggest or craziest party we ever had, but the line-up may have been the best, and it was just one of those nights where everyone got obliterated and had a blast.
14. Yo La Tengo, Kurt Wagner @ Variety Playhouse
This show was the only time I have ever seen the Variety Playhouse set up chairs in the pit, so everyone at the show remained seated while Yo La played rarities and told stories about their music and experiences as the “Freewheeling” tour. This was also my first experience with Kurt Wagner, who totally impressed me.
Yo La Tengo “Looney Tunes B-Side”:
13. All Tommorrow’s Parties New York Day 3
A lesser line-up could have made for a forgettable day with the massive hangover I had to deal with, but the ridiculousness of seeing Mercury Rev, Yo La Tengo, Trail Of Dead, Mogwai, Dinosaur Jr, and My Bloody Valentine straight in a row pretty much trumps any outside factors. It was the climax to one of the coolest festivals I have ever seen.
12. Ecstatic Peace SXSW Showcase
Hanging out at Thurston Moore‘s party at SXSW is about as good as it gets for a Sonic Youth superfan like myself. This was the only SXSW event that we stayed at from opening to close, and it was just too much fun.
Thurston Moore “Honest James”:
11. Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta @ Voodoo Music Experience
My friends and I decided to go down to New Orleans for Voodoo at the last minute, and it was brilliant decision. Nine Inch Nails‘ live show is about as spectacular as anything I have ever seen. I caught The Mars Volta for the third time all year and it still seemed special.
10. Destroyer @ The Earl
This concert helped me completely fall in love with Destroyer. This band is just amazing and way underrated.
9. Deerhoof, Experimental Dental School @ Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC
I drove almost eight hours round trip by myself to see Deerhoof, and it was more than worth it. This is another band that is not getting their proper due this year for the awesomeness they possess. Experimental Dental School kicks so much ass too.
8. 2 Nights of Radiohead (Atlanta, Charlotte)
i think “2 Nights of Radiohead” is enough explanation for why this event is on my list. They are just unbelievable.
“Pyramid Song” @ Atlanta:
7. Jeffrey Lewis Election Night Show @ WonderRoot
As soon as it was announced that Barack Obama was elected president, we walked down to the city’s most DIY venue to see maybe this generation’s best lyricist. The show had been originally scheduled to be at the Drunken Unicorn, but at the last second it was cancelled and then moved. The scene was a complete election party, with Jeff Lewis taking a break in the middle of his set for eveyone to watch the acceptance speech on the big screen upstairs, and he even had an Obama comic book song prepared. Regardless of how this whole Obama thing works out, it was an unforgettable moment in time, and I felt like this was the perfect place to be for it.
6. The Mars Volta/Sunset Rubdown @ The Tabernacle/The Earl
Either of these shows on different nights could have made this list, but seeing them back-to-back was astounding. Many people were disappointed wit the shortness of the TMV set, but they made the most with the time they used, and the early ending allowed me to get across town to The Earl just seconds before Sunset Rubdown played a remarkable set.
The Mars Volta:
5. Pearl Jam @ Bonnaroo
It is a rare thing to get at the exact perfect level of intoxication for a show, but the planets aligned for Pearl Jam‘s Bonnaroo set. I know it is not exactly hip to be a diehard Pearl Jam fan, but they are such a great band, and are about the best Arena-type live show today.
4. We Versus The Shark, A Armada @ Athfest (The 40 Watt)
I had spent most of the day at Athfest catching shows that weren’t all that great, but it was nothing but the hottness from the time A Armada took the stage to the end of We Versus The Shark‘s final set with Samantha Paulsen. WVTS seemed to put everything they had into Paulsen’s send-off show, and A Armada are almost unbeatable when it comes to live post-rock.
We Versus The Shark:
3. South By Southwest Day 1
South By Southwest this year was one of the best music-related experiences of my life, and the first day didn’t hold anything back. I discovered new music I now love and I saw bands that i wanted to see bad. The acoustic event on UT campus late at night to cap off the day is one of those things I will never forget.
2. Deerhunter @ Vacation
I arrived very early for this free show in such a tiny venue and had a spot about 2 feet away from Bradford Cox for this intimate concert. Not only did I get to hear Microcastle material live for the first time, but they even played some Weird Era Cont stuff before I even knew that album existed. They opened with Lil Wayne playing from an ipod and ended with a 15 minute noise jam. Definitely the best Deerhunter show of the many I have caught. I remember feeling such a blissful afterglow when I left this one.
1. Built To Spill @ Langerado/ATP NY
Either of these shows could have been my number one, so I combined them together. The most recent 5-piece incarnation of Built To Spill has upped the band’s live ability exponentially where they can now play anything flawlessly. Their Langerado set was the most impressive hour of live music I’ve seen in a long time, and getting to hear them perform one of my favourite albums of all-time at ATP was unbeatable.
- Posted by Davy Minor on December 22, 2008 at 3:16 am